A no vote on alcohol

April 23, 2014

Dear Editor:

The upcoming election for the beer and wine referendum is a slap in the face for families of alcoholics. I wonder how many of our commissioners or ABC Board members, etc. know the heartache that alcohol brings to the alcoholic’s family.

Let me fill you in.

My daddy was one of the most wonderful men in the world to me and to my family, but when he went fishing or just riding around looking at the crops with someone who drank, my daddy would come back tipsy. To some this would just pass over and they would be fine the next day. Not my daddy. He was an alcoholic and could not say no after he took that first taste of beer, wine or liquor. His addiction would take him farther than he really wanted to go. It could be 2-3 months in some cases before he could gain enough strength to say no to his inner self that was wanting just one more can of beer or one more drink of liquor. This cycle of alcohol dependency continued for all my childhood years.

There were times that my sister and brothers, and myself would be getting off the school bus and daddy was lying on the porch — dog drunk. The children on the bus would start laughing and poking fun. Oh, what a scar this left on our self esteem.

There were nights when my family could not sleep because daddy wanted to go get more beer from one of the many bootleggers scattered from Roseboro to Clinton. I can still hear mama begging him to just go to bed and to think about the money he was throwing away. Things on the farm needed tending or there would tobacco in the pack house that needed grading, and mama would remind him that Christmas was just around the corner. A person drinking is not very level headed, they only want to do the talking and will not listen to anyone else . They become very defensive and angry. So there would be arguing, hitting, fussing, words said that could never be taken back. Mama and the children would tend the crops or grade the tobacco. Christmas would come, and Santa brought only what mama could eke out of a very meager amount of money. My one present I would wish for every year would be that daddy would not be drinking. We had a few, but very few.

You may say what has this to do with the referendum. A lot. By putting any form of alcohol where it is convenient for the alcoholic, nonalcoholic, or teenager to see and have the temptation to buy, you are aiding them in taking that first drink or the next drink. I firmly believe our commissioners, convenience store owners, grocery store owners or anyone else who is trying to make money from alcohol should be required to attend the alcoholic meetings or treatment centers where those who are hurting and trying to quit tell it like it is for them and their families. Then maybe, just maybe, less people would be interested in making money from any form of alcohol and would be ashamed to have it in their store.

Alcohol is a demon that destroys the person, and in so many cases it also destroys the families who suffer with them. That first drink leads to the second and then it has you under its control.

Even as young as 8-12 years old I remember my daddy lying in bed trying to dry out and he would be crying and begging “ God please help me.” I would kneel beside his bed and talk to him and pray for God to please help him as I cried with my daddy. The demon had him and would not let him go.

The doctor’s kept telling my daddy to stop the alcohol. It would kill him if he didn’t. His heart could not continue to take the abuse. He did quit at age 63. For the first time in his life he was able to save enough money to buy a few acres of land and a house. At 66 years of age he had a massive heart attack and died in the emergency room. Dr. Rouse at Sampson Regional ER brought him back. But his quality of life was gone. No energy. He could not drive anymore. He could only walk 10 to 20 feet without getting exhausted. Then at 69 he hada stroke that took the rest of his strength and energy. Bedridden for the last two years of his life, he died at age 72.

By voting “NO” on May 6 to the county-wide beer and wine referendum you will be keeping the beer and wine further away from the alcoholic. We do not need it on every corner, or in every store. It is already a shame that Christians cannot go into just one grocery store or nice place to eat in Clinton or Roseboro and not see beer, wine, and liquor staring at you. Why do they do it? I will let the readers answer that question. I know it makes God just want to throw up. It does me.

Thank you for allowing me to share the hurt from my childhood in hopes that it will make a difference when many of the people of our county cast their vote on May 6. Please vote no, you could be saving yourself from some future heartaches.

Margaret Norton