Guest Post: Kohl Tells Her Story

This is a story from a family member…

I found my father in the garage lying in a pool of blood and urine. He must have been there for hours…alone and helpless. He was wrapped up in an old rug and shaking. He was somewhat conscious and as I tried to soothe him while we waited for the paramedics to arrive, I could smell the stench of alcohol seeping out of his pores.

I have read that alcoholism is a progressive disease which left untreated will be ultimately be fatal. And this is what it came down to for my father…his last day at home was spent completely drunk while bleeding out of his ears from the severe brain trauma he incurred when fell on the concrete floor.

It took me many weeks after my father passed away to realize why he was by himself in the garage in the first place. In the midst of cleaning up and organizing, I found his stash of the cheapest eight-ounce wine bottles in a bin. There were empty ones next to a dozen or so unopened bottles. It was such a strange feeling to realize that even after over 40 years of active alcoholism, my father was basically a wino who lived in a nice house in an upper middle-class neighborhood. Everyone knew when he was drinking and he had been in and out of rehabs throughout his life as well as being a member of AA, but he still felt he had to hide his alcohol and his shame and fear. And sadly, so did I.

This is the true face and nature of alcoholism. It is a serious killer that begins by breeding shame, fear, resentment, doubt, distrust, low self-esteem and worth in every single member of the family and sometimes, even close friends who love and care for the alcoholic. Then it becomes a chemical catch-22 within the drinker’s body; they use it to escape the emotions it helped to create but it only adds more of the negative to their psyche while also slowly annihilating each of their organs, especially the brain and the liver.

For my father, alcohol replaced family, friends, self-respect and any sense of hope or belonging. For us, his family, alcohol was my father’s constant shadow companion, always there casting its darkness on every single event or positive feeling that my father had about us, his life or himself.

Even after months of being gone, I can feel that shadow’s presence.

-Kohl King

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