By Terry Loving
I don’t know about you, but I am sick of hearing excuses for violence and abuse. Alcoholism, drug abuse, and other personal choices that are controllable offer no acceptable rational in my book. I grew up with alcoholism and domestic violence – even had my own personal experiences. Believe me, “I was drunk” or, “I was high” are excuses to act out behavioral and anger issues.
Think about it. When alcoholics for the most part are sober, they most likely do not hit and abuse. Well, at least not the drinkers I grew up with. I don’t recall a time when during sobriety there was violence. Oh sure, the tension was building up, as the cycle of violence goes. But for the most part, there were moments of faked peace. Some of them were verbally abusive when sober, and I believe this is due to withdrawal and the anxiety of being sober – they were uncomfortable. Still, this is not excuse.
I don’t know how many of my mother’s abusers were abused themselves. I was a child, and I didn’t know much about them – except that they were extremely violent. They would provide food and clothing when they felt like it. And when they didn’t, they were missing in action. When they found their way home, they came home drunk, broke, and ready to rumble. When they tired of their “outside” women, they stumbled home. For the most part, my two brother’s and I went without much of the time. The basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter were scarce. Purchasing alcohol was a priority, not food. To top it off, we had no peace.
Many speak of violence and being under the influence as though these things are connected, and the cause of domestic violence. I do not agree. From personal experience, the drunks in my life thought that they could fly – literally – when they were drunk. I knew one woman that laid down in the middle of a busy street. Her nephew saved her from being crushed to death by a public transit bus. One Thanksgiving day, she opened the oven that was cooking a turkey, and threw in out in the backyard. Needless to say, Thanksgiving was ruined.
When this lady was sober, she was nice, her alcoholic husband was nice, but you could plainly see their discomfort. They could not function “normally” without alcohol. At times they were paranoid, thinking others didn’t like them, and suspicious of most people who weren’t a part of their alcoholic circle. During drinking binges, this couple literally drew blood one from the other, and seemingly tried to kill each other. I am convinced that some people cannot function in life without mind and mood altering substances. From what I have observed, alcohol is just another tool for “letting it all hang out.”
I also believe that most people seek others who will complete them. During the dating process, the new potential mate seems to be a God-send. Humans tend to search for qualities in others that bring them personal happiness, financial security and completeness. The problem is this, no one can truly complete another person. Only God can do that individually through the blood of Jesus Christ:
“For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.'” (Acts 17:28)
Alcoholism could be a cry for help, but it no excuse for disrespecting another person. On the other hand, I know people who will admit to your face, “I like to drink.” They have no intention of quitting, and get highly upset when another makes such a suggestion or plea. Domestic violence is about dominance and control – this is true. However, it is also about sin -unrepented sin. It is also about personal struggles that many do not know how to overcome, so they get angry and frustrated – lose control – abuse others – especially the most vulnerable. Domestic violence is about pride – abusers too proud to ask for help. And many too ignorant to know that they need help in a major way. Say what you will, but the Bible is RIGHT!
Who has anguish? Who has sorrow?
Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining?
Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns,
trying out new drinks.
Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is,
how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down.
For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake;
it stings like a viper.
You will see hallucinations,
and you will say crazy things.
You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea,
clinging to a swaying mast.
And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it.
I didn’t even know it when they beat me up.
When will I wake up
so I can look for another drink?”
Proverbs 23:29-35 (New Living Translation)
- Massive dollar, human costs of alcohol (news.theage.com.au)
- Good News for Domestic Abuse Survivors Seeking Asylum (womensrights.change.org)
- Why Does My Spouse Hurt Me? (abuse.suite101.com)
- Program For Domestic Violence Victims Offers Support, Challenges (huffingtonpost.com)
- Teenage Depression Raises Domestic Violence Risk (lifescript.com)
- Understanding the Effects of Domestic Violence on Children (child-abuse.suite101.com)
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