Monday, 3 May 2010

A Tale for Kay

It seems that yesterdays post struck one or two chords. There were so many comments that moved me to think deeply. Having read the story that Kay related I feel that today I have to share a similar tale. I cannot tell you the name of the person so I will just say that he was a very close relative.

He was married and had a family, and yet he was abusing alcohol to such an extent he was spending everything he had in its pursuit. Every thought he had was related to this pursuit. If you asked him what time it was he would tell you it was so many minutes from closing time, or how much money he had, he would answer by saying how many drinks he could afford.

On the 23rd of December one year, I got a phone call from his wife telling me he had taken all her jewellery. She wanted me to go and find him and bring him home. I had done this in the past. After much thought, I decided this time I was going to the police. I told them what had happened and was able to direct them to the pawn shop where he would have sold the jewellery, and also where he would be spending the money.

He was arrested and charged with theft and held in custody. That night I was on a date with the girl who was to later become my wife. We went to the cinema, I cannot remember a thing about it, and all I could think about was that this person was to spend Christmas in prison till the courts opened on Boxing Day.

For years after that this person never ever spoke to me, but it was a life changing event in his life. He has never drunk alcohol again and is very involved in AA. Once when I was a guest speaker at an AGM of the organisation I heard him stand up and say to the assembled people that I was the person who had turned his life around. Do we speak today? Not very often. There was a time I questioned and questioned this but no more.

There is a story of the Zen master who was attending a social event. There was a psychiatrist also present, who decided to ask him a question that had been on his mind.

"Exactly how do you help people?" he inquired.

"I get them to where they can't ask any more questions," the Master answered.

There are times in life we have to just accept that we acted in what we believed to be the best we could and not question ourselves to death thereafter.

This is the way of the Tao.

This blog is linked to my other where I discuss the artwork used here:- Rain Along the Coastal Path


  1. There isn't a day when I don't question a decision I made five years ago.
    My son is an alcoholic and at age 38 I evicted him and have not had contact since; he does not know where I live. I rue the decision however when his addiction necessitated in me fleeing in the dead of night to escape his physical abuse I knew I must make the decision.
    Yes there are tough ones; I hope never another as tough as this one. Daily I learn to accept.

  2. I wish I wish I wish a little jail time had been what my brothers needed to turn away from the booze. I am the only sibling of 5 who does not have a drinking problem, only having one or two on occasion. Two of my siblings (2 of 3 brothers) have had jail time from DUI's, hit and runs, etc. It has never made a difference. All of my siblings have children. That hasn't made a difference to them either. My mother's tears, my impassioned letters, nothing helps them. I wish there was someone like you who would and could step in. It is a heartwrenching life for family who cares.

  3. Good morning Ralph, I am alive and it will be a great day! I quit drinking 20 years ago! There are a lot of success stories out there. Alcohalism is a desease and there is no cure! The progression of it can be stopped by quitting feeding it, but we remain alcoholics! It is not all bad, a lot of famous and good people were/are
    in the group. It is a horrible addiction, not unlike a lot of others! On a different note, my Blog on my Cancer is connected to the ArtWanted site, I don't blog on this site anymore!

  4. There is an old saying that goes something like "you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family". I thought this very appropriate for the last few entries you've made.

  5. Thanks Ralph..I am humbled that you wrote this to me..and of course many other friends too! It saddens me to hear of so many people in such pain over family members who have such a problem. I too have a brother I haven't seen in 24 years. He sometimes contacts us but rarely, he is an alcoholic. I think it has been very painful for my Mother, especially since his son he abandoned years ago has the same problem. Such sadness but always hope. Sometimes it takes someone or something other than family to help them. All we can do is pray and hope and be vigilant. Be well everyone and keep hoping.

  6. Sometimes it is almost impossible to know how much to help somebody else - especially if they refuse to help themselves. I can't imagine the painful aftermath of what Ruby had to go through. Tough Love is sometimes the best way. It looks as if going to the police was the right decision you made, Ralph. Enjoy your day. xx

  7. Amazing painting and an amazing tale. I have joined your blog, not yet decided which was better.