Some years back, a tipsy man down the road transitioned his wife to glory. The neighbors reported that the pounding, yelling, and screaming were almost ‘normal’ routine. Love for husband and children were the justification the now late wife gave for staying put in that toxic situation. ‘She makes me feel less of a man because I lost my job‘, was the man’s excuse. He was hardly sober; it was just impossible for anyone to validate his claim.
He was a railway worker who got retrenched. He was top on the list because he was hardly sober at work. Colleagues, occasionally, accosted him for using vodka instead of perfume. So, when his name was scrapped off the pay roll, he found abundant succor in the bitter taste of his new found liquid friends in bottles. The excess time he had made him a voracious pain. His compulsive drinking habit was further amplified. To service his insatiable thirst, his fingers became extra light; his wife’s savings were not spared. Sooner than expected, he became a public spectacle in the neighborhood; he was tagged the famous ‘tipsy man’. She was used to picking him from beer parlours, gutters, and all sort of places in a sorry state. Oh! She loved him, notwithstanding.
On the day this woman paid the ultimate price, he came back ‘tipsy’ as usual. Just in time to kick start the ‘routine’. This time it was different. The light yet strategic punches were hard on her tired body. Obviously, the day’s job left its finger prints on her body. She didn’t have any significant or even insignificant strength left in her to fight him, to defend herself or even yell out loud. Her voice just wasn’t loud enough to wake the sleeping neighbors. Well, maybe she was just a living corpse walking around. Maybe, the toxicity of her ‘love life’ had choked every glimpse of hope left in her. Maybe, peace left her home long ago. Maybe, something else had feasted on her flesh until she was dead yet, alive. Just maybe, the stench of his vodka perfume had exhausted her soul. So I guess, the ripple effects and influence of the bottles in form of punches were the perfect nails on the casket. He must have felt an egoistic gratification for finally subjecting her and his problems to submission. But she was just quiet, cold, and dead. She died whispering ‘please’, hoping that his drunk conscience would open up, just one more time. But no, he was far gone to be sober.
The children watched as he crushed their mother’s soul. The pounding of course triggered their tears. They naively begged and begged but according to him, ‘ temper don hot and eye don red.’ They helplessly watched her beg for her life yet the ‘love’ of her life denied her the right to live because he was far gone to be sober.
How do we now explain to his daughter that there are still some sober and self controlled men out there. How do we explain to her that her mother wasn’t to blame? How do we tell this young girl that the alcohol was to blame? How do we tell his sons that true strength is not found in their fists or in the bottle of alcohol? How do we tell them that he was always out of control and couldn’t even help himself? How do we tell them that lack is not a license for irresponsibly and recklessness? What exactly do we tell these kids? The man, whose addiction to bottles opened the prison gates for, left a bitter taste in their mouths. Unless God shows them mercy, this bitter taste would continue to slip into their souls until they are inwardly filled with darkness.
Just before you make an excuse for that negative addiction, think again. It might cost someone’s life. Just before you bury your conscience in those bottles (at the expense of your relationships) think again. Just before you take that deadly path where you would no longer have control over your actions, think again.
True strength is not in the overwhelming influence of any substance. True strength is in your ability to stay put and be pragmatic even when the chips are down. True strength is not in remaining silent in addiction. True strength is in speaking up and seeking help. True strength is in effectively communicating our problems.
Just before you spill that bitter taste you have got in your mouth into mine or ours, THINK AGAIN.
Addiction always leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Say no to addiction!
Peace Habila wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org