March blog

Possession

No father ever loved his son more than Tito did Daniel. Strong as that love was, it wasn’t strong enough to keep Tito from drinking himself to death, leaving Daniel an orphan at ten years of age.

Everyone agreed Tito was a wonderful man, husband, father, and worker. He drank a fair amount, exclusively beer, but seemingly no more than most of his friends. Five years ago he began drinking every day. Three years ago he was drinking around the clock.

Sonya left him and took Daniel to California, praying he would stop drinking. He did and rejoined his family. Daniel idolized his father, and it was bliss to have him back again. After two months, Tito went back to his beer.

It takes an enormous quantity of beer to destroy a liver. It helps if you neglect your diet as Tito did.

Three months ago, Tito’s eyes turned yellow. He was constantly nauseated, undoubtedly from toxins his failing liver could not eliminate. Then came the uncontrollable diarrhea, and Tito’s abdomen swelled with ascites fluid secreted by the scarred liver.

He never stopped drinking.

Sensing how sick he was, Daniel clung to him.

A week ago Tito fell and could not get up. Sonya called 911.

From his hospital bed, in a lucid moment between hours of coma, Tito drew his family close. Hugging his beloved Daniel, he wept. Go to school, he said, study hard and make something of yourself. And, don’t ever drink.

Shortly thereafter, Tito lapsed into a coma. His liver failing, the ammonia building up in his bloodstream, his kidneys failed, and he took two final gasping breaths.

Tito died two nights ago. He was thirty.

How can it be that an addiction can cause a man to disregard everything he loves and holds dear?

Because the alcohol craving takes over one of the oldest parts of the brain, the limbus or midbrain where reside our most primitive urges. Somewhere in the dark recesses of that ancient brain, there is a hierarchy of needs. Breathing, drinking, eating, sex, fighting to survive, love: they are all are arranged in an order of priority. Alcohol corrupts that hierarchy; it stages a coup and becomes number one. The single most important thing, more important than love or life itself, is taking that next drink, until it is the last.

The term “addiction” doesn’t do justice to the profound obsession alcohol causes. Addiction comes from a latin word meaning “to favor”. That hardly describes Tito’s circumstance. A better word would be possession

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