“When did your morals start taking a backseat?” dad asked me last night during our medication ritual. “You had such strong morals and an acute conscience as a child, teenager, and young adult. I could trust you with anything. You worked in the pharmacy with me for years around all those drugs and never took any.”
I sat for a long minute and thought hard. Nobody had ever asked me that before in such a way. This conversation culminated from my and dad’s experience yesterday with my telling him I had stolen his watch a few weeks ago – my attempt to get more beer.
“College,” was my reply. “I joined a fraternity and discovered alcohol. I remember getting a fake ID so I could buy beer. I felt so terrible I was breaking the law, but the alcohol and getting drunk was more important. I would do anything for a drink. I was a miserable person and wanted to do anything to feel better. Alcohol was my Soma.”
“But you wouldn’t steal even then,” dad said. “You always had one of my credit cards and used it responsibly when you were in college.”
“Alcoholism is a progressive disease,” was the only thing I could think of for a reply. “My morals got worse and worse the longer I drank. I needed more and more alcohol to get the same effect a six pack of beer would give me in college. It’s an expensive habit and when you made me quit drinking, I was drinking 24 beers a day.”
Dad wanted to know all about Sunday’s AA meeting and what drove me to call him and confess to stealing the watch. Dad worried deeply that by taking the alcohol and money away from me that it was the reason I had been driven to steal for my habit – that he has been part of the problem all along with the decline in my morals.
“I would have died if you didn’t step in,” I told him trying to reassure him he did the right thing by cutting my off. “I had no self control. I would have drank myself to death.”
“Well, I am a determined son of bitch most days,” he said in his defense chuckling. “I was determined I could fix you. That I could save your life and give you a good home. You would have been a homeless wino without me.”
“I’m a work in progress these days,” was all I could say of an often used AA phrase. “It is ultimately up to me, though, whether I stay away from alcohol or not. You can’t fix me as much as you want to.”
Dad thanked me for my candor and told me goodnight after we completed Maggie’s food ritual. It gave me much food for thought for the rest of the night. I lay in the bed for a long time last night thinking about morals and having a conscience and how it was so easily lost to my addiction. I don’t want to resort to stealing watches from my father just to get drunk. I want to be sober. I want so much to be a good man like him. Work in progress was my conclusion. I am just going to keep trying. When I fall, I am going to get right back up ever onwards.