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08 February 2011 @ 11:27 pm
Will he go round in circles?  
That was more of a lost weekend than usual. Seems like I got nothing done.

My parents visited on Saturday, which was nice except for the part where I'm trapped in the house for the whole day. It was beautiful and sunny, and I never made it outside. My Dad also put me in an awkward position regarding alcohol.

I don't think I've mentioned this here before, but my Dad is a high-functioning alcoholic. Most of the time, the rest of my family is blind to it or enables it. I'm the only one who won't do that.

Except for the year-and-a-half after his brain surgery, my Dad has drunk alchohol every single day. He thinks that waiting until late in the afternoon and rarely actually getting drunk means that he doesn't have a problem with drinking. I disagree.

He can't or won't pass up a day here and there. It's every day. When he goes on vacation, he brings his scotch with him-- as if he might have trouble finding it otherwise. On trips to Europe, he has taken a 1/2 gallon of scotch in his carry-on.

I suspect he thinks that if he stays out of bars, he doesn't have a problem. Moreover, my mother (who enables all of this) doesn't like bars and he'd have to go by himself.

But here's the thing: there was a period of over a year when I was in college that he did go to bars. If he didn't have patients scheduled for the afternoon, he'd go to one bar in particular and stay there drinking with the other "regulars" for the rest of the day. That also became most of the weekend. His office partner told my Mom that this was affecting my Dad's reputation, and that it wasn't good. So somehow, for whatever reason, my Dad pulled out of it.

But when he refers to that time now, he only says that it "got to be too much", and he imagines that he has everything under control now.

My thinking is that episodes like that only happen to alcoholics, and moreover, any high-functioning alcoholic who drinks will always be at risk for that kind of downturn.

On Saturday, he asked if he could bring his drinks into the house (we never serve alcohol when he's there). I said yes, but I was uncomfortable with the fact that he couldn't just pass on it. And I suddenly found myself wondering (since I can't remember) whether he used to put his brothers and sisters in that position when he visited them. His entire family, apart from him, was Mormon, and I know that the fact of his drinking hurt them. They've all been Mormon for so many generations that there's no way of knowing if any of the rest of the family would have turned up alcoholic, had they ever consumed alcohol.

My younger sister married an alcoholic the first time around. Now she's dating someone who, though wonderful in all other ways, looks like a high-functioning alcoholic himself. He behaves as if social functions with my family (or any functions) require 'fortification,' and my sister drinks right along with him. But she's blind to the possibility-- god, she and my other siblings give my parents wine at Christmas! She's better off with this guy than she was with her ex, but the potential for sliding off the deep end will always be there.

So. Those are my big, fat issues. I rarely drink myself (Wincon is the most drinking I do all year), but I don't think alcohol itself is inherently bad. However, having grown up with this in the background, it colors some of my thinking.


Sunday, I turned off the alarm clock in my sleep and got a really late start to the day. We went to Lauren's basketball game (a nailbiter, ending in a win), then Christopher scootered with me while I ran. His big event was having a friend come over to watch the Super Bowl. They didn't even make it to the end of the first quarter before they were pestering Lauren, then got sent outside to shoot baskets, then agitated to play video games. It wound up basically being a 4-hour playdate. But they had a good time. Unfortunately, the Super Bowl ran across dinner time, and the rest of the evening was fragmented.

So much for 2 days off! I spent Sunday and yesterday trying to fight off Lauren's cold, but it got me. Christopher has it now too.

On the writing front, I'm poking my Australian flood-auction donors for prompts, so I can finish more of those. I wrote a drabble that is up in the large voting pool at drabble_las (votes are needed!), and a first-attempt drabble that wouldn't fit in 100 words and that I can't post until after the voting is over. All secret, all the time! I'm still not used to it.

Tomorrow? Please let the wind die down...

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JJ: dean eyebrowsjolietjones on February 9th, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
There's a huge amount of denial involved with alcohol.

