One More Drink Before I Go

Ted is a thirty-nine year old father and husband. He owns a small home building business and with interest rates at historic lows, Ted has been busier than ever. Ted should be sitting on top of the world, but the stress of meeting inspection deadlines and dealing with more and more potential customers has left Ted feeling the strain of his responsibilities.

At home, Ted’s wife, Jane, has become upset at the number of hours Ted spends at work. Meanwhile, his children, ranging from two to ten years of age, are asking, “Why doesn’t daddy come home to help with homework anymore?” and “Why can’t daddy take us to the park on Saturday?”

On Ted’s behalf, he feels that he’s just doing what’s right for his family. He knows that this construction boom could end at any minute and he just wants to provide for his family’s financial future while the opportunity is still there.

Over the years, Ted has had a long distance relationship with alcohol. Usually it was the occasional beer with the boys after a round of golf. Sometimes, it was a few glasses of wine with Jane after a long day at work. Lately, however, Ted has taken to having a bottle of hard liquor in the bottom left hand drawer at his office, and when the pressures of the day seems to be overwhelming, he just reaches out for his “new best friend.” When Ted finally turns off the lights to go home, the bottle that was full in the morning, is better than half empty. Often times, Ted doesn’t even remember the trip home, and when he arrives, the kids are in bed and Jane is none too pleased at his condition. Ted says for her not to worry and that he can handle “it.”

Now, with the holiday season at hand, the tensions are even worse. People want to move into their new homes before the new year and Jane is pressuring Ted to come home earlier to spend some time with his children as well as her.

Actually, Ted has two problems. The most obvious is that he has become dependent on alcohol to “get him through the day.” The alcohol has become a crutch, but sooner or later, that crutch will collapse and leave Ted lying flat on his back. The second problem is that Ted has set a wrong set of priorities. Certainly, he should be applauded for wanting to be a good provider for his family, but when the family actually suffers as a result of Ted’s wrong-headed thinking Ted’s only solace is to dive further into the bottle.

Ted needs help and he needs it yesterday. He needs to seek counseling for his abuse of alcohol because he is wrong to think that his need for it is something he can control. The few beers and the occasional wine have grown into a deadly habit of hard liquor in greater and greater quantity than ever before. Ted also needs to seek therapy in order to regain some sense of what is important in life. When the job and alcohol combine to make Ted’s home life next to non-existent, there is a crisis just waiting to happen.

Unfortunately for Ted and many more like him, this coming New Year’s celebration will be his and Jane’s last. Ted’s growing tolerance to alcohol and the big night of partying will combine for a tragedy that should never happen. Unable to reach that “good party feeling” with just a few drinks, Ted will consume far too much. With a blood-alcohol level approaching 1.5, Ted will begin the drive home with wife Jane at his side. They will never see home again, and now, it’s too late for counseling.

Don’t wait until the last minute to seek what could be lifesaving therapy for any chemical dependency. After all, tomorrow may never come.