Name: Olivia Sherlock
From: overland park, KS
You’re Not Just Hurting Yourself
The topic of addiction hits close to home for me. While no one in my family has been diagnosed with an addiction, nor has anyone gone to AA, Alcoholics Anonymous, some would say it’s fair to call my father an addict. My father falls under many traits that describe a high functioning alcoholic. In a 2009 Physically Today article written by Sarah A. Benton, entitled “Characteristics of a High-Functioning Alcoholic” Benton lists 16 common traits of people suffering from substance abuse problems and all 16 traits are shown in my father. I am not a professional, nor at all qualified to diagnose someone with alcoholism or addition of any sort, but I am able to tell the story of how my father’s choices with substance abuse have affected my life. I was born in 2003 in Overland Park Kansas, and I am the oldest child of 3. My mother and father were married for 12 and a half years before eventually separating in 2013. Though I didn’t see it then my father’s struggle with mental health and addiction was what ultimately ending their marriage. I’ll never forget the day when the two got into the first fight I had ever seen which ended in my father drunkenly throwing a remote at my mother’s head and screaming at his children for crying. My parents kept their separation very private and handled everything as best they could with my siblings and me I. as I got older my father’s problem is drinking, which happened to lead to problems with rage, became more and more apparent. It never occurs to a 10-year-old girl that coming home from work at two in the morning reeking of vodka, barely being able to walk up the stairs was abnormal. On Christmas Eve most children are worried about getting home before Santa arrives with gifts, but as a child, I was always considered why my dad chose to “nap” on the floor and made my uncles carry him to the couch. In the last year, my parents were together my mom had to get two jobs to support our family after my dad got fired from his job. The worst year was probably after my dad moved out of our house and got his second DUI, and had to spend a week in jail because he didn’t have the money to pay bail. That week he told us he had a work trip and just wouldn’t be able to see us. it only hit me a few years later that unemployed 50-year-old men don’t go on work trips. That year he also threw things, backed my siblings and me into corners, broke things, forgot about important events (including birthdays), and even called my sister and me demeaning names that will probably stick with us forever. There would be months my father and I wouldn’t talk after fights we would get in. Two years ago some people from my family, including my aunt who is a doctor and has dealt with many people struggling with addiction, had an intervention with him. To this day my little sister and brother still think it was just a family reunion. If it wasn’t for the help of loved ones and the research that has been found in the past few years, my father wouldn’t have been able to see how his behavior was affecting the people he loved. I now urge anyone with a loved one struggling with addiction, to research how to get them the help they need and guild them to a healthier path in life.