I believe that every family has had to deal with some sort of issue or trauma in their lives. Being human dictates loss and pain. Some people are more fortunate than others. Some people don’t know when they’ve got a good thing going and some people don’t realise what a truly serious problem they actually have.
My family falls in the latter half of this last sentence. Our whole lives we’ve lived with an alcoholic and never knew how serious this actually is. It is only now that we are all adults and forming families that we realise how this truly messed us up.
My father has been an alcoholic for as long as I can remember. He hasn’t had a job for many years. Actually, I only ever remember him having one job that he left after few days. The sad thing is that my father has been rated as ‘genius’ on his IQ tests. At one stage he was the first indian manager in a very large and famous organisation and is actually in their company history. Too bad they wouldn’t even recognise him if they saw him.
He was handsome and popular. He played sports and wooed my mom at an early stage. They got married at just 19 years old and started a family. After building himself up he opened up his own business and was very successful. I’m always hearing stories about how the family (before I was born) were jetting of this country or going some holiday here and rubbing shoulders with that person. Unfortunately it all ended when his partner scammed out of everything and they ended up dirt poor. The saddest thing I’ve ever heard from my mum is when she told me this story and she said they didn’t even have money to buy oil to light the lamps on Diwali day (another reason I get irritated when people hate on Diwali).
Anyway, they recovered, both her and my dad started from scratch, but he never let go of his crutch, which was alcohol. He became aggressive and abusive to everyone in the family but only when he drank. There are so many things I remember from my childhood that I’ve tucked away. It would be too much to bring up. My sister goes to a psychiatrist to deal with the issues he caused. I’m contemplating the same. My other sister has blocked everything of to the point that she thinks nothing’s wrong.
We always ask my mum why she never left him. She couldn’t she says, it was taboo and she loved him and so did we. He was the perfect father, when he wasn’t drinking. I feel so sorry and embarrassed for her. Especially at all the friends and family functions where he got drunk and performed. Somehow she dealt with it and they are still together and still very much in love.
I wish though, that someone had taken action years ago, gotten him help, instead of believing that it was normal. He’s been to hospital many times, for almost drinking himself to death. And when I hear him speak about his ‘younger days’ I feel really sorry for him. He went from a ‘larni’ touring Europe and driving convertibles to a miserable old man with no respect.
So he’s 62 years old, still married to my mother and has 3 children looking after him. All my life I’ve been the apple of his eye, we’ve always been close. All my life I defended him against everyone else and I always had this hope that one of these days he’d give up the drinking. Soon, he’s getting old, how much more can his body take? It’s not going to happen.
He admits that he has a problem, that he’s an alcoholic and that he doesn’t want to stop drinking. I’ve even stop lying about it to my friends about it, what’s the point? But now on top of drinking too much he’s got chronic depression which causes him to drink more which causes suicidal thoughts.
After being really sick recently he finally seems to be coming out of the depression. He’s still not his old self; he looks very much older than he actually is but at least he’s taking part in life again. My mother wants to retire next year and I don’t want her to spend her retirement looking after him. I want them to go out and enjoy themselves; they should be happy and free and not worry so much. But, he’s still drinking. He can’t manage much these days however no matter how bad or sick her feels he still can push down one drink at least.
I often wonder to myself, how did this happen? How did my mother allow it to get to this stage? Why didn’t my sisters and I push harder earlier on to stop him? But I’ve realised that we aren’t responsible for his actions. That’s his own karma. All I can do now is be the best person that I can be, the best daughter, wife, mother, aunt, sister and friend. All I can do is hope that he lives the rest of his life in a good way.