This week I decided to do a reflection on an article about “Alcoholism” I read a few years back. Alcoholism, is a progressive illness involving excessive ingestion of alcohol. Alcoholism, as opposed to merely excessive or irresponsible drinking has been variously thought of as a symptom of psychological o social stress or as a learned behavior. More recently it has come to be viewed as a complex disease . Alcoholism develops over a period of years.
A common symptom includes placing excessive importance on the availability of alcohol. Alcoholics have a high tolerance to alcohol, consuming more and showing less effects than others. Alcohol is a leading cause for death which causes nearly 4 percent of deaths worldwide, more than Aids, tuberculosis, or violence. Approximately 2. 5 million people die each year from alcohol related causes. I also choose this topic because a week ago as you know, my father died in his sleep. He was an alcoholic for over 20 years, on and off trying to get sober.
At times my father drank about 5 or 6 cups of rum and coke daily until he drank himself to death. What my father neglected to realize was alcoholism can lead to raga damage such as cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy, or gastritis. Alcoholism is a disease, it sometimes is genetic and environmental factors have plenty to do with its development. An example in this case would be my grandmother, she drinks beer all through the day and ever since my father was little seeing this probably caused him to want to drink as well. Alcoholism’s first stage is craving; a strong need for the drink.
Second is a loss of control which is where you become unable to control or limit one’s drinking. The third sage is physical dependence such as withdrawal symptoms. The fourth and final stage is tolerance, the need to drink cup after cup to achieve your high or buzz. Characteristics of severe physical dependence are cravings and withdrawals. Withdrawal systems can range from very mild to high severe levels. Some symptoms are rapid heart rate and sweating, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, confusion, tremors, and seizures. Alcohol is a depressant that slows the bodies system down.
When my father actually did withdrawal it gave a questioned disadvantage because his mental state was not stable. He had slowed reaction time, depression, impaired memory, anger , and even sometimes heat exhaustion. Alcohol is no respecter of persons, of internal organs, or bodily functions. How do I know alcohol killed my father? Because I was there. I was there for years. I watched as my grandmother, uncle, and his best friends brought him bottles of strong liquor. I watched as he told me he was quitting and then everyone surrounding him had a drink in their hand.
I watched him drown in his miseries, he had to be strong to resist when everyone around him was getting wasted and he tried to stay clean. He wasn’t eating much lately. He couldn’t. He was in terrible physical and mental pain. I witnessed his physical and mental decline over the years s he drank his way through a minimum off bottle of rum every two days. He never mentioned suicide but his life was ebbing away pitifully each day. It was not Just physical disintegration but also the mental degeneration that was so horrific. His spirit was Atrophying.
Two or three years before my father died his body was bloated, his skin didn’t look a healthy color. His face was Jowly and ill-kempt. He was extremely overweight and he knew it. His eyes were bulbous and yellow. He could not walk without extreme pain in his feet or legs. He smoked, but this was not all to do with smoking. It is known that chronic alcoholism causes something called “Polyurethane”- consisting of tender calf muscles, discomfort walking, numbness, weak legs, tingling and swelling of feet and hands and can lead to paralysis of the legs.
My father’s name was James, and he had once, some 15 years before, been fit and full of life. At the age of 35 1 was about eight years old, and it was made redundant and dealt with his disappointments in life with a drink. As my father’s body and mind weakened he withdrew into a space few could penetrate. A year ago; not brought to my knowledge till now his friend told me a doctor told my father he ad one year maximum to live unless he quit his drinking for good. So my father would call me and say “65 days sober”, ” 79 days sober”, “92 days sober” until one day he stopped calling to tell me how many days he was sober.
My father tried so very hard to shake his bad habit but sure enough after 3 months with no drinking he was back at it again. His death and its details make a grim conversation but there is a particular aura of shame and taboo which surrounds the subject of alcoholic death. Despite my commonly held belief that there were Just “consequences” of alcohol issue; I never fathomed my father would die at the age of 44 with a drink next to his bed and an alcoholics anonymous book in his door with a picture of me inside of it.
I only wish that instead of buying and pouring his drinks his friends, family, and me his daughter would have realized the consequences and maybe helped him out, supported him, encouraged him; instead of helping to kill him but allowing it to go on for so long. I now mourn for a man with the soul of a saint. A man like a poet; full of beautiful words of wisdom. A man full of charm and curiosity and humor, who appreciated life’s intricacies and oddities. Who once dreamed of making millions and taking care of every soul that surrounded him.
A hardworking man; who taught me patience, kindness, and determination. I mourn for a man with the heart of an idealist. I mourn for a man who was disconnected from me, his religion, and himself at times. Who lived in sadness covered by a smile, who longed for help but had none, who longed to be sober and put down his cup but was Just poured another. I long for a man who drank himself to dither. I know external facts of my father’s sorrows, but will never know the internal dynamics and personal pain. And I’ll never know whether alcoholism was the cause or result of my father’s troubles.
I do know that my father lost hope. But despite all of this and the fact that my father and I had such a close relationship; and he told me how much he yearned to stay sober and healthy but never followed all the way through, I never gave up hope that he might change. I had seen him make so much progress before. He tried hard to shake his addiction, until his cravings consumed him- and compelled him to resume drinking. Alcoholism is a disease of denial. As the daughter of an alcoholics, I was Just as powerless as he once was. And I am sorry, and I always will be.
I choose to write about this topic because it is obviously one that pertains to me on a very personal and emotional level. I believe god would have wanted my father to overcome his addiction and better his life, but unfortunately that’s up to us and even god with all his power can’ put our drinks down for us. I believe this issue is very wrong, my father wanted to be a better and healthier person but his surroundings left it nearly impossible. I wish I could have helped more; but unfortunately I didn’t. Better his life, but unfortunately that’s up to us and even god with all his power can’t