This I Believe

Sherrie - Fort Wayne, Indiana
Entered on November 26, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: addiction

Alcoholism is a disease. I have not always believed this to be true, but I do now. I am witnessing its grip on my dad, a grip so strong it has infused itself into his brain. The alcohol will not allow the slightest chance of freedom, his own fear of dealing with his problems scare him even more than trying to fight this hold alcohol has over him.

My dad has had this problem for as long as I can remember, I have been told, since the death of my sister he has been unable to stop. My sister died when she was two years old. She died of complications with her heart.

Alcoholism is a key contributor to my own divorce, when my ex-husband allowed alcoholism to invade him I chose to move on, it would not infect me as it had done in the past. I would not become a life long enabler or codependent as my mother is doing.

I use to be the person that mastered justification and down right lying to save myself from embarrassment. I knew how to do this, perhaps by the age of seven. My friends would wonder why my dad was passed out in his car, as the horn would blow for what seemed like hours. I would tell them he must have forgotten to go to bed, he worked late last night. Seemed like a buyable excuse at the time.

Alcoholism is not a disease where treatment options are available in abundance. Unfortunately, there is no miracle drug that cures it. My ex-husband was forced to take a medication known as Antabuse. He did well with his treatment, kept him sober the whole four years he was on it, six months after he was free from the medication he was back at it again.

Alcoholism is a disease. It does not discriminate; it will ride on the coattail of anyone that cannot find the strength within themselves to shake it off. Alcoholism is not a sneaky disease. It is apparent to an outsider, or an insider that there is a predicament when their once dependable, honest, loved one has encountered a problem. There are many signs; the obvious one is when the individual is acting out of his normal self.

I no longer have to live with this disease on a daily basis; I am married to a wonderful man who rarely drinks. However, I have recently realized, just a few weeks ago in fact, I will never be exempt from dealing with this disease again. I will have to live with it as an adult. My dad has no intentions of dealing with this. This damn disease will not leave him alone and I have tried to make it go away for him. I yelled at him a few weeks ago, “Dad get help, stop drinking!” I got off the phone and cried for him, and myself. Alcoholism is a disease and it affects everyone, I believe this now.