Tag Archives: family time

The booze in our family


“Putang ina! Putang ina talaga!!!” (Son of a bitch! Son of a bitch!!!) Those were the words I repeatedly utter after finding out that Kim, my adopted brother was shot dead after picking up two of his friends detained in the police station last November.


He is one of the more than 7000 victims killed each day in drug-related killings since the president of our country, the Philippines sits on his throne a year ago. My mother adopted him a year before I gave birth to my eldest son, JC. They were playmates at one point growing up.


Kim provided so much joy with my mom and my two younger siblings. They were his family. They raised him up the way they knew best. He was a normal kid, except that he never really knows who he was. Mom never had the courage to tell him that he was adopted until her dying days when she was left with no choice.


Like many teenagers, he had a lot of friends and a lot of drinking friends. When we lost our mom, I had to keep him with me. That’s when I saw how his drinking had always brought him into trouble. He cannot stand school, he cannot stand work and probably he was lost with himself, finding who he was.


“Mama tulungan mo kami” (Mama please help us) I recall JC”S voice over the phone one time.


“Bakit?” (Why?) I asked him.


“Naaksidente kami, puro dugo si Kuya Kim” (“We had an accident and there is lots of blood from Uncle Kim”) JC sounded nervous and lost.


JC told me that Kim was drunk, driving the motorcycle so fast despite his warning to slow down. He managed to jump when he sensed that Kim was losing control. Although no one was badly hurt, I saw how shocked he was seeing a lot of blood from Kim’s wound and the bruises over both of his legs asking for my help. There was no evidence of accident with his body that time. Jacobo, JC’s other friend, only got a few bruises but looked traumatized as well.


“Ilang ulit ko bang sasabihin sa inyo na wag kayong mag drive na nakakainom?” (How often have I told you not to drink and drive?) I was enraged with all of them. They seemed too stubborn to listen.


My younger sister tried to look for Kim’s real parents in the hope that it will help him do better. Me, on the other side, believes that with his continuous drinking, whether we find his parents or not, would be very difficult for him.


When I got fed up with the trouble his drinking was causing him, I have to return him back to my sister in our hometown but she could not bear long with him as well. Despite setting our boundaries he continues to be the Kim we knew. The typical brother most of us had.


He prepares food for our children when he can. He asks money when he needed. He was around when you need him. He doesn’t talk much except when he wants some things. He gives chocolates to neighbors when he felt we had so much. He was a child who needed so much more than he could give.


Left on his own, he went to the wrong people. He had it all. The disease of alcoholism, the oblivion of a lost identity, the sick crowd, the feeling of unloved and rejection.


All of us his sisters had no idea that he was into drugs. I just pick up the pieces of stories during his wake. I cannot ask him now when he started using drugs and why. It was probably after losing JC, one of his drinking buddies. I have heard so much to conclude that my brother was a victim of a disease long known to mankind.


These are the stories of thousand of tokhang victims (identified drug users in the Philippines) we had in our midst today and I don’t think killing them all would stop the problem.


“Paano ka makakapasok sa klase mo bukas ng umaga kung uuwi ka ng medaling araw ng lasing?” (“How can you make it to your early class tomorrow when you went home at dawn drunk?”) I angrily asked JC during one of our confrontation.


“Ma hindi ako lasing” (“Ma, I’m not drunk”) the frequent denial he would murmur before falling flat on his bed.


No drunken person ever accepted they were drunk.


A concerned neighbor once told me that JC almost bumped into their van on his way home. He was probably losing coordination and having blurred vision while walking drunk and I do not always know how he made it home safe while I am sound asleep. We provide him with his own keys so that no one of us would have to wait for him when we got annoyed with his frequent coming late.


The effect of drinking on JC’s life was becoming obvious to me at that point. It just felt impossible to make him see what I was seeing. He was still getting good grades in his early college years and he was active in extracurricular activities. I could not make him stop drinking for school reason since he was doing well. But I was worried the disease would progress sooner than later.


