He Said… She Said

You’ve heard it said that there are at least two versions of every story? Well, in an addict’s family, there may be more. But, there are at least two: his and his spouse.

He says his drinking doesn’t really affect anyone. After all, he goes out with the guys and has a few then comes home. He works hard every day. He deserves a break. The kids have food and clothes that he provides for them. And the one ballgame he missed wasn’t a playoff game; it’s T-ball after all. He’s a good man, providing a paycheck, playing catch with the kids. He even keeps the lawn mowed better than his neighbors! He takes the wife out to the movies every once a while. What more could she want?

She says the drinking affects the entire family. Sure, going out with the guys and having a drink is fine. He does work hard. But, why does he have to come home in a bad mood and yell at everyone? He yells at her because “the dinner’s cold” (and wasn’t what he wanted). They’ve had some form of hamburger 3 times this week. Why? Because he withdrew money to go to the bar and hamburger was on sale; it’s what she could afford. He yells at the kids to “pick up their toys and keep the noise down”. They scurry off to their rooms to play “out of the way”. They don’t even show their dad the picture they drew at school because he’ll ask why they didn’t color in the lines.

The kids become teenagers. They stay in their rooms texting friends. The wife stays in the kitchen cleaning. He sits on the couch watching TV. No one comes over to visit. After years of staying out of dad’s way there isn’t a deep bond. There is pain. The kids can’t wait to “grow up and move out” because they can’t stand their house.

Unfortunately, this scenario plays out in homes all across the country. The long-lasting effects are there. The pain, the hurt, the distance. Sometimes even a full house can feel lonely. And, it doesn’t usually stop there. Many times the effects carry on to the next generation.