"We realized all the iced tea he drank wasn't iced tea" by Joseph Velardi
Recorded November 9, 2022 Archived November 9, 2022 10:41 minutes
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DescriptionMe: “Who was the person misusing drugs in your family”?
Anonymous: “It was my dad, he started developing a drinking problem when I was midway
through eighth grade. We found out about his drinking problem when I was midway through
eighth grade but it was about two years into it for him. It started when I was in sixth grade but we
didn't know for a while”.
Me: “Did you or anyone else in your family see them misuse drugs”?
Anonymous: “I caught my dad drinking occasionally but it wasn’t until after the fact that we
realized all the iced tea he drank wasn’t iced tea. He learned to hide it pretty well, so the only
real way we could tell was by the smell of his breath or the smell of the cup he left on the table.
Although he usually never left that cup alone, so it was always with him”.
Me: “Did they ever steal from the family to get money for their addiction”?
Anonymous: “Not that I know of actually, he never really had to, its the one thing I would give
to him I guess, is he never really went on bad benders or anything. He kind of seemed to budget
himself, so in that regard it wasn’t too bad”.
Me: “How did their addiction affect your family”?
Anonymous: “It definitely created a gap among me and my siblings. Most notably me and my
mom, even though I was the youngest I was the only boy, so once my dad eventually moved out,
I was the only boy, so once my dad left for good I had to sign my childhood away cause my mom
always came to me stressing about the bills. I kind of had to become a handyman to fix stuff we
couldn’t afford to fix around the house, so when plumbing went or something I had to step up”.
Me: “How did their addiction affect your relationship with them”?
Anonymous: “Um it affected it a lot i guess, for the most part while he was still living with us I
avoided him but after he left there wasn’t much of a relationship, it was rocky at best. I bounced
between talking to him and cutting him off but in the end I decided to talk to him just to avoid
the regret if he passed suddenly or something like that. I didn’t want to live with that for the rest
of my life”.
Me: “How did you cope with the situation”?
Anonymous: “To be honest I kind of just shut down, you could say I went numb in the
beginning, I was pretty young I was only about thirteen so I didn’t really process it more so until
later in high school, like my senior or junior year even my freshman year in college. At that
point, I kind of sunk into a pretty dark place, just went through the motions of life hoping it
would get better and I guess you could say it slowly did”.
Me: “Did they ever get into any fights or arguments with family members”?
Anonymous: “Me and my sisters never really argued with him, we all kind of just avoided him
so not really with my siblings. He would get into arguments with my mom but they were always
kind of on the smaller side, he only had a few big blowouts. He never really went toe to toe with
my mom but there were a few times we got sent to our rooms, because of the screamings, cops
never really got called or anything though”.
Me: “Did anyone try to help them with their addiction”?
Anonymous: “Yes and no, my sisters and my mom tried to help in the beginning, but by the time
we found out he was two years into it, like I have said. You can’t really help somebody who
doesn’t want to be helped so the attempts were short lived I guess you could say cause he wasn’t
really receptive to any of them”.
Me: “Did stigma regarding substance misuse affect their seeking treatment? Or did it affect
friends and family from helping? If so, how”?
Anonymous: “Not exactly, I mean he always brushed it off, kind of refused that he had a problem
telling us we were being hyper sensitive, stuff like that. I don’t know if I would attribute that
towards stigma really, I mean I guess yea because he didn’t want to seem weak but he really just
wanted to hit the bottle at the end of the day, I mean it was more of an embarrassment like I said,
he was trying to be a dad I guess trying to be bigger and tougher than he was. Nothing really
affected him but it was pretty easy to see through it but the stigma definitely didn’t affect us from
trying to help him, he was just so defensive and really didn’t want help, so our hands were pretty
tied in that department”.
Me: “Was there anything or anyone who helped you deal with the situation”?
Anonymous: “Not really, everyone around me was busy trying to deal with it themselves so I got
put on the back burner a lot, they tried to help since I was the youngest but their attempts weren’t
that good I guess. I had to deal with it myself for the most part. I tried going to guidance at
school but they only really cared if my grades were slipping or if I was causing trouble so they
didn’t really care about it. They only really cared if I was getting beat at home so their hands
were tied I guess other than that they just told me to man up and go through it”.
Me: “Would you or your family ever help them again”?
Anonymous: “Probably not at this point in my life, if he wanted to choose the bottle over me at
this point, I think i would just let it happen, I already have given him a lot of my time, probably
too much of my time and effort, so at this point I would be helping a stranger so it’s just not
Me: “Is there anything you wish you could go back and change”?
Anonymous: “ I don’t know, if fundly enough even before the drinking he was never really my
dad, it was constantly walking on eggshells to avoid setting him off about one thing or another,
he seemed to not really be fit to be a dad in the end all of the things that he wanted to do never
really lined up with being a father, he typically chose drinking and he was in a band. So he would
rather get trashed in a bar and play the saxophone and come home at three a.m and then help me
with my math homework. He was never really there, so I wouldn’t change it. I was better off I
Me: “Is there anything you wish you could have said to them”?
Anonymous: “I mean I am still in contact with him, so I will talk to him very occasionally so not
really I have said what I said, he is pretty on par with how I feel about him and that is kind of
between me and him. I wouldn’t say anything else”.
Me: “Have they regained you or your family's trust at all”?
Anonymous: “You know he has partly regained trust with my oldest sister, they are probably the
closest out of all of us, I mean even then they talk monthly at best I would say a few times a year.
My other sisters cut him off once he left, they haven’t talked to them since they have him
blocked on everything so he tries to talk to them I guess but he can’t. My mom only talks to him
when she has to because of divorce court they would talk but besides that I don’t think they have
even talked for probably a year or two at this point. I mean that kind of just leaves me, I talk to
him every once in a while but I get the vibe he seems pretty happy with his new life and wife
without us. I kind of just let it stay that way and let it be”.
Me: “Was there anything that stuck with you throughout the experience”?
Anonymous: “I definitely learned a lot through it in a way I am kind of glad it happened to me,
definitely made me who I am today, I kind of learned at the end of the day people no matter how
closely related even they are people are going to put themselves first and you have to remember
that or else you will spend your whole thinking what you could have done differently living a life
of regret and it's not really a way to live so i just take it in stride, I probably think of people in
more of a pessimistic sense, I am a bit jaded with the public, I usually end up being right so in a
way it is kind of a benefit I guess”.