Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why teetotalers talk more

I have had to think about talking patterns my whole life because I committed myself to sobriety when very young because of all the dangerous drinking in my dad's family. My mother who came from a family that did not drink whatsoever was a big talker. My dad, on the other hand, would go deadly silent when he sobered up. You could not get a word out of him which got quite boring on long cattle drives. My theory was that he developed a common pattern among drinkers who start when they are very young. He may have felt shy and thought that alcohol gave him courage. I remember a sheep herder drinking buddy of his saying that my dad came to visit him at the sheepherd and talked all day. I was astounded. I had never heard my dad talk like that, I didn't know he could! And he was a very smart guy but a painfully silent one. I used to beg him to tell some of his funny stories to my friends when they came to visit which he did for quite a while before he refused to do that anymore. I know these were the stories that so highly entertained his drinking buddies.
I am sure I am attracted to alcoholics because of their chatty talking patterns when they are drinking. But I have found that most of them are convinced they cannot talk when they are sober. Then their forceful silences have a bad effect on the women close to them who are often called chatterboxes etc. when they talk, especially by an irritable guy coming off a bad drunk. To me talking is a sign of thinking and if alcohol were never used to overcome inhibitions, people would become a lot more talkative and therefore better thinkers. They would find out that they could overcome their shyness and lack of confidence naturally. As it is, I believe alcohol has played a part in creating too many non communicative people who are not connecting to each other in normal ways. Silent men are too often admired because they don't expose themselves. But silence in a person after a while is boring.
I have found that some people just naturally limit their talking. They start to feel uneasy after they have opened up, and they don't ask themselves why. They just vow not to talk next time.
But talking is the means of exchanging ideas, loosening up, looking at problems in a different way with other people. I would say that every alcoholic who sobers up has to try to talk more, because if he does not he will start to feel needy, and getting drunk and uninhibited will seem like the only way he can get what he needs.
This is how you get people like Doc who are always drunk. I had a BF years back I never saw sober. Finally one time when I went to Utah I told him I would not talk to him unless he was sober. He surprisingly complied and I found I was dealing with a guy I hardly knew. All his flash was gone. He had never found it sober, so I am sure the whole time he was thinking I am not having a bit of fun. He was convinced sober people could not have fun, even though I would point out time and again that I was sober and I was having a great time. This guy died a alcohol related death. His brother, on the other hand, sobered up, found a personality he enjoyed being and is still going strong. My BF never gave his brain a chance to dry out and start functioning better as a result of sobriety. He wasn't my BF long, however, as per usual alcohol muddled his thinking to the point that he was worthless as a companion, unfaithful and deceptive.
I feel great joy when an alcoholic I like sobers up as I know if he can just hang in there past a state of irritation and repression, he will enjoy life so much more. I think this is why many alcoholics cannot stay sober without help like AA because these guys give them emotional support until they find out how much better they can think with a dried out brain.
I have told Doc he would be superman if he believed in sobriety, with his intellect, but he has convinced himself he would rather not go through the pain.
I have felt bad because my oldest son Gary has always been quite a bad drinker. This was a tragedy to his brother Raymond who committed himself to trying to stay sober when he was 20 years old. He knew he was a disaster when he drank. Gary has always made it to work, so he would mostly confine his heavier drinking to weekends, but he could never be convinced what this cost him in his relationships. He could never be consistent in his caring and communication and still tend to his drinking. He used to make a bar his weekend home. That is where we knew where to find him. So with his drinking pattern developing when he was so young, there has never been a more silent son. This son is very smart, he has been a supervisor for a long time, and he now bids the jobs, but his drinking never allowed him the luxury of being smart in his relationships. He simply let them go. He did not have them. Like Doc, he convinced himself they were not important.
Since his heart attack he has had to quit smoking. He now only chews if he feels the need which his doctor said was better for his heart. He said he is not drinking much either. I know I cannot expect him to quit every vice he has got all at once. But he is 56 now, and I have feared either I would go to my death or now he to his without us ever having a normal relationship. We do have a relationship, but it is a very limited drinker's relationship. In the hours that he could associate and get closer to family, he has loaded his brain with alcohol and could not do it. So his marriage suffered, his children, his brother, and his mom. His first wife divorced him years ago over his drinking, took the kids, and moved miles away. He terrorized his second wife once who was also a drug addict, which basically ended their marriage. Not often but on occasion, if he was opposed or pushed, he could be violent, as most drinkers are if pushed while drinking heavily. Alcohol can cause a person who is basically a peaceful easy going guy like Gary to be violent.
Raymond has tried many times to get Gary to commit completely to sobriety, but did not succeed in convincing him to do it.
Functioning alcoholics like Gary do not know what they are missing, what they have missed, for surely relationships can be as productive and add as much to your life as what you buy with money. Impaired thinking is what causes people not to value relationships. They reject the idea that you have to work on them, cultivate them as you would your garden, water them regularly, and only then will they reward you with the fruits of your labors.
I felt Gary was around too many alcoholics when he was young like his Granddad and Dad, as was Raymond, too. So with my two younger children, Ronda and Dan, I tried never to allow any alcoholics regular access to our home. I did not want them to be around drinkers. This some way paid off because my youngest son Dan did not drink, smoke, or experiment in drugs at all in high school. He left a bottle of champagne he got for graduation in my fridge for a year. I think back of him in high school as being nothing but a joy as was my daughter, Ronda, who never experiemented with anything either. Whereas with my two older boys I was always sick with worry for fear they were going to kill themselves. This went on when they were grown and drank, too, as Gary did regularly. Raymond would fall off the wagon on occasion which was always a big concern because of the way he drank.
Raymond certainly found his voice when he quit drinking in every way. He has written many plays, songs, taught theater to many people, and sings. To his brother Gary I know Raymond seems abnormally talkative just like his mother, but if Gary would sober up he would find that he was inclined to talk a lot more too. I have no doubt he does boozy talk in bars, but he can't do that with sober people. There is so much you miss if you never learn how to talk without alcohol!

1 comment:

Amrita said...

Like your new photo


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