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Under the Influence

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❶I comfort myself with such knowledge, holding it against the throb of memory like an ice pack against a bruise.

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Sanders but his brother, sister, as well as his mother. The story continues as long as memories hold. He remembers clearly as a child sneaking into the garage or barn an witnessing his father drinking from flat green bottles of wine, brown whiskey bottles, and can of beers disguised in brown paper bags.

Sanders continue by saying it was very easy to determine when his father was under the influence of alcohol and when he was sober. He would be dishonest and abusive verbally.

He would hide the bottle or can in his jacket and acted normal. He always seems to interrupt our games as walks unbalanced towards the house. Yet the shame lingers and, because of it, anger. For a long stretch of my childhood we lived on a military reservation in Ohio, an arsenal where bombs were stored underground in bunkers and vintage airplanes burst into flames and unstable artillery shells boomed nightly at the dump.

We had the feeling, as children, that we played within a minefield, where a heedless footfall could trigger an explosion. When Father was drinking, the house, too, became a minefield. The least bump could set off either parent. The more he drank, the more obsessed Mother became with stopping him.

She hunted for bottles, counted the cash in his wallet, sniffed at his breath. Without meaning to snoop, we children blundered left and right into damning evidence. On afternoons when he came home from work sober, we flung ourselves at him for hugs and felt against our ribs the telltale lump in his coat. In the barn we tumbled on the hay and heard beneath our sneakers the crunch of broken glass.

We tugged open a drawer in his workbench, looking for screwdrivers or crescent wrenches, and spied a gleaming six-pack among the tools. Playing tag, we darted around the house just in time to see him sway on the rear stoop and heave a finished bottle into the woods.

In his goodnight kiss we smelled the cloying sweetness of Clorets, the mints he chewed to camouflage his dragon's breath. I can summon up that kiss right now by recalling Theodore Roethke's lines about his own father: The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy.

Such waltzing was hard, terribly hard, for with a boy's scrawny arms I was trying to hold my tipsy father upright. For years, the chief source of those incriminating bottles and cans was a grimy store a mile from us, a cinderblock place called Sly's, with two gas pumps outside and a mangy dog asleep in the window.

Inside, on rusty metal shelves or in wheezing coolers, you could find pop and Popsicles, cigarettes, potato chips, canned soup, raunchy postcards, fishing gear, Twinkies, wine, and beer. When Father drove anywhere on errands, Mother would send us along as guards, warning us not to let him out of our sight.

And so with one or more of us on board, Father would cruise up to Sly's, pump a dollar's worth of gas or plump the tires with air, and then, telling us to wait in the car, he would head for the doorway. Dutiful and panicky, we cried, "Let us go with you!

Often, when he had parked the car at a careless angle, we gazed in through the window and saw Mr. Sly fetching down from the shelf behind the cash register two green pints of Gallo wine. Father swigged one of them right there at the counter, stuffed the other in his pocket, and then out he came, a bulge in his coat, a flustered look on his reddened face.

Because the mom and pop who ran the dump were neighbors of ours, living just down the tar-blistered road, I hated them all the more for poisoning my father. I wanted to sneak in their store and smash the bottles and set fire to the place. I also hated the Gallo brothers, Ernest and Julio, whose jovial faces beamed from the labels of their wine, labels I would find, torn and curled, when I burned the trash. I noted the Gallo brothers' address in California and studied the road atlas to see how far that was from Ohio, because I meant to go out there and tell Ernest and Julio what they were doing to my father, and then, if they showed no mercy, I would kill them.

While growing up on the back roads and in the country schools and cramped Methodist churches of Ohio and Tennessee, I never heard the word alcoholic, never happened across it in books or magazines.

In the nearby towns, there were no addiction-treatment programs, no community mental-health centers, no Alcoholics Anonymous chapters, no therapists. Left alone with our grievous secret, we had no way of understanding Father's drinking except as an act of will, a deliberate folly or cruelty, a moral weakness, a sin.

He drank because he chose to, pure and simple. Why our father, so playful and competent and kind when sober, would choose to ruin himself and punish his family we could not fathom. Our neighborhood was high on the Bible, and the Bible was hard on drunkards.

For all tables are full of vomit, no place is without filthiness. We had also seen evidence of that in our father, who could multiply seven-digit numbers in his head when sober but when drunk could not help us with fourth-grade math.

At the last it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind utter perverse things. Dismayingly often, these biblical drunkards stirred up trouble for their own kids.

Noah made fresh wine after the flood, drank too much of it, fell asleep without any clothes on, and was glimpsed in the buff by his son Ham, whom Noah promptly cursed. In one passage--it was so shocking we had to read it under our blankets with flashlights--the patriarch Lot fell down drunk and slept with his daughters. The sins of the fathers set their children's teeth on edge. Our ministers were fond of quoting St. Paul's pronouncement that drunkards would not inherit the kingdom of God.

