Archive for April, 2014

Why Daddy Drank

I may not know all the reasons my father drank, but I may have one explanation.

Laughing Brewmaster

My mother can be a nag. With her worsening memory, her gentle reminders sometimes bring to mind a Komodo Dragon eating a Water Buffalo.

Gnaw, gnaw, gnaw.

truck of beer

She especially likes to recall how much Daddy drank. This leads into the financial impact of his functional alcoholism on the family.

Bar men

He always denied being an alcoholic.

“Alcoholics go to meetings. I don’t.”

I don’t remember seeing my father drunk. He had beer with the other men at picnics and I knew about his whiskey bottles under the driver’s seat. I just didn’t see how is drinking affected the family.

holding a drink

Occasionally, Momma will say, “I think he was in a lot of pain. Maybe that’s why he drank so much.”


Daddy was in his late thirties when he suffered his first serious heart attack and he endured multiple cardiac arrests before his final, fatal one in his early sixties. He didn’t drink much after doctors discovered his brain tumor. His heart simply stopped almost two years later.

food and beer

I think Momma may be dealing with remorse for her behavior toward Daddy’s drinking.

Drinking time

She sounds sad when she says, “I will never forget the day I walked into his hospital room and the nurses had given him a six-pack of beer. He’d gone into DTs because he hadn’t had drink in a long time.”


Momma usually stops talking about his drinking for a while, after this memory.

I’ve never seen anyone with Delirium Tremors from alcohol withdrawal, but I can only imagine its horror based on the pain I once endured when I tried to quit caffeine overnight.

Mug of beer

My youngest brother, David was the only one of eight children living at home who had to put his life on hold for Daddy. During his senior year of high school, he helped drive Daddy to doctors’ appointments and chemotherapy treatments. At seventeen, he was far too young to be a caregiver, but he cared for our father, and consequently, our mother. Still, as soon as he could, he joined the Navy and moved away.


I can’t move away. I’m committed to providing for my mother until she moves beyond this life. I can’t drink too much or too often, at least, but on days Momma gets stuck on an unpleasant memory, I can certainly understand why Daddy did.Tall cool one


Follow Us