Growing up, I went through a lot with my family. My dad was always in trouble and my mom and I were always trying to bale him out. It appears times have not changed.
When I was back home over the 4th of July my dad and I made plans for dinner. As I hadn't seen him since Christmas you might think that he would want to see me and not make a fool of himself. Instead he came to pick me up at my aunts house a little, tipsy. He'd been down at the beer garden drinking for three hours. He was wearing a dirty shirt with cut off sleeves and smelled like cigarettes and beer.
So you are wondering...did I in fact go to dinner with him? Yes I did. Why? Because honestly after all these years of him getting into trouble, disappointing and embarrasing me, I'm used to it. Now, most of you wouldn't crawl in and drive with a guy who's a little tipsy and smelly and drive off for dinner with him. But, as I mentioned above I'm used to it. I've been around him so much this way that I can instantly tell if he can drive us or if he's completly intoxicated. I also know just how much he's had by his attitude. If he's a little tipsy, it means it's easy to get him all riled up, which means he'll yell and swear. So it's best just to talk with him as if there is no problem. Also, if he's just a little tipsy you can get him some food and coffee or water and he'll swing back to normal in a matter of minutes.
Now, if he's intoxicated, it's a whole other issue. Really bad things can happen at this stage. Most recently I heard he walked out of a bar and ran smack dab into a street sign and fell over. He's also wrapped my mother's car around a telephone pole, passed out on many a bar, fallen down numerous stair steps, broken his glasses, fallen down bleachers at my basketball games in high school, passed out snoring loudly at my dance recitals, gotten arrested, wrecked pretty much every car he's ever owned, thought our closets were bathrooms, the list goes on and on.
So, about ten years ago I finally thought all of this was over. He quit drinking for about five years. He sent me his one year AA pin and told me he couldn't do it without me. He became the president of the local AA chapter. He cleaned himself up, wore nice clothes, tried to keep his house up and changed friends.
I'll never know what changed, what made him drink again? I honestly think he just wanted to have some friends. I think some guys went out for dinner and he ordered a beer thinking he could handle it, not wanting to be the weirdo who didn't drink. What I don't understand, is wouldn't you rather be the weirdo who doesn't drink, than the weirdo who pee's in your family's closet?
When I grew up everyone told me alcoholism was an inherited disease. I was so worried that I'd be like him that I was afraid to drink wine at communion. I got older and drank in college, luckily I was fine and knew when to stop. Since I have control it's hard for me to understand totally losing control, to the point of losing your friends and family. Especially when you've been able to quit for five years. I'll never understand this.
This long post is all because my dad has been on my mind. I know from talking to family members and from going home that he's up to his old tricks. I worry that he'll hurt someone or hurt himself. I don't know how to talk to him about it again, because it seems it doesn't matter anymore to him. I thought about sending that first year AA pin back to him and writing a letter about how much it once meant to me. Another part of me thinks I should just leave the whole situation alone, as he seems to do what he wants anyway.
It seems some things never change...