These grave preachers assured us that the wine referred to in the Last Supper was in fact grape juice. Bible and sermons and hymns combined to give us the impression that Moses should have brought down from the mountain another stone tablet, bearing the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not drink. The scariest and most illuminating Bible story apropos of drunkards was the one about the lunatic and the swine.

We knew it by heart: When Jesus climbed out of his boat one day, this lunatic came charging up from the graveyard, stark naked and filthy, frothing at the mouth, so violent that he broke the strongest chains. Nobody would go near him. Night and day for years, this madman had been wailing among the tombs and bruising himself with stones. Jesus took one look at him and said, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirits! Meanwhile, some hogs were conveniently rooting nearby.

Hearing the story in Sunday school, my friends thought mainly of the pigs. How big a splash did they make? Who paid for the lost pork? But I thought of the redeemed lunatic, who bathed himself and put on clothes and calmly sat at the feet of Jesus, restored--so the Bible said--to "his right mind. He became a stranger, as fearful to us as any graveyard lunatic, not quite frothing at the mouth but fierce enough, quick-tempered, explosive; or else he grew maudlin and weepy, which frightened us nearly as much.

In my boyhood despair, I reasoned that maybe he wasn't to blame for turning into an ogre: Maybe, like the lunatic, he was possessed by demons. If my father was indeed possessed, who would exorcise him? If he was a sinner, who would save him?

If he was ill, who would cure him? If he suffered, who would ease his pain? Not ministers or doctors, for we could not bring ourselves to confide in them; not the neighbors, for we pretended they had never seen him drunk; not Mother, who fussed and pleaded but could not budge him; not my brother and sister, who were only kids.

It did not matter that I, too, was only a child, and a bewildered one at that. I could not excuse myself. On first reading a description of delirium tremens--in a book on alcoholism I smuggled from a university library--I thought immediately of the frothing lunatic and the frenzied swine.

When I read stories or watched films about grisly metamorphoses--Dr. Hyde, the mild husband changing into a werewolf, the kindly neighbor inhabited by a brutal alien--I could not help but see my own father's mutation from sober to drunk. Even today, knowing better, I am attracted by the demonic theory of drink, for when I recall my father's transformation, the emergence of his ugly second self, I find it easy to believe in being possessed by unclean spirits. We never knew which version of Father would come home from work, the true or the tainted, nor could we guess how far down the slope toward cruelty he would slide.

How far a man could slide we gauged by observing our back-road neighbors--the out-of-work miners who had dragged their families to our corner of Ohio from the desolate hollows of Appalachia, the tightfisted farmers, the surly mechanics, the balked and broken men. There was, for example, whiskey-soaked Mr. Jenkins, who beat his wife and kids so hard we could hear their screams from the road. Lavo the wino, who fell asleep smoking time and again, until one night his disgusted wife bundled up the children and went outside and left him in his easy chair to burn; he awoke on his own, staggered out coughing into the yard, and pounded her flat while the children looked on and the shack turned to ash.

There was the truck driver, Mr. Sampson, who tripped over his son's tricycle one night while drunk and got mad, jumped into his semi, and drove away, shifting through the dozen gears, and never came back.

We saw the bruised children of these fathers clump onto our school bus, we saw the abandoned children huddle in the pews at church, we saw the stunned and battered mothers begging for help at our doors. My friend got to the point where he was still from his own friends and family just to get money to feed his addiction. With that his mother lost everything her savings and her son from going to sleep high and choking on his own vomit.

Scott Sanders essay helps readers see addictions in a new light and helps readers view it in many different ways. If he try to waltz with a drunk man it is a lot harder because you have to hold him up and deal with him tripping over himself and his reeking breath. This waltz is like Sanders life with his father its harder just like the Waltz.

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In Sanders’ essay, “Under the Influence” the author uses information from a dictionary to add a realistic tone to the story in order to allow readers to form a deeper connection to the impacts of alcoholism. To be able to successfully portray a message, it is important that an author creates a relevance to real life.

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In Sanders’ essay, “Under the Influence”, the author uses references such as dictionaries, medical journals, and the Bible to strengthen the influence of his story by adding a realistic tone for readers to better connect to the effects of alcohol.

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Under the Influence by Scott Russell Sanders essays In the essay "Under the Influence," Scott Russell Sanders uses metaphors and comparisons to describe his father's drinking, and the connection of his excessive working and compares those two addictions. Father Rossi Semester: spring Course: Journal writing Date: March, 21st “Under the Influence” By Scott Russell Sanders In the essay “Under the Influence,” Scott Russell Sanders speaks of his father heavy drinking of alcohol.

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Jun 17,  · The secret bores under the skin, gets in the blood, into the bone, and stays there. Long after you have supposedly been cured of malaria, the fever can flare up, the tremors can shake you. So it is with the fevers of shame. You swallow the bitter quinine of knowledge, and you learn to feel pity and compassion toward the drinker. A Woman Under the Influence Essay A Woman Under the Influence A Woman Under the Influence is considered to be one of Cassavete’s masterpieces, winning two Oscar’s nominations, and produced with an extremely low budget, it is a perfect example of what an independent director might want to achieve.