There once was a boy who grew up on a farm in Eastern Washington. Dad was in the Navy during World War 2 and mom was at home busy with him and his 3 siblings. She sent the boy, we will call him JR, to live with grandad. JR adored grandad and though grandad was hard on him, grandad could do nothing too unfair or wrong in JR’s eyes.
JR’s first job was in the back room at a hardware store.
“Well that’s likely about as good a job as you’ll ever get, might as well just stay there,” JR’s dad said. JR decided to go into the Navy. The family moved to the midwest.
After the navy, JR went to engineering school at DeVry’s. Met a guy named Matt who used to drive his convertible to school in the winter. Matt and JR would talk near the heater where Matt was defrosting himself.
“Wanna meet my sister?”
JR met and married Maria after she got pregnant with a son. JR quit school and got a job so he could do the right and responsible thing.
JR worked at a small company as an engineer. Maria wanted another child, she was a stay at home mom. So a daughter was born, though JR didn’t really want another child.
Good news came in the form of a job offer from a large airplane manufacturer in Seattle, they hired JR.
JR settled in at his new job, the family relocated to Seattle, where the kids started school.
JR set his mind to making as much money at the company as he possibly could. He did so well at it, that at one point, he made more money than his boss. JR then set his mind to learning about investing to set himself up for his retirement. He did well at that too.
The kids were growing up, but 8 years after they arrived in Seattle, Maria wanted a divorce. There were problems as he wanted her to stay home, she wanted to work, and she wanted to feel important to him.
JR remarried though, about 5 years later. He did better and better at the large airplane manufacturer, had done many business trips in his years there and by the time he left he was leading teams of engineers across the globe to work on machinery projects. His income was in the 6 figures.
JR applied to recieve a fellowship award. The first time around, they would not give it to him and they cited their only reason was that he did not have a doctorate. The next year, they changed the rules and he was awarded a technical fellowship, the highest honor the large corporation bestows on engineers.
His life going well, JR built a house on a bluff overlooking the Puget Sound in Seattle and with Mt. Rainier in the middle of his view in his backyard. He built the house of his dreams. He and his wife were happy.
His whole life, his whole family, drink was an every day event. Neither child could recall a day without beer. Later he would drink Johnnie Walker, but that became too expensive for the rate it flew out of the house. His children, not real drinkers, knew his habits, his two fingers of scotch, and had even been trained on how to make the drink the way he liked it. The youngest had grown up with it, pretended that her apple juice was scotch when she was little, to be like her daddy.
By the time JR retired he was a millionaire. His children were doing well, employed and happily married. His wife was compassionate and their marraige struggled only under one burden…the other relationship he had.
His other relationship slowly started to make him less interested in the things he loved before…he had enjoyed gardening, boating, cooking and working on the computer. But slowly all these things slipped away in favor of this other minx, Scotch.
He advised his wife to not speak to the children about how much he was drinking, though she had warned them that something needed to be done. The time never seemed right.
JR in retirement slowly increased his habit that slowly, he would drink earlier, and longer, and more deeply. He couldn’t sleep well, he would nap most of the day. After awhile he had heart and blood pressure problems. Then gout. Then nausea. Then loss of hunger. Then loss of memory (that he would never confess to), until one day he was blacking out and having difficulty breathing.
He allowed wife to take him to the hospital.
For close to 2 weeks, they dried him out, diagnosed him with diabetes, rehydrated him, rehabilitated his compromised pancreas and liver and tried to keep his kidneys from shutting down. Then they transitioned him to a convalescent center. At the convalescent center, he gathered his strength and tried to escape, convinced he was being held against his will. He refused physical therapy and tried to escape at any opportunity.
His family didn’t know what to do. If he went home, he would drink, more than likely. He sent word to his family that he was a prisoner and that he was being held against his will, though he had only been there for 2 days. Wife was frought with concern that he would return home to begin drinking. Doctors said that because of HIPAA regulations, there was nothing that could be done.
He declared he was going to divorce her as she was responsible for his prolonged hospitalization.
JR drank close to a fifth of scotch a day. He wasn’t interested in his grandchildren, nor his children, was too sick to travel or really do anything. He went home.
He got in the car and went out and found his elixir and came home and sat down. This time, he decided if he ever felt sick, he certainly wasn’t going to allow wife to take him to the hospital. With glass in hand, he thought “I probably should look over those brochures for treatment, but not now.”
He drank himself to sleep in the family room of his small mansion overlooking the Sound and the mountain, while watching MoneyLine to see what his money was doing.