Daddy's last drink - Jan. 3, 1982

In the Fall 1981 I started school. I went ot the Florida Institute of Technolgy to be a deep sea diver. I caught a ride home for Christmas and Dad took me back on Jan. 2. It was about a 6 or 7 hour ride and it was just me and Dad. Along the way we just shot the bull. He pointed out places he had worked when he was younger and he pointed out a large pond where he had shot a bunch of ducks once. He corrected me, that was not mistletoe growing in the trees in the water, that was orchids, and no not the big orchids I was thinking of. That was the way it was, we just talked about mundane, pointless stuff. It was great. He dropped me off about 4 or 5 in the afternoon. He didn’t even get out of his pickup. He told me, “I don’t care what you do, just do a good job.” and he was gone.

I met my new roommate and we went out, got real drunk, and had a big time. The next morning about 7 o’clock someone knocked on the door. It was a Florida Highway Patrolman. He said that my Father had been in a accident. He was traveling south in a north-bound lane. He did not survive. The Patrolman said that he needed for me to come with him to make the identification. I went with him to Vero Beach where my Father died. Along the way I convinced myself that someone had stolen Dad’s truck and the police just assumed it was him. When you are desperate you will believe anything. It was Dad, he had had a lot to drink since I had seen him last. We had not been drinking together.

I didn’t go back to school that semester. I went home and started to wander through various jobs and schools with no real direction. I started to drink heavily. Five years later in 1987 I was going down a backroad late one night and I rear-ended a car load of people. I had been drinking for about 15 or 16 hours, it was all my fault. No one was hurt but both vehicles were reduced to scrap. I looked at them for about an hour waiting for the police to arrive. The officer took me to jail and processed me and put me in the drunk tank. I found a corner in the floor and went to sleep.

The next morning I woke up and took stock of my situation. I had not hurt or killed anyone, I would lose my license, I would not have transportation to work, I would probably be sued. I thought back to 1982 and the morning I spent with my Father in the morgue. To me the definition of alcoholic or alcoholism were irrelevant. I decided there on the floor of the drunk tank that if I continued to drink, I would likely die like my Father. That was when I quit drinking.

A side note when my Father died his BAC was 0.17. When I blew into the breathalizer my BAC was 0.19. I had my ticket laminated, I think of it as my birth certificate for sobriety.

Your wisdom was very painfully gained. I’m so sorry for your loss, and respect you for recognizing your reality and taking action to save yourself from the same fate.

Have a long and healthy life hlanelee.

Forgive me, I just wanted to run my temperance thread back up.

I personally am glad you did and I salute you.

Identifying a parent or loved one in the morgue stays with you. I have wandered now since that day, September 13, 1991. I have haunting dreams, several times a week. I also have to confront the contents of the note that my mother wrote before she left us.

It either breaks you or makes you stronger. Thank you for sharing your story, and may you continue to live a strong and healthy life.

Congratulations to you for learning a lesson from your own experience, even if you didn’t learn it from your dad’s loss. It seems you made a very wise decision, and are a better, stronger and wiser person for it.

Thanks for your strength, hope and experience.

My father was a very bad alocholic all my life. He nearly killed himself many times and my sister and I once on Christmas eve. Well, it got bad one night and I called the police. He was arrested and his liscense taken away, he was also charged with assulting a peace officer. He was ordered to go to AA meetings, put on probation and sent to all sorts of counselling. Well, since my call he hasn’t had a drink since. It has been nearly 5 years. I am so proud of him. It was an addiction and would have killed him and maybe others, this I am sure of. Now he runs the AA meetings twice a week.

My sister has fallen in his footsteps and I am worried. Last week she drove home dunk and crashed her car. She hit a parked van and drove away. She has tried to kill herself while intoxicated., a few times. She is a very petite girl and gets drunk fast. Her husband is threatening to divorce her and they have a beautiful little micacle baby boy. My father has tried to get her to the AA meetings but to no avail. They have tried so hard to cure her and nothing is working. She has fallen hard and I am afarid that she will die. She has had alochol poisoining a few times. The last time they found her unconscious and not breathing on the floor of someones apartment and the guests called the parametics. They medics said if she hadn’t have puked when they revived her she probally would not have made it. How many times does she have to hit bottom before she stops? If anyone has any advice I would much appreciate it. I need to save her before it is too late. She is going to loose her son if she doesn’t get help fast. When sober she is the most beautiful and wonderful person in the world. A great mother, good sister, friend and wife. Can we have her hospitalized? She is in Canada. Please help.

Stomp I don’t know an easy way to tell you this but there is nothing you can do to help your sister. Becoming sober is a personal decision and is an ongoing concern once you make it. I watched my father die drinking and driving. I watched my grandmother die of cirrhosis of the liver before that. Neither way was a very pretty death. I knew how to drink, I could handle it, I would not die like the two generations before me! I literally had to lose everything but the clothes off my back and because of liability I lost things I didn’t have yet. Your sister will have to find her own bottom. I am truly sorry.

Stomp, I’m sorry for your sister, but you can’t help her.

What you can do is help your brother in law and your nephew. That baby is growing up without a mommy, and you need to be supportive of them. Your sister is an adult. I know it hurts, and it’s painful, but she hasn’t hit bottom yet. Maybe it will take your BIL divorcing her and losing custody of her baby before she does.

I was worried someone would say that. I know it’s true. My father says the same thing. She has to do it herself. I can’t sleep at night because I am worried about her. I live so far away (So Cal) and I feel I need to be there for her. I am afarid of what is going to happen next time she hits bottom. On a good note: My sister and her husband start counselling next week.

hlanelee, kudos on making a hard decision and sticking with it. I’m sorry your dad wasn’t able to do the same.