Don’t Puck It Up: Fatherhood And Functional Alcoholism


A Note From Your Functional Alcoholic Slurpreson

My Fellow Alcoholics,

On March 19, some guy who calls himself Puck drove over an embankment with his 8-year-old son in the car. The youngster had to crawl from the wreckage, up the embankment, flag down a passing car and relay information to the motorist who’d called 911. [You can hear the call on TMZ by following this link.]

Photo Links To The TMZ Page i Stole It From

Puckface (his parents named him David Rainey, as in “Rainey Days And Reality Shows Always Get Me Down”) is known by the same kind of people who can name off the entire cast of Jersey Shore because he was the resident asshole in something MTV called The Real World: San Francisco. As if something produced by MTV could be called reality, especially in San Fran. Anyway, this Pucker ended up with broken bones in his feet, hands and neck, as well as a fractured sternum and clavicle. Doctors are reportedly still looking for his brain, which is apparently as tiny as his penis, but so far have had no success and suspect he may have been born without either.

Even worse than Puckass’ living through this shit was the fact that he brought his son down with him, literally. Bogart, Puck’s 8-year-old, had bruised internal organs and damage to his liver. Even sadder than the woman who agreed to bear the offspring of Puck is this poor child who has to admit his dad’s a total Puck up.

And speaking of liver damage, i’ll give you two guesses about the cause of the accident but you’ll only need one. The “man” himself confessed to the National Enquirer, “I drank two shots of Jack Daniels in the car,” he said. “But I also ate a sandwich,” continued the safety unconscious Father Of The Year.

Yes, the police arrested him while he was still in the hospital for suspicion of DUI. Other charges of driving without a license and child endangerment are likely to follow.

The Method To My Madness

Y’all know i started this Diary-a Of A Chronicle Drinker for you, my people in the D-Generation, fellow members of D.R.I.N.K.E.R.s (Drunks Really Involved Now Known as Exiles Reunited). This Bar None is a place where you can hang out without being judged. i’m also here to share my experiences and personal stories so you can tell yourselves, “Hell, I may be a screw up, but at least I’m not as bad as Al.”

Well, now’s my chance to say it. i’ve done a lot of messed up things and my drinking has definitely affected my kids, but i’ve never drunk shots of Jack while driving with my kids in the car.

This does not mean i’m a model father.

My kids knew the word “hangover” way before they should’ve had to. It was used when i was married and then, after my divorce, it was still batted about the apartment when they came over some weekends.

One time, my son was pro’lly 13 which would make my daughter 10 or 11, i went with my little girl to pick up my son from an acting class. The idea was for me to hide and for her to tell him she’d walked there on her own. So we did this but, to make it more believable, she claimed i was too drunk to come and so i’d sent her alone. It musta been pretty damn believable because the boy-child fell for it. That’s when i started realizing how serious the shit was getting.

i’ve lost my temper and gone to the dunk angry place with both the kids. (That said, i’ve never hit anyone, let alone my kids, when drunk).

My son now recognizes my drunken euphoria and has come to hate it. He gets angry at me for it, as he should. Last summer the kids, Miss Demeanor and myself got bumped into business class for a trans-Atlantic flight and i drank 2 glasses of champagne, a double Glenlivet, a glass of white burgundy, 2 glasses of Medoc, a cognac, an Armagnac and then 5 glasses of dry white wine. (The post about that is right here.) i got loquacious (a big word that means “babbling like a 13-year-old girl hopped up on Redbull in line at a Twilight premiere”) upon landing and my son gave me a shoulder colder than the champagne for two days.

i am not proud of myself about any of this. My children would probably be happier if i didn’t drink, and yet i continue to imbibe, which is like saying my drinking is more important than their happiness. Even typing that shames me.

On the less dark side, i have never put my kids in danger because of my drinking. My children accept me for who i am and, while i may not have their pride all the time, i do have their love.

Functional Alcoholism And Fatherhood

Y’all know me, and if you don’t, count your blessings. i’m not here to preach or to give you advice, that would just be the blind drunk leading the blind drunk.

i think i’m safe in saying, though, that we should draw a line at jeopardizing our children’s well-being. If a binge gets to a point where you can no longer assure that, call someone you trust who’s sober enough to do it for you.

What i can also share is kinda what i’ve been saying in these sincere posts all along. Be honest. Be open. My kids (and the rest of my family) would know about my drinking problem even if i tried to hide it, so i figure why try? i’m not saying i brag about it, either. Just i’m honest with my kids about my drinking and the problems it causes. Hopefully my being upfront about it will teach them to drink more responsibly than i do. Teaching by bad example, is what i’m doing.

To any of you out there who were raised by alcoholics…i can’t speak for your parents but i can speak for myself. i love my children and i want what’s best for them. i would never hurt them and i’m trying to be a better man and better father for them. My problems are not because of but despite my kids. My issues are less severe than would be without the runts around.

