the Pink Elephant in the room…

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Chemical Dependence (Part II):  Last time I talked about how easy it is to become chemically dependent in good and bad ways. Here’s the Pink Elephant in my room. Alcohol…

It’s a big Pink Elephant too. Alcoholism runs in the family. It is a factor anyone with my blood lines needs to seriously consider. From drunks to druggies they dot the family tree. The history is funny and tragic. Here are a few of our skeletons: A train engineer who bootlegged during the prohibition; One who was never found sober due the whiskey in his morning cuppa joe; Another beaten to death in a drunk tank; Popular young ladies sipping their lives away; A few raving dry drunks; Charismatic gentlemen seeming to have the world on a string but it’s really a tiger by the tail; and all the rumors about so many others…How did our family survive. Kids are resilient that way. They get through any way they can.

Do I drink? Yes, on rare occasions I enjoy a hot tottie, a margarita, or a glass of wine. Alcohol goes to my head pretty quickly and with my addictive tendencies, let alone my family histories, I limit myself. I grew up in home where I could have a drink anytime I wanted. There were no age limits but there were rules. Losing control was frowned upon and there was no blaming the drink. It was your fault if you put it in your mouth. There was no shame in enjoying life with chemical stimulation BUT, never let the drink control you. In addition to the openness at home, there was an incident when I was seventeen that solidified my conviction.

I got drunk on raspberry punch. Really drunk! I didn’t know was spiked. Classic right? Figures but…it really did happen. I was watching the raspberries float in circles as I stirred the punch until someone told me to go home. Here’s the scary part. I remember putting the key in the ignition. Then I woke up the next morning to my father pounding on the door, and atom bombs going off in my head. I was so scared.

I called friends, including a cop, to see if there were any accidents the night before. He asked in his stern cop voice, so not the teddy bear I knew this man to be; “Wha’d you do Mil!” I explained and answered his questions:

“I’m okay. No damage to my truck (I had a tiny little yellow Datsun (yes Datsun!) pick-up).”

“No accidents, no property damage reported. Don’t do it again.” His voice had softened to a more fatherly tone. Again no excuses. It was my fault for what I put into my system.

Whew. I could stop sweating. Later after many non-alcoholic fluids, I realized: “Hey girl you blacked out! What if you were dancing on the tables! I want to remember dancing on the tables not just hear about from my friends.” After the incident I’ve gotten a good buzz on in few blue moons but, haven’t gotten drunk. So just like my teenaged self from back in the day, I can rock out on the table top and remember the fun!

I have to be serious for a moment. We have some great stories with alcohol and events. Ah! The uncles getting, shall we say, tipsy on New Year’s Eve and playing (or trying to) football on New Year’s. Absolutely hilarious! I think hangover football was more dangerous than the drinking!

However our family has also seen: cirrhosis of the liver, criminal activity under the influence, accidents, DUIs, neglect, abuse, divorces, and wrecked homes. There are serious ramifications. I thank my parents for being open about alcoholism. Thanks to their love and honesty I had choices. I also knew the ramifications. I have tried to pass along the same gift to my sons. Note: One doesn’t like alcohol at all. The other is a trained bartender but doesn’t seem to like letting the drink control him. Thank God Almighty!

When you drink of the vine or the hops, understand your limits and the possible ramifications. I have no problem with having fun and taking risks. Just remember  you and I are ultimately responsible for our own actions.

Take care of yourselves loves,

Milly

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