Thursday, February 17, 2011


When my father was arrested for public drunkenness, I was the one who went to the jail to bail him out and took him home. When he stood in our front yard and peed in front of our neighbors, I was the one who stood by his side in embarrassment. When he passed out, I undressed him and put him to bed. When he got sick and vomited on himself and the kitchen floor, I cleaned up the mess. I endured his cursing and violent rages. I took his verbal and physical beatings in silence. I cooked food and tried to get him to eat rather than drink. Everyone else in the family ran away; I was the only one who stayed and endured his abuse; his addiction.

I killed my father; not with a gun; not with a knife. I killed my father with love. If I had not made it easy for him to be a drunk; if I had let him wake up covered with his own vomit on the kitchen floor, maybe he would have realized he was destroying himself. Maybe he would have stopped his drinking. I made it easy for him to be a drunk. I enabled his addiction and hurried him to an early grave.

I look around Dumaguete City and see the same tragedy being played out on our city streets almost nightly. From the drunken foreigners on the boulevard; to the drunken Filipinos on the corner drinking tuba, potentially beautiful people are committing suicide and calling it fun.

My brother-in-law had a horrible motorcycle accident that almost killed him. I thank God for that motorcycle accident because it saved his life. My brother-in-law is a fine man, and intelligent man, but he used to drink every night. One night he and his best friend crawled on his motorcycle a sped off into the darkness. When he woke up he was in a local hospital. His gonads were the size of basketballs and he was in horrific pain. But the real pain came when he found out he had killed his best friend. My brother-in-law does not drink anymore and I admire him for that.

When I go to parties here in Dumaguete I am always asked to have a drink. When I try to explain that I do not drink alcohol; they look at me as if I were a visitor from another planet; something less than a man. Trust me it takes more of a man to refuse a drink than it does to accept it. My father died at 53. My brother died at 47. I am older than dirt and I think two of the reasons I am still here; I do not drink or smoke.

If you love someone and they are destroying themselves with booze let them feel the full weight of their addiction. Let them stay in jail until they are sober. Let them sleep on the floor covered in their own vomit. Love them enough to let them suffer. Maybe they will clean up their own life like my hero, my brother-in-law.

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