It’s like i’ve told them since they were babies too young to understand and continue repeating since they can: My job is not to make them happy, it’s to teach them how to make themselves happy when they’re older.

5 thoughts on “Don’t Puck It Up: Fatherhood And Functional Alcoholism

  1. Common knowledge that alcohol makes bad decisions seem good, so reserved kudus for being able to recognise a line, that when it cannot be walked, must not be crossed. I can only imagine the frustration of not being able to aply such self control to the issue itself and am slightly alarmed by the resignation (“yes I do have a problem, but that is who I am”). Often the tendency for addiction is hereditary and while most of the time it will be the same addiction, not always. The lesson you teach is not only “This is Daddy/This is Daddy on booze”, but that a dysfunction must be accepted. Lucky, I know you well enough to know you have been, of late, showing that for the love of those you hurt, you at least attempt to keep your demons “in the bottle”. While you speak a lot of resignation, I believe it is only the bitter disapointment you may have in yourself for your failures, but those who love you do notice the effort made and it does make a difference.

    Having shared your demons with those you love and finding that acceptence begs, what happens when the shoe is on the other foot? What happens when someone you love recognises that there is something in their own life that is taking control away from them? Will it be the tough love of “you will change or else” or will you freeze up not wanting to screw up their lives the way you did yours or will you offer the understanding wisdom of someone who’s been there? Like a pasifist handed a gun, you never know how you will handle things until you have to,

    • I just wanted to really point out how fantastic this part of Ken’s comment is:

      “[I] am slightly alarmed by the resignation (“yes I do have a problem, but that is who I am”). Often the tendency for addiction is hereditary and while most of the time it will be the same addiction, not always. The lesson you teach is not only “This is Daddy/This is Daddy on booze”, but that a dysfunction must be accepted. Lucky, I know you well enough to know you have been, of late, showing that for the love of those you hurt, you at least attempt to keep your demons “in the bottle”. While you speak a lot of resignation, I believe it is only the bitter disapointment you may have in yourself for your failures, but those who love you do notice the effort made and it does make a difference.”

      He really points out the more alarming parts of the post: the resignation, the acceptance of dysfunction and it’s roots.

      The efforts do make a difference. I know they do to me and to the kids, too. I think this blog and comments have gone a long way in helping the issue.

      I REALLY like this part, too: “Like a pasifist handed a gun, you never know how you will handle things until you have to,” It really ties in with what I was trying to say in my comment also.

      Thanks, Ken.

  2. “Doctors are reportedly still looking for his brain, which is apparently as tiny as his penis, but so far have had no success and suspect he may have been born without either.” You are WILDLY snarky in the beginning, Al. Good, good writing. Snarktastic writing! Love it. You are the Snarkmeister!

    Now for the more serious stuff…

    In an effort to keep you honest, you have never hit anyONE:
    “(That said, i’ve never hit anyone, let alone my kids, when drunk).” but you have hit an anyTHING, that signage on that bar/café, and you had to pay dearly for it. I remember you felt very humiliated about that event. It was very physically violent for you, and I remember it shook you up a bit because you are not normally physically violent when drunk. I’m glad you have never hit anyone, and I would like to believe that you will never do it as you have not yet done it in the 28 years you have been binge drinking and getting drunk. That’s a pretty good track record for as many times as you have been drunk in that time. Not even one brawl!! It’s mostly just been you that has been hit when drunk, but never vice versa, huh. Still, it is a short jump from an anything to an anyone. Just sayin’. It all comes from the same angry place and there can always be a first time. Just like there was a first time with the wall/sign. You’ve just been “lucky” so far.

    “i got loquacious (a big word that means “babbling like a 13-year-old girl hopped up on Redbull in line at a Twilight premiere”) upon landing and my son gave me a shoulder colder than the champagne for two days.” I love the description — you *were* loquacious *just* like that and how your son reacted was exactly that way. Good writing again, my dear. I hate the memory, though, and having to be the one trying to talk the boy child through the experience as well as hoping you would not make a total idiot of yourself in US Customs as we were trying to pass through. I have mixed memories of that event. I loved seeing you happy and excited, but then when it crossed the line into the borderlands past happiness and into idiocy and your son could see it — that was a tough moment to be witness to and involved with. I felt kind of alone in my responsibility for them because you had decided to check out so hard. I felt a little like I was in charge of three kids, and also was trying to stay calm enough so you could not go off on me into the angry place. It was enough that you also got pissed off at the son, and your happiness collapsed into a pile of a gray and dour mood. It put a damper on my trip, too.

    Not to totally knock a man further down when he is already putting himself there, but I really do question this:

    “i have never put my kids in danger because of my drinking.”