In his second year in college, he had falling grades in his morning subjects and the reason was obvious. He had no choice but to stop studying and figure out what he really wanted. That was part of the boundaries we have set after many confrontations we have with his drinking.


He asked me to help him with the requirements for his job application after a few weeks out of school. It seemed like a great idea for me although his father was against it. I got my husbands’ approval insisting that seeing his son around the house doing nothing upset me.


JC was hired right away as a service crew in the fast food chain where he had his last breakfast with his sister and girlfriend, Melody.


“Bakit may gasgas ka sa mga binti mo ha?” (“Why do you have bruises on your legs?”) I asked JC.


I noticed the bruises when he was changing his clothes going to his room.


“Nahulog ako sa hagdan, sa trabaho” (“I fell down from the stairs, at work”) he said.


When I got the chance to talk to his manager whom I happened to know, I was apologetic about his frequent absences. I was trying to get her sympathy from instances like when JC said he fell down from the stairs.


“Mommy,” the manager used to call me.


“Si JC ay hindi nahuhulog sa hagdan” (“JC didn’t fall from the stairs”) she said.


“Nahulog sya sa motor noong maaksidente sila pagkatapos mag inuman ng mga kaibigan nya” (“He had his motorcycle accident after a drinking binge with some of his friends”) she smiled and politely left me to attend to another customer.


I was becoming hopeless with what was happening to him. He couldn’t stand going to school or keeping a job. What will he become? What if he got married? How will he handle his family life? My prayer had become fervent with these thoughts. I could not imagine him raising a family with the behavior I was seeing.


We got the chance to have a serious talk about his drinking and his life a month before he left us. He promised me that by the coming semester he would go back to school and do well. He insisted on applying for a job again while waiting for the school opening. I was hesitant and doubting if it was the right thing for him to do. My husband was completely against it. He believed that working will just give our son more leeway to buy cigarettes and alcohol. He was right. June 15, the day JC had an accident, was a payday.


Those who were with him were hesitant to tell me that JC was driving drunk. Some of his friends didn’t believe that the amount of alcohol he had drunk was too dangerous to drive. They thought he only took a few shots; some completely denied he was drunk. I understood it. I knew they were trying to protect my son from the stigma that drunken people are bad. They didn’t realize that I knew it was a disease. It was not my son’s fault he caught it. Alcoholism runs in our blood.


At around six o’clock in the evening more than thirty years ago, (the same time JC had his last breath) the news came to us that my Dad had an accident. The announcement was followed by flocks of people standing outside the rice mill where we reside.


“He was driving his motorcycle with his helper at the back; both of them didn’t make it.”


“They had a head-on collision with a passenger jeep” those were the rumor going around until some closed relatives came by to comfort us.


I heard from my mom that dad was a little drunk during the accident. But nobody on the family dare says that my dad died of drunk driving. Why blame the alcohol? It was the jeepney driver’s fault and their legal battle took almost two decades ending in the driver’s conviction to the mental hospital for insanity.


“I would never marry a drunkard” that was a promise I made to myself when I was growing up.


It has nothing to do with losing my dad. Alcohol had nothing to do with him and he had never been a problem drinker as far as I can recall. It was the nerve wrecking confrontations between my mom and drunken relatives, sometimes between my uncles and aunties and at other times among my cousins and neighbors that made me repulsive of drunkards.


My apprehensions of drunken individual probably root from those encounters and the scary stories Mom told us about them when she didn’t want us to go outside and play; when she wanted to have our afternoon nap so that she could have hers as well. They were like a scarecrow in my mind and that was the only image of an alcoholic I have until I fell in love and got married.


“You might be interested meeting someone in uniform” the smiling voice of a policeman at my back while I’m filing stock of unsold goods from our tiangee (bazaar).


