Living with someone who has an addiction is not fun. Broken promises, lies, disappointments and fear tend to be the norm. Putting on a good face, covering up the problem and not talking about it are also the norm.
Trying to have “normal” family celebrations is a challenge.
A friend of mine, a physician in addiction medicine, told me this story about a patient of his. It is about a man, a father, a husband who had a serious drinking problem. Vacations, birthdays and holidays had been ruined over and over again because he always got drunk. His family was sick and tired of it. He refused to stop drinking, refused to get help and carried on in spite of their pleas.
Since the father never really participated in celebrations the family decided to exclude him and carried on without him.
One Christmas day, a neighbour noticed that the blinds in one of the bedroom windows were flickering open and then would close, then open and close and it repeated over and over. The neighbour got concerned and walked across the street and knocked on the door. The family was having a great time and was just about to sit down to a lovely Christmas dinner. The neighbour reported his concern and asked if he could check the bedroom. The family had no objections.
When the neighbour opened the door he was astonished. There on the floor was his friend, the father of the household, gagged, trussed up and lying on the floor near the window. Between his tied up hands was the cord for the blinds.
The neighbour went back out to the dining room and asked the family what was going on. They very casually reported that on special occasions they would wait until dad was drunk, then tie him up and put him in the bedroom to sleep it off. This ensured that dear old dad was quiet and safe and also guarantee that the family could enjoy the festivities in peace; without any trouble. It worked well every time they said. The neighbour was dumbfounded.
When he returned home, he called the police who came and rescued dad.
If your Christmas was another nightmare this year, why not try something new in 2014. If you are a family member call Bellwood and find out about the education and counseling services we have for adults and kids living with someone with an alcohol or drug problem or any other kind of dependency problem.
If you identify with the dad in this story, call Bellwood. Ask about our treatment and rehab programs. You have nothing to lose by making a call and coming in for a chat.
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