As Dexter was trained to the code on how to not get caught, I was also trained by a similar code. My father was a pro at keeping his drinking problems under control. He never missed work. Never missed any special engagement. Visited his aunt every single Wednesday, played the organ for the church and volunteered to take care of an elderly woman who had no family.
He always kept count of what he drank, rarely going over 4 cocktails.
In a social setting.
In private, he allowed himself any number that gave him absolute oblivion. He’d numbly sit in front of the television with a glass of Scotch and a beer chaser. The TV was turned on only so he could appear engaged and engrossed. But it could have been turned off and unplugged for he wasn’t listening or watching anything.
He was a good father. A great friend. And the best mentor. And he taught me well. I ever so rarely take in more than 4 drinks – that anybody can witness to. In a party situation I’m the responsible one. When my friends are all losing their minds wanting to jump off buildings and see how long fuel will burn in a field – I’m the one holding the extinguisher and looking for ladders. Always on stand-by ready for any emergencies.
Nobody could really point a finger in my face and tell ME I have a drinking problem. Thing is, I am also my mother’s daughter. My mother taught me to count drinks others are having and keep tabs to use as future weapons. The day after I can always relay exactly how many toddies I had as opposed to how many the Captain had. And although it’s not a competition, he always wins the count.
Yes. I have a problem. I control my drinking just enough to not be pointed out, but have my mother’s alcoholic accounting skills to know… And I know. I always know.
Knowing there is a problem makes it half solved. Right? Wrong. Knowing a mountain lies ahead doesn’t mean I’m halfway over it. The mountain is still there waiting and will keep waiting until I take my first step towards it.
p.s. He quit drinking when I was 18. ‘Til the day he died, he gave me credit for it – saying it was because I tried to find him hobbies, something to make his life more interesting.