“Who the hell is he?” and “I don’t care who he was, get out of my sight” the impression I gave his friend who was also a cop and a regular bystander on the store.


His tall, skinny featured was far from the neighbor I got infatuated to during my high school days. I was barely seventeen years old then and his age was closer to my Mom. My disinterest towards him had been obvious since that first meeting.


I was taking up nursing then at Southern Luzon Polytechnic College, Lucban Quezon. It was a two-hour jeepney ride from the town where I grew up and the only affordable school I could have my college degree. Instead of going back home during the weekends I preferred to have a part-time job on a Chinese store where the police station is a just a few steps away.


Policemen in this town were beginning to get used to the flock of students to their growing University and his friend was probably on the lookout for the most qualified prey for him. He was 33 and most likely if he will not make an effort to find a partner he would be married to his gun in the police station for the rest of his life.


He took up some subjects in the school where I was studying to get near to me and having him around the campus had always been a nuisance because I was always teased by my male classmates for having a suitor who is the age of their fathers. Avoiding him became a habit until my last year in college.


He was five years sober when I met him. I didn’t have any idea of his disease although he was vocal about being a recovering alcoholic. I didn’t really care. What I cared about most was to get him out of my sight until things got in the way.


When his sister was about to get married, she asked me to be one of her bridal sponsors. And I never knew then that becoming his partner on that wedding entourage would change everything. I didn’t understand how he made it comfortable for me during the entire ceremony.


Going out with him had always been exciting since then. I began to see the gentle spirit in his persona. The wisdom he possessed made me feel confident in the sincerity of his intentions. His honesty encouraged me to expose a part of myself I did not have the courage to reveal. I must admit that it had been difficult to resist him on the days that followed.


“Do you know that you are marrying an alcoholic?” his sponsor asked me when we paid him a visit before our wedding as if he was telling me to think about it more.


I couldn’t imagine him as an alcoholic because he was decent, funny and witty. He was also gentle; had a good-paying job and was so nice to be with. Then I met his friends; a lawyer, a priest, a businessman, a doctor, a movie star and some well-known people in politics and in the business world. All of them admitted one thing; they were alcoholic.


My husband never had a taste of alcohol in his hometown in Lucban during his high school days. He was a good boy. His mom was a well known rural health midwife in the area and his dad was a veteran’s pensioner who is well loved by the town’s folks.


Drinking lambanog, a coconut wine was a popular past time even among women in this town. I do not know if it has something to do with the weather although some strongly believe so. When I was admitted to the town’s college, I never realized that part of the requirement was several sets of sweatshirts and extra uniforms to stand the 200 intermittent days of rain in the town the whole year round. Taking a bath from the freezing cold water before going to school had never been easy and a kettle for boiling water is a must for every student from the nearby towns.


He started drinking during his college life in Manila, a four-hour drive from Lucban. Away from his parents, he was free. His roommates were his first drinking buddies.


“I taught you were taking up engineering. I never knew you change your course to becoming a doctor” the sarcastic voice of his father looking at his report card with plenty of a dr (dropped) mark all over.


“How could you do this to us” his mom’s voice upon finding out that he was not attending classes for the longest time anymore.


“I would like to finish my studies but I just can’t” banging his head on the wall.


“I am seeing half animal people in my mind, they are running after me” the only response he could give for his poor mom.


Manipulating a loved one through a drama is a behavior common among alcoholics. He made up lots of stories that melted the hearts of his parents. In their attempt to make things better, they sent him to their family physician who prescribed an antipsychotic drug, Thorazine, for the next six months out of school.


“You can never drink alcohol again, or else you will die” the family physicians warning on him.


His medication decreased after several months and then he decided to look for a job. He became a janitor and a messenger in a bank. But after getting a salary, he began drinking again and he didn’t die. He acquired more drinking buddies this time but the work didn’t last long. He was hired for another job and lost it for drinking again.