My father used to stop in at the pub on the way home from work everyday without fail (he said it was good for business) and was never without a scotch and water once he got home and then later when we were all grown up we always had wine with dinner when we went to visit and sherry before hand etc etc

And I married an Irishman *headdesk* He lives in a big wide universe of denial!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 9th, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
Ah, I see you're very familiar with this situation.

There's always the rationalization that "It's not a _lot_ of drinking", but when the person cannot skip a day (or won't)... there's an alcohol-dependency problem.

Worse, it made my younger sister blind to the signs of alcoholism in general.

I can't say (other than that very bad year) that his drinking has had terribly ill effects on the rest of the family (other than mortification), because I can't separate it out from effects of his narcissism or mild bipolar disorder.

Put them together, though, and you have someone who tries to run from his problems rather than solve them (and takes the whole family with him), and wraps everyone around the axle with ideas like "There's this great job in Texas," or "Your mother and I are thinking of moving to Utah/Mexico." Criminy. :(
JJ: cupolightjolietjones on February 9th, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC)
Yes, very familiar.

Oh dear, do you think the alcohol aggravates the situation with regard to narcissism and bipolar disorder or does it smooth the edges?

It's common for people to use alcohol to run away from their problems, for sure, and did you have to up sticks and move to Texas etc or was there very little 'follow through'?

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 9th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, do you think the alcohol aggravates the situation with regard to narcissism and bipolar disorder or does it smooth the edges?

It creates a different "filter" of what's going on, and I think that makes it easier for the alcoholic-in-denial to be more oblivious to their personality issues. Which is not fun for other people. :(

did you have to up sticks and move to Texas etc or was there very little 'follow through'?

I'm still mad about that one. My father sold his medical practice and put the house up for sale based on his perception that the hiring committee liked him and was going to give him the job. They didn't.

I was thirteen then, and so angry that I said, "You put this entire thing in motion without a signed contract? Even I know better than that!"

I thought it was perfect opportunity to just stay in Portland, which is what the kids wanted to do. He saw it as a social embarrassment, and instead took a job in Eugene and moved us all there. For a shy kid like me, moving cities was a nightmare.

We moved several times when I was a kid (people ask if my family was military), though it was always in Oregon.

House 1 was A 72-acre farm outside Salem. My parents both worked full-time, they had 2 small children and two tweens/teens, and that farm was a lot of work. My mother put her foot down after six years.

House 2 was in Salem. My mother went back into residency to change medical fields. Two years later, my father decided she'd have a better chance at a profession in Portland.

House 3: Portland, 5 years. We were outside the school district as always (and city limits), but we liked our school and friends.

House 4: Eugene emergency-duplex.

House 5: Eugene real house.

Then after I went to college and beyond,

House 6: Because the House #5 had too much yard, they moved to a house with less yard.

House 7: House #6 had pine trees, which made my Dad wheeze.

House 8: House #7 didn't have "enough yard" and was on a hill, so there was only a front yard. My Dad picked House 8 because it was in a valley he'd always wanted to live in, and one of his drinking buddies was selling it. That contruction on that house was not good.

House 9: Too much yard at House #8.

Just the number of times he switched houses for "more yard!" and "too much yard" reveals his manic side. The manic side has big plans, but it overreaches what is reasonable.

Sorry to bore you with all this! Ack. Still hits a nerve. :0

JJjolietjones on February 9th, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
Well now! Kudos to you for turning out to be so (seemingly!) well balanced and level headed. That's quite a story. \o/

Not boring at all my dear, I assure you. Haha and I know what you mean about hitting a nerve, I started typing a whole rant about my husband and made myself delete it because OMG self, let's not go there AGAIN.

Nice chatting with you hun, have a good rest of the week. x
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 9th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
Rant away! I think this would be even harder to live with as a spouse, and my shoulder's here for leaning. :)
nrrrdy_grrrl on February 9th, 2011 06:12 pm (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Lovehalfshellvenus on February 9th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
Random love? I'm always up for that! ♥ ♥ ♥ :D
nrrrdy_grrrl on February 9th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)