Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Living with an alcoholic father figure in the home as remembered by Doc's step-daughter

Yesterday was a rather upsetting day for me as Doc and I interacted with Christine, his step daughter, who he says is the one child he attempted to help raise the longest in a marriage to her mother. Doc was taking his 'tough' stand with them, or attempting to so I said that I was going to ask Christine a question that he might not like. I asked her how much he drank since Doc had been very evasive with me about that. I would speculate that his alcoholism must have had its roots in his life for a long time for it to have such a grip on him. Christine confirmed this suspicion by answering that when Doc was living with her mother he drank a fifth of vodka a day! Boy, I did not quite expect that answer. I said well, did he work? She said that he would get a job and quit it after a few days. I know his father died during the time he was married to her mother, so he would not have had to work while his inheritance lasted. He has said that is when he painted so many of his big canvases which he consequently abandoned in a storage place.
I then discussed my perception of Doc as being a very smart guy that I finally decided to work with despite his alcoholism, that he was like my dad who eventually all but quit and made a lot of money. But I said I could not let Doc interact with my family because he was too insulting and said inappropriate things. Then Christine burst out that they as children could not have kids over because Doc insulted them. He said this was kids he was insulting! I could still hear the resentment and anger in her voice over him doing this. I knew then that Doc's alcoholism had been tough for her to endure, something that Doc is still not willing to admit.
I am going down to Doc's this morning who wanted me to put some of this illuminating video discussion up on his channel. I think it would be valuable if he did, if he put the part where Christine expresses what she really felt about his drinking. I knew. I could relate because this is how I felt about my dad's drinking in our home as we sisters were growing up. I acknowledged that Doc sometimes has great clarity and insight into people just because he is smart, but his arrogance and unwillingness to admit to this day the cost of alcoholism in a home with children in it is still insufferable at times.
I reasoned, however, as a child, that God allowed children to be born to alcoholics because he knew that sometimes a child was the only one who could reach them. Most adults, even family members, lose all patience with alcoholic relatives and stop interacting with them, but if they have children this is also abandoning their children, leaving the whole family to struggle more or less alone. I experienced this abandonment by my Dad's sisters and even somewhat by his dad and mother who did not drink. Most of the community also shunned the family with the errant drinker.
But I knew we sisters had to struggle to reach our dad to try to sober him and keep him alive. If he died we all might go down! I knew we would have a very hard life without his know how and ability to make money.
I asked Christine why her mother did not kick Doc out as she said she drank but not nearly as much as Doc did. She said well, it was a love-hate relationship. Christine also very frankly confessed to having a problem with alcohol which she said she drank to feel good. She thought Doc drank as a result of early hurt and pain which we both knew occurred in his first marriage with the subsequent loss of contact with his own two daughters. Doc said yesterday Christine and her sister were to become the closest thing to daughters he would ever have. Christine said she self medicated with alcohol but wished she could get feeling good without it. She admitted to being a very angry young teen when her mother was married to Doc.
In answer to my observation that despite years of drinking Doc had never had an alcoholic crisis yet that put him in the hospital, she thought that amazing too, but said that he always took lots of vitamins and did eat once in a while, and always looked muscular and healthy. I said that nobody could escape the ravages of alcohol abuse forever.
I thought this girl had analyzed Doc's personality extremely well. I knew she could not help but feel disappointed to find him still drinking, but what she might not have expected was the element of truth emerging in our discussion, an invitation to say what she really thought about Doc during the years he was married to her mother, which Doc allowed to be interjected into the meeting.
I think he was pretty unstrung however, too. He called later on and demanded I return to discuss it all, right then, but I wouldn't do it. I said I will come back in the morning. This is what Doc does I can't stand. He drinks too much and then gets upset and wants his hand to be held and comforted, yet he is the man doing the drinking. I said, Doc, you always have to drink. I cannot be there to comfort you for the fallout connected to that. I am tired. I need to rest, and remember I am withdrawing from you. And I will continue to do so.
I agreed to be a part of this meeting for Christine as much as for anybody, for the girl who grew up with an alcoholic step father just as I did with my real father. I know that can be rough. But she is a strong survivor despite her scars.
She said she has now watched many of the videos Doc and I made. Christine was lively, personable and touching. But the upset she talked about experiencing with Doc's drinking made me want to cry. She also said that her cousin Shirley is the only family she has left. I take it she is not in close contact with any of her three sisters or her mother.
She got to me and maybe she got to Doc a little, too. I don't know. But this morning when I try to edit this video I will find out what he got out of this disturbing yet enjoyable visit with a major character out of his past.

1 comment:

salemslot9 said...

I watched the
video and left
a comment...


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