Seeing that he was going nowhere, he was compelled to enter the police force by his dad. He had no choice. But the gun with booze only made him more out of control. He lost himself until his conscience couldn’t be numbed anymore. He became desperate finding ways to drink better until he sought a way to stay sober.


That was his drinking story that he never got tired of sharing with our children. He was 28 when he had his last drink and his reason to believe that we could still pull our son out of the dungeon later in his life without knowing God’s divine plan.


My loved ones are good loving people who were a victim of a disease as cunning as Satan and today their stories are speaking a lot louder to me to do something about the culprit that only a few people recognize.



Resolve in Our Resolutions! (1 min read)

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: Mills Rodgers

Founder & Owner of: Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood

Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Successful Living Writer

Happy New Year’s everyone!  The New Year brings with it an opportunity to start anew.  In our culture, it is quite common to make New Year’s resolutions.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a resolution as “the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.”  A resolution is basically a goal.  I think it is great that people use the New Year to make resolutions.  Having goals for oneself is always encouraged.  People relate well to cycles; a new year is essentially the natural beginning of a cycle, thus a relatively convenient time to set goals.  Obviously, we should not confine resolutions or goals to New Year’s Day.  We should all be in a state of continually developing and progressing ourselves.

Continue reading Resolve in Our Resolutions! (1 min read)

6 Reasons Why Writing is the Best Therapy (2 min read)

Written By Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: Annmarie McQueen

Founder & Owner of: Annmarie McQueen

Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Travel & Writing Writer

1. It lets you get the feelings out without having to get anyone else involved. Let’s face it; getting emotional in front of people is always an embarrassing process, no matter how close you are to the person. And then there’s the post-cry awkwardness you have to deal with later. At least you can be 100% certain that your notebook isn’t going to judge you.

Continue reading 6 Reasons Why Writing is the Best Therapy (2 min read)

Dancing Flames (1 min read)

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Staff Member: Franci Hoffman

Founder & Owner of: BrewNSpew

Millionaire’s Digest Staff Team, Author, Successful Living Writer

I can’t help but admire,

You must be proud, for crying out loud!

Your beauty, your warmth, your captivating glow. Continue reading Dancing Flames (1 min read)

A Fairytale Celebration

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Staff Member, Editor, and Author: Franci Hoffman

Founder & Owner-BrewNSpew

-Millionaire’s Digest Contributor, Inspirational & Motivational Writer

Article Credits:  Franci Hoffman

Since my birthday and Father’s Day were on the same weekend, my husband and I took a road trip to Helen, Ga. The city is about an hour and a half from where we live and a pleasant drive through the lovely countryside and small mountain towns.

The State of Georgia’s third most visited city

I was excited about this trip because we haven’t been to Helen in a couple of years and we have such fond memories of our previous trips to this charming little city. Memories returned of when I was a child and so full of anticipation about taking a trip. I was filled with those same antsy feelings about the weather, what we were going to do, and what to pack. Silly me since this was just a short weekend trip.

The hotel I chose was one where we had stayed before. It is located directly on the Chattahoochee River. 70% of the rooms face the river and have terraces and/or balconies offering a lovely view. When I made the reservations, there was no availability of rooms with a river view, which I was disappointed. However, when we arrived at the hotel, I was able to upgrade the room to one with a river view. We were thrilled!


Our hotel, The Helendorff Inn, is absolutely charming and within walking distance to downtown Helen.  The hotel was built in 1973 with add-ons in the seventies, eighties, and nineties. The property is constantly being improved on making the hotel a popular spot to stay.

The Helendorff Inn – American owned and Army family operation for over 41 years

The city of Helen is a replica of a Bavarian Alpine town located in the southern Appalachians. The architecture of every building is classic south-German style. This design was adopted and mandated in 1969. Even national franchisees must adapt to the style.