    No, you have not put them in direct and purposeful or obvious danger when drunk. Having written that, a lot of dangerous situations sneak up on us, coming out of left field, when we, at our most sober, may find them challenging to deal with. For example, I really wonder about you taking the city public transportation with your 12-year-old daughter on evenings when you have been drinking and it is just you and her — her with no one to help her if you are too drunk and something happens. While she knows the basic drill and could probably handle a lot on her own as a 12-year-old, I worry about her, I worry about your and her safety as you guys are coming home on some of those Friday evenings. I know you are not at your best, your most alert, and I can imagine that left-field thing coming out of nowhere and something tragic happening that may not have happened in quite the way it could if you were sober. Again, I am kind of making mountains out of molehills and something out of nothing (why do I always get so cliché-y in your posts?!?), but I just know how these things work: there are so many things that can happen that makes us regret so much after-the-fact. Enough of those kinds of things happen when we are sober; I can imagine their magnification if one of those things were to happen when you were drunk and how much more regret there might be.

    Like this: what if one of your kids had ever gotten seriously ill while you were drunk, or passed out on the couch? Would you handle a situation like that better sober or drunk? I think it’s obvious that you would be more capable of handling something like that while sober. I know, I know. More “What If” kind of stuff that is moot because it has not happened. But, I guess I am just saying here that you are fooling yourself if you think that you are not putting your kids in harm’s way because you are not doing anything proactively, obviously, and aggressively stupid to put them into danger. When you are the grown up and you have your kids by yourself, with no other competent adult around to help out, then it is neglectful and irresponsible to be using drugs around them. Yeah, it is a drug, after all. I’m not saying there are not a bajillion people out there who get a but buzzed around the kids. It happens hundreds of thousands of times a day, I am sure. But there are times you don’t just get a little buzzed. You get fall-down, pass out drunk. I think that in and of itself compromises your kids’ safety. I’m glad nothing terrible has happened while you have been in that state in their childhoods so far. Again, I think you have been “lucky.”

    Okay, now that I have put you down a few more rungs than you have already done so for yourself, I want to say that what you write really is true: you are about as exemplar a drunk dad as one can get. You are 100% open with your kids about your failings. They have what understanding they can about it and you address it directly and in a matter-of-fact way with them. And you know what? I think you really do try to help them see this: “My job is not to make them happy, it’s to teach them how to make themselves happy when they’re older.” This is so valuable. This really IS what parenting ought to be about.

    I don’t think you are terrible; I actually think you are a pretty good dad. After all, every parent is as fucked up as the next. We all have fucked up childhoods in one way, shape or form. We are all fucked up parents in one way or another! It’s not like my dad with controlling and very passive-aggressive, obsessive-compulsive ways of handling things did much better than with your getting drunk. I mean, with some of the things he did when we were kids, it would have been a little easier to have understood if he HAD been drunk when he did those things. If drinking the way you do is the worst thing in your kids’ lives then I actually think they are getting away pretty scott-free in the dysfunction department, honestly.

    I hope that makes you feel better after I kind of tore into your statements up there. I think you are an awesome dad. Yes, I think you would be awsomER if you did not drink so much around them. I feel sad for them that it was actually (based on what you have said) a lot worse before I came on the scene. I’m sorry that they have had to see this in their lives. I’m super glad that nothing tragic has happened when you have been drinking around them. I also think you are *exactly* the dad they need to teach them what they want from the life experience and you are right: there is shitloads of love that is between you all. That’s a helluva lot more than a ton of kids get.

    I believe this 100% about you and know it is what you strive for:
    “i love my children and i want what’s best for them. i would never hurt them and i’m trying to be a better man and better father for them. My problems are not because of but despite my kids. My issues are less severe than would be without the runts around.”

    I am glad they are in your life.

    I’m trying to walk that line of being non-condoning yet non-condemning. It’s not an easy line to walk. I do think they would be a lot better off without your drinking, especially in their presence. But I am with you, it could also be a lot worse. The biggest questions are, are you content with having a kind of lowest-common-denominator thinking towards them (“it could be worse,” “I get drunk and do emotionally damaging things to them, but I love them a lot”)? Do you want more for yourself and for them? Are you just rationalizing yet another reason to just keep on drinking, even though it is damaging to them?

  3. (Urgh. I have lots of grammar errors up there that I know you are going to be correcting in your head as you read. Please try to overlook them and see what I am getting at, all right?) *mwah*

  4. I used to think that if I was buzzed (and on my way to drunk), I could still effectively care for my loved ones and myself, even though I was at home and nothing could possibly go wrong. It took a few pretty drunkenesses for my wife to point out that even though my child may be in bed or I am “alone”, in a case of an emergency I would not be able to function to capacity let alone drive a car or make a good decision. And having someone else there (like your wife) to lean on for that/those repsonsibilities is just not a good routine thing to assume that support. Yes, we all have a little bit too much at some parties/picnics or whatever, but usually it is not falling down drunk stuff that you should have to be concerned with. A little buzz is SO MUCH different than being plain hammered when it comes to real or potential responsibility.

Leave us some tips!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s