Name: Kalea Lita Santoyo
From: Riverside, California
Drinking leading to Bickering and Anger
Any kind of addiction will lead to conflicts and hardships both for the individual and their loved ones. My essay will be specifically on the addiction of alcohol and my experiences and thoughts of this kind of addiction. The world is full of temptations and satisfaction, which is why I believe people turn something that is “fun” or “cool” into an addiction.
There are many people with addictions, because these items are easy to access or easy for someone else to access and give to someone. Whether that would be homes where there’s alcohol laying on the kitchen counter making it available for anyone to access, or some kid at school has drugs in their jacket and could easily give it to the kid next to them in class. Either way this will lead to the problems of addiction. Not only is this stuff accessible, but the younger the person starts doing it, the more they will be hooked. It is displayed on the news, internet, and even movies that when someone is going through a traumatizing or dark time in their life, they turn to alcohol or drugs for satisfaction.
When I was little, alcohol was not a big deal because I didn’t recognize it. It wasn’t until I got into high school that I realized this was a problem affecting my family and myself. Any time we had holidays, special events, or breaks during the school year life was never fun. It was an excuse to go out and drink for my father. It got to the extreme of happening every weekend my junior year, starting by “going out to eat as a family”. Everything would be fine, until some topic ticked him off. His whole mood would easily go from laughing and fun to angry and strict;as if I were dining with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. My dad’s behavior from alcohol made him bipolar, angry, and loud. Whenever we went home after meals he would drive crazy, because of his road rage. This made me feel unsafe about his driving and I felt very anxious. When we arrived home it wasn’t the end, he would immediately have my whole family do some type of work, mostly yard work with him. When we helped him with yard work he would get frustrated with us and yell at us, which was embarrassing facing the neighbors. He was angry and intense the rest of the day, it was hard for me to focus on homework/studying or anything I needed to get done during the weekend. I would count down the hours until it was time to go to bed, I would hope for peace and quiet.
His outburst of anger and his hurtful comments from drinking at first made me frustrated and upset at him. However, I soon came to realize that alcohol is just heightening his emotions and mood swings; that he was not entirely himself. My mother and brother had the same emotions I had about the situation. We felt very anxious around him, felt exhausted with his demands and orders. We did not enjoy it whenever he would say that we would go out to eat. I felt manipulated by the situation of going out for lunch or dinner, because I viewed it as not family time, but time for him to drink. My relationship with my father has been strained due to his alcoholic behavior and addiction, but I have expressed all my opinions and feelings to my father.
From the constant obsession of helping my dad turn away from alcohol and predicting his behavior after his drinking, I have found ways to be the reasonable one in these situations. For one I did a lot of research about how others handled their loved ones with difficult addictions. This allowed me to see his behavior does not need to be taken personally and just see this as a reaction to toxins. I have looked for support, especially with expressing my feelings about it. I told one of my best friends and prayed to God. I focused on my relationship and trust with God that there is beauty that comes out of these situations and have faith in Him. I kept my hope up as much as possible in order to keep myself sane and positive. Dance was my expressive outlet for a lot of life’s challenges, whenever I was angry or upset I put that into my dancing, which was extremely healing. I also used trial and error to know that I cannot “scold” or “accuse” him of his mistakes, because it does not solve anything. I had hope that he would not let his anger get the best of him. I want my story and advice to not focus on the bad action of the person, but I want to create awareness of mental health and the importance of taking care of yourself. Unfortunately we the family or friends of people with an addiction cannot completely change their way of living their life, but what we can do is find ways to cope with it and still live our lives and take care of ourselves and others. So if you have or know someone with any kind of addiction see the light at the end of the tunnel and don’t let their behavior make you feel inferior, we can only support them so much.