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January 25
20:09 2019
By Mike Rudon, Sr.

I was attacked by a huge tarantula this weekend in Boom. It came out of nowhere, the size of a small horse, fangs glistening – straight out of a Wes Craven movie, the spawn of a hellish nightmare. It advanced on me menacingly, as my kids screamed and cowered behind me. I swear if that had been a roach there wouldn’t have been me to cower behind because I would have been out of there in a flash, screaming all the while. But I digress. Anyway, I stood my ground. I stood strong and fought bravely, until finally, the spider from hell lay dead at my feet. But this isn’t a tale of my heroic bravery, sadly enough.

In life, there is a natural progression of things, or there should be. A father should raise his children the right way. He should be their protector, their knight in shining armor. He should tend their hurts, teach values, be the hand which holds them close and disciplines them. And more than what he teaches, a father should be a man – a real, decent, good man who is an example for his children to follow. Parenting is tough. There’s no manual. But no matter where he comes from, and no matter what he is, these things a father should do.

I want to encourage you, even beg you, to do these things and be these things to your children. I’m sitting here at my desk, head in my hands, trying to find the right words to impress upon you how important it is and how precious your children are. And yes, I’m talking to you alcoholics, and practicing-to-be alcoholics who have been captivated and enslaved by that insidious, seductive, savage beast. Because that is what I am – a slave to alcohol. So much so that it ended up destroying my family and almost destroying me.

You know what I’m left with now? Having to be alone all week, living for Fridays when I see my kids. And then trying to cram a lifetime of love and making up into the two days I have with them before they leave. I’m an emotional wreck. I miss them so much it is a physical ache which never leaves me. I try to smile so they won’t see the pain and the guilt which consumes me. Trust me, I know I’m not alone in this. I know there are others who are going through this. And I also know that there are others who will go through this if they don’t do what I never was able to do – just put it down and walk away.

This isn’t one of those sad stories. It’s not meant to be. None of what I write is meant to evoke sadness or pity. I think what I want to do is wake you up. Where I am now, is a hell of my own making. Nobody forced alcohol on me. Nobody coerced me. Nobody seduced me into that path. I did it. I made the wrong choices. Me. And if you’re out there abusing alcohol, then it’s a choice you’re making. And if you’re like me, it’s a choice you will live, or die, to regret.

I see drinking, and abuse of alcohol, everywhere I go. It seems that every time you blink there’s another bar, another brothel, another club, another social gathering. I see me in so many dark bars, on the street-sides, cup in hand, at the park, at home, everywhere. You can’t go into any club, or even any function, without seeing people drinking excessively, and people drunk. I see them. I see me. Doing stupid stuff and neglecting what’s really important. Some of you will recognize this, and some of you will think you don’t have a problem. After all, we work hard during the week. We deserve a break right? Every weekend right? Our kids will be there when we get home, right? We can always spend time with them tomorrow, or next week, or sometime.

And then, it’s all gone. The respect from others is gone. The self-respect is gone. The trust is gone. For many of us, our jobs are gone. The money is gone. The friends, for the most part, are gone. The kids are gone. The family is gone. All gone, except for the bottle which never seems to go anywhere. Was it worth it? Was that fleeting moment of fake-happiness worth it? Was the momentary illusion of alcohol-induced superhuman powers worth it? Was the stinking rum or beer or whiskey or gin or whatever the hell your poison is…worth it?

I love my children. And I thought I was a decent father. What the hell was I thinking? Listen, let me say this as plainly as I can. Put down the damned bottle. Find help if you need it. You want to talk alcohol addiction with somebody who knows – call me. Reach out to your Church group, or a friend who understands. Talk to somebody, anybody. Stay away from temptation. Find a constructive hobby. Spend every moment you have with your families. Love them. Cherish them. If somebody offers you alcohol, run and scream. Exercise. This is no joke. Trust me on that. Take my word. Don’t find out for yourself.

I’m on the road to recovery. I guess I had to lose just about everything first. I’m on the road to finding myself and getting my life back. I believe that with all my heart. Let’s do this. We can do this.

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