The main industry went from a declining logging town to tourism, which the city’s peak time is in the fall when the leaves change to their brilliant autumn colors. The city becomes a wonderland displaying twinkling lights and filled with the traditions that go with the fall season. The city hosts Octoberfest from September through November which Helen becomes very crowded, to say the least. This is Helens largest celebration with music, dancing (waltzes and polkas), good food and drinks.

Population 510 as of the 2010 census

Sister City – Fussen, Bavaria


On the day of my birthday, we found a great German restaurant and bar in an alleyway. Helen has several alleyways located off the main drag, which are lined with quaint little shops, restaurants, and bars.

We sat at the bar because we find bartenders to be most informative and entertaining. We were spot on with our decision because our bartender’s personality and service were beyond our expectations.  He nudged me into ordering a hot pretzel with beer cheese dip. So, my idea of eating a light salad wasn’t going to happen and the pretzel was huge, but delicious. Then he surprised me with a complimentary apple strudel, which was also delicious. This German restaurant was not only welcoming but very charming with live German music, German decor and the wait staff wore traditional German clothing.


Old Bavaria Inn, 8619 N Main St, Helen, Ga

After my fun birthday lunch, we walked back to the hotel for a break. We relaxed on the balcony and watched the tubers float down the river. This is entertainment at its best because there are some people that should not even think about river tubing. Some of the tubers float down the river with cell phones, cameras, and even their pets, never dreaming they will fall out of their tube. Even though the water is shallow, it is not easy for some to get back on their tube. It’s great fun to watch.



After our break, we decided to take in some live music at a restaurant and bar across the street from the hotel. There we found some of the same regulars and wait staff that we met 2 years ago. And even the same bartender that told us she shot her ex-husband in the derriere with a shot gun! Yep, never a dull moment in Helen, Ga.

Paul’s Steakhouse and Seafood, since 1965

While we were at Paul’s Steakhouse, we noticed a lot of activity in their parking lot, which we found was due to a double rainbow. Many people were taking pictures and I took a few myself because I have never seen a double rainbow. According to the AccuWeather site, double rainbows are not uncommon and usually ahead or behind a rainstorm. Also, I learned there are triple and quadruple rainbows, however, they are a rare occurrence.


After a full day and a full night of adventure and fun, we were pretty tired and decided to call it a day. Our cozy room was very welcoming and calling our names – it’s time to rest. After all, this was only day one and we had two more days to go.

ATM painted on the outside of a building

The next two days were almost a repeat of the first day, except we found new places to shop, eat and drink. We met so many nice people, which makes any trip worth while, in my opinion. We left for home on Monday morning and topped off our trip with a fabulous brunch at a local restaurant called The Broken Egg. This was a perfect ending to my birthday and the Father’s Day celebration.

If we decide to make the trip to Helen, Ga next year, I wouldn’t change a thing, except getting a year older.


Written by Millionaire’s Digest Staff Member, Editor, and Author: Franci Hoffman

Founder & Owner-BrewNSpew

-Millionaire’s Digest Contributor, Inspirational & Motivational Writer

Article Credits:  Franci Hoffman







Place at a Time, One at a Time

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: Jeyran Main

Founder & Owner of: Review Tales

Millionaire’s Digest Team, Author, Books, Writing, Successful living & family & life.

One Place at a Time, One at a Time

Life is not a destination, it is a journey, and with that, you come across times where you have to make important choices. Many things get thrown at you forcing you to multi-task. In fact, you are praised for doing so. You brag about it, and the people around you nod agreeing with how super powerful you are. What you are completely oblivious about though is that you are damaging your inner soul. You are hurting yourself by pushing, forcing and insisting on finishing multiple jobs at the same time. Continue reading Place at a Time, One at a Time

Satan’s most lucrative business

Last week I was making a research on marketing and I came across the type of market that is the consumer of irrational fashions. The article says this mega market spends a considerable amount of money on things they do not need. Continue reading Satan’s most lucrative business