DescriptionMe: Okay, who was the person in your family that was using drugs?
Joe: That would be my father, he was using alcohol, abusing alcohol.
Me: Okay, did they ever lie or try to hide the truth about their addiction?
Joe: All the time, yeah, my dad, he was an alcoholic, he would always try to hide the fact that he’s been drinking from my mother and me and my sister but it was obvious it he was drinking to excess, but he would always try to hide it, he would drink in front of us, but nothing too too extreme he would typically go out and drink to the point where he was highly intoxicated and then come home and you would see it.
Me: So you said you knew it was obvious that he had been drinking but have you ever actually seen him misuse alcohol?
Joe: Yes, I have seen him from time to time, going up as of as a child, just go over the edge with the drinking at a different functions, my father was hard-core drinker when it came to vodka. He would drink beer too, but he like the harder liquors more, I guess it gets you intoxicated quicker so I have seen him, yes personally drink to excess and basically pass out, it was kind of hard to watch.
Me: How did seeing that affect you?
Joe: I was, It was hard to watch it was somebody that you love and care about abuse their body like he was and I was angry. I really didn’t understand why he couldn’t stop drinking. I was naive when it came to as a young child, mid teens, not really understanding that alcoholism is a disease. I always thought that he got the ability to stop. It was, very negative memories of my dad drinking, and then when he drank he would become, kind of like aggressive.
Me: So would you say their addiction had a certain affect on your relationship?
Joe: Absolutely, like I said your father is your father, you love your father and I love my dad but, I had a lot of anger towards him, a lot of resentment towards him but definitely affected our relationship because he was, he was drunk quite often so we couldn’t really have a normal father son relationship.
Me: Do you recall any fights or arguments that broke out with family members?
Joe: Yes, It was continual, basically because of the drinking, as I was getting older, you know, into the mid teens, and later teens I started to confront my father you know, more about his drinking and asking him to stop and telling him that he’s killing himself and what he’s doing to the family, my mom would have continual, arguments with my dad, it got to the point where my mom would have to hide liquor bottles, try to keep the car out of the house but my dad would always sneak liquor into the house.
Me: How did you cope with the fact that they had an addiction, if there was any coping mechanisms?
Joe: I didn’t cope well early on, I’m going to say I started to realize my dad was a drinker when I was about nine or ten years old, and I didn’t understand alcoholism as a disease and as I got older my mom would always sit me down and she would try to be the voice of reason like “don’t resent your father, your father is an alcoholic, your father can’t stop drinking, your father has disease” and I wouldn’t really accept that as a young child, but as I got older and through school and reading and stuff and I did realize too independently that my dad was suffering from a disease, alcoholism is a disease so once I start to understand it that way I had less resentment towards my dad, and I can I had more pity for my dad, I viewed him as a person that was sick and not a person that just chose to drink.
Me: Is there anything you wish you could go back and change?
Joe: I wish that I could go back and change the amount of arguments that I have at my dad – I wish I could get through to him the fact that I love him and that in spite of his drinking you know he’s my dad and I’ll always love him, I wish I could’ve changed the slow pace that I accepted his disease, I wish it was quicker that I would’ve had a better handle on it then I would’ve had just a better relationship with my dad when it came to his alcoholism.
Me: What was one thing that stuck with you throughout the experience? Either positive or negative.
Joe: On the positive side, I learned a great deal about alcoholism as a disease, it is a very prevalent disease in society. I also learned to accept it as a disease I could look at my father through a different viewpoint and then realize in spite of his disease he had a lot of very good qualities. The negative stuff as far as the memories go was that there was not a lot of good interaction between me and my dad because he was constantly drunk, and you can’t really have any quality conversations with a drunk person and there was a lot of fighting between my mom and my dad and myself.
Me: Final question, what is one piece of advice that you would give to someone else that is going through what you went through?
Joe: I would definitely tell people that are going through similar experiences living with somebody that’s a alcoholic or a drug addict to try to help yourself try to educate yourself as far as what the disease is like and what they’re doing with whether it’s drugs or alcohol. It impacts far more than the person that’s the addict, that’s one thing I will try to explain or impress upon people living similar situations, I would advocate for people to find some support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous, and other programs they’re good they’re people better subject matter expert’s and these addictions and I can definitely give a point of reference as far as you’re not alone in this world and I give you some coping tools to deal with living with addicts.