by Walter Jim
The Orutsararmiut Native Council for the Native Village of Bethel protests the possible Liquor License renewal for Alaska Commercial Store. Since the Liquor Store opened many lives have changed, mostly negative.
The effects of alcohol not only hurt the individual whom is drinking, that person’s family, relatives and community hurt with them. When a person passes on due to an alcohol related death, the family, relatives and community grieves and the friends and relatives in other Villages grieve with them.
I see the effects of alcohol that I witnessed as a young boy when our town had a liquor store and bars. There were drunks all over the place, but because our town was much smaller back then, we basically knew who they were.
Many times I wondered why some of our schoolmates looked dirty, sleepy, hungry and in some cases, beat up but at a young age we cannot comprehend that those are signs of alcohol use in the home by the parents. Alcoholism, child neglect, physical and mental abuse will mostly likely lead to dysfunctional upbringing. Dysfunctional upbringing will most likely determine the future of the child who lived that life of dysfunction.
Most parents want what’s best for their children, they will definitely want their children to be better off than them, to live a more comfortable life, to be better educated or trained in a field that will support them.
When parents are drunk or drinking, do they wonder where their children are or how they feel about the arguments, physical and verbal abuse in the home?
I was born, raised and live here in my hometown. Since this liquor store opened here I have seen the homeless population here boom. It isn’t entirely by choice that they want to be here, many of them are people that have been banished from their hometowns.
Many of us, by choice, like myself make that decision to change our lives and determine that there is a better life for us than wasting it to drink. When we make that decision to change our lives and live a better life and experience the good life again, some of us make that decision to help make the lives of others better or make those decisions to help support the lives of others.
I learned that there was a boy sneaking into one of our local business’ to sleep and this behavior is most likely due to alcohol use in the home by the parents, physical or verbal abuse. I wonder if there is even a hint of guilt in the minds of that little boy’s parents. We do not know the reasons but we can pretty much make that determination that it is due to alcohol use in that little boy’s home and most likely that this lifestyle is the outcome of the lifestyle that parent or parents experienced when they themselves were young.
What if that little boy is your son? Your grandson? Your nephew? What would you do? I am not sure who this little boy is but I hope and pray that he is okay.
We cannot tell people how to live their lives or tell them what to do but they are parents should at least know their parental responsibilities.
Alcohol has negatively changed the lives of many of the people in our Region and therefore the Orutsararmiut Native Council for the Native Village of Bethel protests the liquor license renewal for the Alaska Commercial Quick Stop Store in Bethel.
Walter Jim is the President of the Orutsararmiut Traditional Native Council in Bethel, Alaska.