Saturday, May 14, 2011

Trying to understand my alcoholic father

at 7:43 AM
As a child of nine years, I couldn't understand my father's alcoholism and why when drinking his wine "Thunderbird" was so contrary, mean and nasty to everyone around him. I once asked my mother why dad drank so much. She answered with another question, "why would anyone drink?" We puzzled over this issue for some time and came up with some possible answers that have proven to be true.

Feelings of inferiority: it is very likely that my father had feelings of inferiority and tried to strengthen himself in front of everyone or to improve its image. Drinking allowed him to cover these feelings. When he would be on a drunk who would lie and even brag to look better than he was.

Feelings of regret: it was also feasible that he did not, as he or she felt guilty for not being better than the one that turned out to be. I used to hear him talk about his army days. He expressed regret that he did not get the chance to fight in World War II, but instead ended up bother running away back home to see his mother. Mama said that police found him and took him back to the army to spend time in the Brig. The rest of his life was spent drinking to help cover the blame for messing up her alive. Every Friday evening, Dad would spend his pay check on liquor and then return home only to face MOM and then get another big fight.

Feelings of guilt: MOM informed me that his younger brother, Melvin's dad died when he was a few years. My father felt responsible for her death because it left open the bedroom window. Melvin caught pneumonia and died.

Learned behavior: Uncle Bill's dad used to make their own whiskey and Bud and his brother, Chub were allowed to drink freely. In those days the survival of the farm work was more important to go to school. When the weather was good, I stayed at home and worked the farm, and when the weather was bad they went to school.

Peer pressure: Daddy had several drinking companions and I was in contact with some of his so-called friends. Occasionally they came to our House-MOM didn't like much because she would have had to clean up after they have made such a mess.

Genetic make-up: often asked if dad was born with the desire to drink alcohol or if it was perhaps part of her genetic make-up. Since then I've learned that though there is some evidence that alcoholism is a genetic gene that may cause it was not found.

There are many causes for alcoholism and this article has only scratched the surface. It seems that the greatest thing to lead to alcoholism may be environmental factors. It is a known fact that the children of alcoholics are four times more likely than other children to become alcoholics. As in the case of my father, his alcoholism could very well be a learned behavior, since he was surrounded by family and friends. All to often, alcohol is used as a cover for the biggest problem. For this reason and to stay on the safe side of things, I chose to be a teetotaler.
Mel Jackson is a social worker establishing adoptive homes for abused children. He is the author of the book of creative non-fiction, "Runaway" and also writes occasionally for the local newspaper. He resides with his wife and daughter and can be reached at For more information on runaway children, Please also visit: