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Aravind closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It was an office party; a social event that was inevitable. He had shied away from such gatherings since the past couple of years. Gatherings where the booze flowed aplenty, where people would have a slip of tongue after a drink or two. But that was part of the fun. Only that people hid their embarrassment behind well concealed smiles and shrugs the next day.
He remembered only too clearly how he had been one of them. Though he had always a social drinker, the occasional drink slowly turned into a regular habit. In the beginning, there were always an excuse to have a drink in the evenings, just before dinner. A way to wind down after a stressful day. To celebrate a promotion. To mark the arrival of a new member in the family.
And before he realized it, he started looking for reasons to drink. The sight of the golden liquid swirling amongst the ice cubes set his spirits roaring. It gave him such a high that when the losses started happening right before his eyes, he turned a blind eye towards it.
"Papa..." The voice of his daughter broke Aravind from his reverie.
Seeing the sight of her in the baby pink dress he smiled. The net floating around gave her the appearance of a cherubic angel. She was the reason he had curbed his addiction. Seeing her frightened eyes when he came home drunk one night left something broken inside him. Was it her disappointment? Or the fact that he was missing out on those most precious moments of her life?
All he knew then was that if he did not make a conscious effort himself, there was no way to break from its clutches. Losing is daughter was not a risk he was prepared to take. No matter what the cost. He wanted to be the best father for his little girl. He still enjoyed the occasional drink or two, in the comfort of his home. But no longer does he allow it to define who he is. He felt the small fingers of his daughter wrap around his. Looking down, he realized that it was her innocent laughter that had always been his high.
Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.