Scott Russell Sander is the author of the essay Under the Influence and many more other books. He is an essayist and novelist and in addition to that, he has been a lecturer at Indiana University since the year 1971 specializing in English. Sander’s works mainly examine the relationship between geography and culture, a search of social justice, the place of humans in nature, and the pursuit of spiritual life. In his essay Under the Influence, Sander recalls his childhood life, how he grew up with an alcoholic father. He states that alcohol was more of disease on his father than disappointment (Robert 2011). Sander illustrates how alcohol affected the entire family from his mother, brother, sister to those who surrounded them. He, however, blamed himself for all the miseries that the father underwent; there are many instances when he felt that he drove his father to heavy drinking. People who live with alcoholics always have a terrible life; there is do not experience a good life. Alcohol not only destroys the family name but it ruins it especially if the victim is the breadwinner. Someone under the alcoholic influence is pathetic, deceitful, and frightening; it is, however, important that families involved looking for a solution to help an alcoholic. This paper seeks to illustrate the influence alcohol has on a person and the effects it has on the family involved based on the essay Under the Influence.
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Anyone reading this essay Under the Influence will know a hard time that Sanders’s family went through due to alcoholism. They had to deal with the father’s addiction to alcohol. Those who live in a family where there are alcohol addicts will clearly understand what Sander went through as a teenager. They can end up comparing their situation to that of the Sanders family. This is because they have a clear knowledge of how an alcoholic behaves while intoxicated. Alcoholic people are hard to deal with just like Sander stated: “my father, when drunk, was neither funny nor honest; he was pathetic, frightening, deceitful and so playful and competent and kind when sober (Robert 2011).” This clearly shows the character of someone who is under the influence of alcohol; they lose touch with everything and everyone and that is why they frighten people, they become deceitful and pathetic. They normally cannot do anything right while under the influence of alcohol. It seems like alcoholics are possessed by the demons just like Sander expressed in the essay concerning his father. It is hard to see the person you love and look up to drown in alcohol. It not only hurts, but it’s also disappointing. Sander used to cry during the day and he got some beatings from the father at night when he came home really drunk. This just shows how pathetic his father was when he was drunk but when he was not under the influence of alcohol, he was kind and playful meaning that he was a good person if he was not drunk. Other children undergo the same situation Sander was in. I have heard over the news that some fathers rape their daughters after taking alcohol. Some beat their wives and chase them away with the children in the middle of the night. This shows how bad alcohol is and the effects it has on family members.
However, despite what Sander went through under the hands of his father when he was drunk, he still was determined to make the family hold. Sander was concern about the father because deep down he knew he was a good man when sober. This is why he hated the neighbors who poisoned his father with alcohol; he wished he could set their store on fire to prevent the father from drinking. This shows how much Sander wanted the family to hold, he was willing to do everything to ensure that his father was sober to keep the family together since everyone was hurting when the father was under the influence of alcohol. This also elaborates on the importance of family; they will always be there for you no matter what damage you have caused on them. The love that Sander had for his alcoholic father was much more than the bad things he did to him when he under the influence of alcohol. Sander also thought that his father drunk alcohol to ease the pains he felt after disappointing him. He states “I tell myself he drinks to ease the ache that gnaws at his belly, and aches that I must have caused by disappointing him somehow (Robert 2011). ” However, despite the efforts that Sander put to try to save his father from the great demon alcohol, he did not succeed. This shows that sometimes there is absolutely nothing that someone can do to prevent the person they love from making bad choices. It was Sander’s father chose to take alcohol and not what his children did. Sander should have not blamed himself for his father’s choice of taking alcohol every single day.
In conclusion, alcohol has a bad influence on those taking them and that is why they are not only frightening and deceitful but also pathetic. It is, however, the mandate of the family affected to help an alcoholic deal with his addict just like Sander did with his father despite all the hard times he put him through together with his mother and siblings. Nevertheless, life is a choice and the decisions we make can either affect us negatively or positively. We should not blame ourselves for the wrong decisions people make because deep inside them you may not know what is going on in their mind that made them make such choices.
Robert, J. (2011). Fifty Great Essays. Ed. Pearson: Longman Publishers.