I come from a family where we have our share of alcoholics and drug addicts and even a few gamblers. My stepfather was an alcoholic and realistically my uncle and a few cousins were too. The drug abusers were there but they weren’t at many family social functions and unfortunately there is an air of invisibility regarding substance abuse in my family. A few of them have a compulsive disorder and if they stop one habit they develop another.
One of my cousins, who I have very little contact with now, is an alcoholic. He got up in the morning drinking champagne, not mimosas. And he would drink all day every day, except probably when he was going to work. But as soon as he got home…he was drinking. He eventually kicked the habit. Then he picked up another one. I remember the first time I saw him nodding out at a family function. I was in awe, because I couldn’t believe it. It was during this time he went out and didn’t come back to the house until daybreak and I had to let him in and when I opened the door he reeked of booze and drugs and sweat. And he had the nerve to climb into bed with his wife in that condition and come home fucked up. I got mad then. This was also the visit he and I got into a huge fight about the gifts I gave his wife. I cussed him out and reminded him I wasn’t his wife and I don’t back down I fight. Yeah, it was that bad.
Then he went to treatment and got a sponsor. And you know the step where they make amends? Well he came to me and apologized for that incident and a few others. Cool. Not Cool. He developed another habit.
Alcohol and drugs don’t just affect the individual and their immediate family. The effect is felt throughout the family because there is a lot of lying and covering up the situations. The fights and arguments I had with my cousin were the manifestations of his drug use and he realized I knew he had a problem and I couldn’t disguise my disappointment in him.
I may drink but I can honestly say I have never felt compel to smoke a joint or sniff or shoot up any kind of drug. I saw its affect first hand and I wasn’t worth the heartache it caused.