In “My Papa’s Waltz”, Roethke discusses a very heartbreaking and
distressful situation. He talks about alcoholism in the family and how it
affects the members of the family. Growing up in a family full of alcoholism and
abuse, I can relate to the point of view that this poem is written in. Although
it is very sad, all of these things the poet describes are true of a family
cursed with alcoholism. Whiskey breath had always been a familiar smell to me
until I moved to Baton Rouge. The people in my household would drink all day
long, starting with the morning cup of coffee and ending whenever their bodies
just passed out from drunkenness. Whenever drunks come home from the bars,
parties, etc. they cause havack throughout the house. Arguing and making lots of
noise are two qualities all too familiar to me. People who drink will argue with
anyone who tries to talk to them reasonably and will even get violent and
destructive at times. As for being a spouse of a drunk, I have never been
married but have experienced a scenario similar to that of being married. During
high school, I dated a guy that was quite older than I and he was of legal age
to drink already. Whenever he would go out to the clubs with his friends
drinking he would always come home to his apartment and if I was there and
everything was not clean and perfectly in order he would burst into fits of
anger. He would yell, scream and throw things at me and even sometimes he would
physically abuse me. In the morning, after there was time to sleep off the
effects of the alcohol he would always apologize saying that he was going to
slack off and try to quit drinking, but as we know that never happens. Finally
in March of 1995, he went to get help and before we could find out if the long
ordeal of the past four years was over God decided it was time for him to go to
a better place where all of the problems would dissappear. Because of the
horrible ways alcohol has affected me in the past 21 years it makes me not like
drinking or going out to bars because it usually leads to bad things.