Karthik had a hectic week. It was Friday evening. His wife called him a few minutes and asked him to come early. She wanted to watch a movie at home with him. He told her it might not be possible as he has more work. However, he wanted to grab a few beers with his friends before going home.
After driving for a few minutes, he felt guilty of lying to his wife. He thought for a few minutes and decided to drive back home.
Karthik called his friend and said, “Charan, where are you? Did you reach our spot already? Listen. I don’t feel like coming today. I’ll go home to my wife and spend some time with her.”
Charan started laughing frantically. He realized that Karthik was indeed serious. So, he said, “I’m on my way to our spot. But, if you insist I will also go home. Let’s meet later, then. With your words, you make feel guilty too.”
Karthik felt proud of his decision. After driving for a few minutes, he noticed an old man on the road seeking a ride in the car. As Karthik was already feeling good, he wanted to do some more good work by helping an old man.
The old man said, “Can you please drive me to the hospital? My teenage son met with an accident and he is admitted in the hospital. I have to go there immediately.”
Karthik asked him to hop in immediately and decided to drop him at the hospital. Though it might delay his travel back to home, he was feeling good for helping someone.
All through the drive, the old man was very nervous. Karthik tried to reassure him that everything is going to be fine and that he need not worry about his son.
“He is all alone there. We are new to the city. He does not know anyone. I have to somehow go and take care of the hospital expenses. Some stranger called me and told me that my son got hit by a car,” said the old man.
After a few minutes, they reached the hospital and the old man thanked Karthik for offering the ride.
As he turned towards the corner of the street, Karthik noticed that the old man rushed out of the hospital and got into a bar next door. Karthik felt really bad. He realized that the visit to the hospital was fake and there is no truth in the old man’s story. This really infuriated Karthik. He wondered how people of that age can be so irresponsible.
Karthik immediately called his friend Charan and told him the entire episode. He ended the call by asking, “Where are you? Did you reach home already?”
Charan replied, “I started to go home. Then, I did not feel like going home. So, I grabbed a few bears and came to our spot. I’m here all alone. I’m sorry I lied to you earlier about going home.”
Karthik said, “Let me also join you. This old man has really spoiled my mood. Only a drink can make me feel better. There is no good left in the world. People take advantage of us always. And, we try to get rid of these small habits that we have.”
Karthik joined Charan and they had drinks and discussion for the next two hours.
They both decided to end the Friday evening party after they got three calls each, individually, from their respective wives. They both lied that they are busy at work chasing some deadlines.
On his way back home, Karthik noticed the old man sitting outside the hospital. He stopped the car and decided to blast the old man for his lies.
“Why did you have to lie to me? If you wanted a drive, you can so. Why did you have to lie saying your son got hurt in an accident?” asked Karthik.
The old man stood up and Karthik noticed that the old man had tears in his eyes. He did not answer anything. He was crying inconsolably.
A nurse who stood near came forward and told Karthik, “His son was badly injured in the accident. He is now in coma. This old man has no place to stay. They reached the city only today for his son’s job interview.”
Karthik felt so bad. He, later, realized that the old man ran into the bar just to make a quick call to someone as the people in the hospital would not allow him to make calls to anyone.
Karthik apologized to the old man and offered to take him home as he needed some food and few hours sleep. As Kathik’s house is very near to the hospital, he assured the old man that he can return to the hospital after dinner and a few hours sleep.
As they were about to get started, the old man offered to ride the car and said, “Will you please let me drive? I see that you are very drunk. I cannot afford to see another young man in an accident on the same day. I love my son. Please let me drive. You just give me the directions to your home.”
Karthik obliged as he too realized that he drank too much because of the anger and he cannot drive any more.
Once they reached home, Karthik told the entire episode to this wife. She helped the old man, but, did not react to Karthik’s story.
Karthik was really frightened at the lack of any response from his wife. She would usually get very furious whenever he came home drunk.
Two weeks ago, they both had a big fight because of his excessive drinking habit and he promised her he would quit sooner. He told her that he cannot quit immediately and that he needed some time. Karthik hoped that she remembered this part of the promise.
The next day, Karthik overheard his wife’s conversation with her father. Or, as always, she made sure he listened to this conversation.
“I did not fight with him last night because he told me he needed some more time. If he does not break this habit of drinking on Wednesdays, Fridays, and weekends, I will leave him. He has to stop drinking on any one of these days. Else, I do not have the patience to fight with him. I will check him for two more weeks. After that, I will get Rohan with me and come home. I’m not even worried about my job. I’m confident I can find a good job in our city also,” said his wife to her father.
Karthik decided not to drink the following Wednesday. But, as it was not such a productive day at work and he had a bad appraisal discussion, he decided to drink off that anger on his boss. On Friday, he was very happy that India won the cricket match. To celebrate it, he drank with Charan. Of course, the celebrations continued over the weekend too.
Wednesday came again. He was extremely nervous and decided not to drink. There was too much nervousness and anxiety for him that he could not contain. It created a lot of stress. To beat the stress, he drank that evening again.
Karthik’s wife decided that Friday was his last chance. If he came home without drinking, she would continue to live with him. She made it, indirectly, clear to him about her decision.
During the course of the day on Friday, he thought about the day. He decided not to drink. He imagined how wonderful his life is going to be from that day if he quit drinking. After some time, he also started thinking otherwise. He could not imagine being separated from his wife. He became very sad at that thought and realized that it was bound to happen, sooner or later, as he cannot control his urges.
He drank again. He reached home late. His wife was ready with luggage for her and Rohan to leave this house.
Karthik fell on his knees and sobbed incessantly as she kept silent without any reaction.
Karthik said, “Please help me. I cannot help myself. I am not able to control myself. I think it is beyond me, now, to quit drinking. I will do whatever you say. Whether it is some de-addiction program or rehabilitation center, I’m ready to go. But, I cannot live without you and Rohan.”
Though she did not agree immediately, she called up her father and spoke with him and told him everything. After few minutes, she came and told him, “Let us try it.”
Two years later, Karthik continued to drink. But, he could control himself and he did not drink so regularly as he did earlier. He drank infrequently and in social gatherings where people drank together. He thanked his wife for her support and love.
Karthik and his wife realized that it takes a great amount of love and patience to help someone who really wants to quit. People should stop being judgmental about addictions and override the underlying psychological factors with love, patience, and understanding.