I have always noticed the effects that alcohol has had on my family, but I have never tried to put it into words until now.
Most people do not think about the long-term effects that their choices can have on others, especially families.
In my case, it was my great-grandfather who was an alcoholic.
Even though he died just a few years ago, I never knew him. I only know the stories that my grandfather and father have told me.
It has been 26 years since anyone in my family has seen or heard from this man, but I see what he has done to my family whenever we are together.
One may be thinking, “How could this man have an effect on someone’s life if they never met him?”
I have asked myself that same question, and all I can say is, it has.
His drinking and abuse of my grandmother, his brother, sister and mother led to the breakup of that family unit.
My great-grand parents got a divorce at a time when it was unheard of. My great-grandmother never succeeded in breaking the cycle of alcoholism that she married into. Five years later, she married another alcoholic.
My great-grandmother never really talked about her first husband, but my grandfather and his brother do occasionally.
I do not even know what people called him. All I know is that he was not a very nice man.
Some of the abusive parenting he did while he was drunk carried over into my grandfather’s parenting style.
My grandfather was not abusive but he was very authoritarian with my dad’s two oldest brothers.
He made an effort to not be like his dad but it did not always work out that way. He never drank and he tried to be the best father and grandfather that he could be.
He always told the grandchildren how important it was not to drink. I never really had a desire to drink because I saw how drinking affected my family. It left a trail of heartbreak, anger, hurt and longing.
Another way that alcohol has affected my life is through my work with the homeless population.
My mom and I have worked with people who had so much going for them until it was destroyed by alcohol.
Most people think they can handle their drinking but by the time they realize that it is out of control, it is too late.
I have seen teachers, moms, dads, adolescents and doctors who are having problems with alcoholism.
They try so hard to get back to where they were. It is a hard road for anyone to travel down.
I have seen people killing themselves by drinking because they think that they have lost everything anyway, so why try to change.
There are people in Johnson City who are selling themselves for “just one more drink.”
There are people who think that drinking will solve their problems. Some people think that drinking will make them numb to the pain they are feeling.
My heart goes out to these people. These are the people who use to think they could handle their drinking and stop when they wanted to.
Everyone knows someone like this. It may be a family member, friend or roommate, or themselves.
They think that drinking will make their problems go away. This is not true.
Drinking in excess will make all things worse. They may not see it, but it is affecting everyone around them, and maybe even people they have not met yet like my great-grandfather’s drinking affected me.
If you or someone you know has a problem with drinking, talk to someone. There are people who can help. Do not let drinking mess up your chances for the future or your family and friends.