Wasted Times

Cameron Dudzinski

Cameron Dudzinski

Cameron Dudzinski, Staff Writer

Growing up, alcohol surrounded my life. As a child, I thought nothing of it. My mother would drink a glass of wine, and my father would drink several cans of beer. To a child, it looked normal for parents to behave this way. The television programs I watched showed adults drinking and led me to think of it as normal. However, the cartoons did not show how alcohol abuse affected people and could potentially ruin a family.

To this day, I get scared and nervous around alcohol and drinkers, and refuse any small amount offered to me. My family became broken because of the substance and the mental scars have not gone away.

I grew up with just my parents. The rest of my family lived in Michigan. I had no friends. My four sisters never came around. My parents were the only constant in my life. My father worked for the Navy at Lake Worth leaving me alone with my mother.

As I grew up, I noticed my father loved to drink. I always thought of sailors and navy men as big, strong men who drank a lot. My dad fit this mold perfectly. When I found him drunk, I noticed he turned into a different person. He became delusional, aggressive, blared loud music and lost sense of his surroundings.

Whenever I took out the trash and recycling, I noticed a massive amount of beer cans piled into the recycling bin. The remaining substance in the cans would spill out and get all over my hands and the recycling bin. The smell and texture felt horrid and made me uncomfortable. Those moments helped me realize my father’s addiction.

Yelling and arguing went on at night. My parents fought over things I could not hear. I would not hide though. I simply kept my door ajar and listened to the angry noises. I could not hear the words, but I knew some arguments were fueled by my father’s drinking.

I did not say anything to my mother until I got upset about my father grabbing my arms too hard. When he got drunk, he would act out in physical ways and unintentionally hurt me.

My mother and I talked in the master bedroom about how we felt. Without knowing the consequences or meaning, I recommended we move out and find somewhere else to live.

We moved into a small house in Crowley and lived there for almost two years. The new house made me feel happy, peaceful and lonely. Even with the new house, I knew this would not change anything.

Before the divorce, my father began dating another woman, and his girlfriend did not want to date a married man. My father then planned to finalize the divorce so that he could date without repercussion. I had no clue at the time my parents talked about getting a divorce, so when I saw the papers and heard the discussion at my 12th birthday dinner I became somewhat depressed. My mother cried a lot. It upset her much more than me, and I only cared about her feelings and getting through the dinner.

After the divorce, things slowly became better for me and my mother at our new house. She began to date again thanks to a close friend at work. We did more things together, and my mom and I grew closer because of it.

When I visited my father’s house he continued drinking. I would lock myself in the upstairs office room and listen to music or play a video game. When he went to bed I would finally go downstairs to eat.

I have nothing against my father, and I love him dearly. I would have grown up entirely different without his guidance and nurturing, but I wish I did not have to go through the alcohol abuse, arguing and divorce.

To this day, the mention of alcohol upsets my stomach and makes me uncomfortable in most contexts. Numerous times family members tell me my father’s side of the family contains a gene that gives a strong addiction to alcohol, making me too scared to drink.

My father continues to drink, but not enough to get drunk. I am not in the same state of fear as when I was younger. However, it does bother me every time my father says he will quit and then never does. I have a hard time believing he will ever quit, and I feel even he knows that drinking will only further harm his mental and physical health.