Addiction a counter-conspiracy

This was part of an email to a friend, but after reading the “old fart” his post about a continuous struggle to remain sober (which he reports success at length at). Nothing especially sensitive and no harshness follows.

I have not been addicted to any of the major dependency causing chemical groups (EtOH, nicotine, the various controlled substances), which I state up front for disclosure, not vainglory.

That I never started was almost certainly because I grew up in a somewhat isolated place and was a retiring disposition otherwise. I would make friends in school, but I did not seek out people like neighbors to see if they would be friends. I saw dayly my parents and sibling, who all were non-addicts. (Even now I still say that because I didn’t learn otherwise until so much later.)

My father worked some distance away at a business that, unavoidably, generated changing but uncommon smells. None of them were offensive but they scented his work cloathes and the car he drove to work and back (mass transit was absolutely impossible here). I remember one day in what would have been early education days, so kindergarten or maybe first grade, when he came home with a more curious than usual odor and I wondered what they had been doing at work. I don’t remember any of the dialog, but I think it was early in the school year. I remember feeling like he and my mother were putting me off when I was hugging his legs or similar as he came in the door. This feels like foreshadowing, but I can’t be sure.

MANY years later I was visiting his parents’ place along with my parents, sibling, and their other descendants (including his sibling’s wife; one grandson kept away). His mother had recently died and his father had made significant improvement from some medical work, but he felt it would be too lonely and too much like abandonment to leave him to live there. He and his sibling were there to superintend the dissolution of their parents’ common life and relocation of his father to live with him. (This was with his consent. Some memory problems remained, but he was capable of understanding what had happened and what he agreed to.)

This process was one of determining what to do with the movable property at the house they lived in growing up: dispose of (donate, sell, destroy), move with his father, disperse to other relatives’ places, or leave with the property and sell with it.

(Sadly at least one absolutely unique item of his father’s making was lost in the process. We miss it yearly.)

While doing this, he and his sibling, who had not seen each other or talked or I think written in decades at least, had to interact with the other. This was shallow (deal with the subject at hand) but not hostile or deceptive. They had just grown distant and been apart for so long that there wasn’t much in common by now. Once I went to find them for some reason, like getting them to come to lunch, and they were in back of the huge pole barn… smoking.

I didn’t faint or bring it up at all, though my father I am pretty certain noticed I looked at his hand with the cigarette burning in it and gave me a kind of a smile that I think was forced. I want to believe that he was embarrassed.

After seeing this happen other places a few times during the visit, I realized it wasn’t some odd aberration (I read some time later of a couple of guys who visit a rural place in a South or Central American country, get some bees out of a church who then chase the denizens of the place out. They smoke a cigarette each, despite being nonsmokers who never smoke after this, because it seemed so fitting then (because they were expecting to be chased after themselves and maybe shot).).

I mentioned it in some – I hoped – neutral way to my sibling, who somewhat contemptuously – it seemed – said that he picked it up in graduate school (long before I was born). I didn’t care much for my grand parents’ other child after that, but didn’t say or do anything.

Later, on the first anniversary of his move to where my parents (and I) lived, this showed up again (it would have been insulting and unjustifyable for my father to prevent it). They smoked a few times outside and I think that is the last they have been together.

The disillusionment from that trip through the barn and out the back door is almost completely dissipated now. I have an internal, emotional certainty that he smoked at work, but determined that I would not have any home example to suggest tobacco at all. I never found any tobacco or other paraphernalia at home except matches that we used to light fires or candles, and these were not adapted to cigarette using.

I hope, with grand children now he lets live in his house, and a retirement from an exasperatingly stressful workplace, he has suppressed the chemical’s control and can be a role model with less risk to those now.

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A hopefully entertaining blogger, frequently of technical things, but some artistic commentary too.

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