I never met my Grandfather, but I heard a lot about him. He died way too young; 3 months before I was born, but he knew about me and he was looking forward to meet me…I met him later.
My Grandma told me many stories about him, it felt like I got to meet him after all. Some anecdotes were really humorous and made me laugh; others showed a man of strengths and great wisdom. He was a good husband and a good father; he provided for the family and like so many back then, he had to become a soldier and had to leave home.
He fought in WWII, survived and was captured and became a POW (prisoner of war) for a few years, until he was send back home.
Like so many, he came back as a changed man to a changed homeland. Everything was destroyed, money was tight or non-existing. The farm was still intact, but there was no livestock left, the fields were overgrown and everything was pretty much in ruins and they had to start re-building.
My Grandfather, who never smoked before, came back as a heavy smoker. According to him and others, they started smoking because tobacco was always around; the same could not be said about food. Right from the start food rations got smaller and smaller and the hours in between meals got longer and longer. Rolling cigarettes and smoking was part of dealing with hunger and just a part of being a soldier -back then.
He came back home and there was Grandmother waiting for him. She was so glad to have him back but she was not pleased about his smoking habit.
Money was tight and needed to be used for other things, tobacco was not in the budget. She pampered him and let him smoke for about two months and then they had “the talk”. They were in the barn and she told him “we can’t afford the tobacco you have to quit smoking, we need the money for food and for the farm” and so he did.
He stopped smoking the next day and never rolled another one…he just quit, walked away -just like that.
By now I researched enough about addictions and addicts to know that they are different kinds of addictions and people react differently to an addictive substance. Some can abuse alcohol, drugs or Nicotine for years and years…and then they just stop, turn around and walk away.
Others will try to stop over and over. They fight so hard and they relapse…again and again. They cry and scream; they lie and find excuses to just have just “one more”. I witnessed it, I watched people trying to find loopholes, so that a relapse would sound “logical” at least to them. They fight the fight of a lifetime and they struggle so much. I never understood it. It was so easy for me, what’s the big deal?
But…why was so easy for me? I tried to find an explanation and I thought about my Grandfather.
I think addiction is a very complex subject and we don’t know enough about it -yet. We just hit the tip of the iceberg, but there is so much more hidden underneath.
Was I lucky and could walk away just the same way my Grandfather did, because I inherited his strengths? Is the way I reacted in my genes, in my roots? An inherited behavior pattern?
I know one thing for sure, I can’t go around telling people that is is easy, just because it was fairly easy for me. We are all different and we all have different fights.
Well, maybe I should just say “Thanks Grandpa”! *
* and continue my research!