Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tales from my table: Mum what's an alcoholic

Lots of conversations happen around my table between myself and my two teens. A lot of them I have to put my mother hat away, and put on my "I'm just having a conversation with two teenagers" hat. The difference is I have to emotionally detach from being their mother.

Recently one such conversation involved a discussion around alcohol and alcoholism. Laura declared that she thought her father was an alcoholic. I was surprised, as when he and I were together that's not a label I would have given him. I asked her why she thought that. "Because when he gets home from work he will have a couple of cans of JD, or bottles of beer."

When my teens father and I were together, he was more in the habit of binge drinking. You know, go out, get smashed, not drink until the next time. We met when I was 19, so it was clubbing, socialising, dancing, and general misbehaving. By the time we had Laura and Nathan, he would have the occasional beer after work.

Later Nathan asked me, "Mum, what is an alcoholic? Because I don't agree with Laura. I don't think Dad is!" I told him to look it up. I felt a written explanation would give him better information then I, and also information that was less emotive on my part.

So he did.


noun \ˈal-kə-ˌh-ˌli-zəm, -kə-hə-\
: continued excessive or compulsive use of alcoholic drinks
a : poisoning by alcohol
b : a chronic disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction
I asked him if after reading that whether he thought his father was an alcoholic or not. Nathan decided that he wasn't. And I agreed.
I looked at him and asked, "Do you know anyone who is like that?"
He looked at me, our eyes connected in collective recognition, "Yes."
My reply. "Yes. Yes he is."


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