Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

Mike Ellis: Life with an alcoholic parent

Mike Ellis is working for a No vote. He writes this candid story about the writer's early boyhood years with a then-alcoholic father, asking readers to remember, "Please note my father made a change in his life when I was 11-12 things got better for me," and adds "My brother and sisters never knew the early father I did." Note that the ellipsis in the copy represents material that Mike Ellis agreed would be somewhat difficult to follow. - EW
Click on headline for complete story

By Mike Ellis
Personal commentary

To the Voters of Adair county, I'm Mike Ellis, local businessman, husband, father to three girls, grandfather to seven wonderful grand kids.

My first beer was given to me by an Adair Co. person (I heard passed away several years ago from complications of drinking) when I was 14 years of age. Not long after that I found out about the bootlegger, not long after that I found out about a very famous liquor store, and visited quite often, always looking for someone to buy it for us, and we did.

Where do our kids get beer, some say the bootlegger but where kids party, there is long neck Bud light (glass bottles, bootleggers sell only cans) glass breakage, they also don't sell Michelob Ultra light either.

About 50 years ago I started visiting Lebanon to try to get the Horseshoe and Club 68; never do I remember a big chain restaurant like Applebee's, Red Lobster, Outback or any other being in Marion Co. but it is going to bring all this to us. Most restaurants want population as a prime place to put one.

People wonder why we don't pray for the bootleggers; I pray for a lot of people, even those who might not want it. I pray for abused children and women that are abused. I encourage the bootlegger and those you feel are not living to their fullest, to call me and I will make time to study the Bible with you and them, let me explain our church. The Church of Christ on Jamestown St. has a clothing giveaway almost monthly and opens our pantry monthly.

Every time I pray, I pray that every child's belly be filled and that they be warm and comfortable. The reason I do this is I was raised with a drinking father, I learned at an early age the signs of his drinking, the way he acted. I learned to smell it, the look in his eye. I learned what it meant to be tore up like new ground and heard the phrase warm her up referring to spouses. I know what it is to run from a drunk, him cussing and swinging a tobacco stick, knowing good and well if I slowed down or fell it would be bad, I know what it is to run and be so scared and run, crying in sheer terror and wondering why this was happening to me and what I had done this time.

I've seen what drunk men do to their wives. I've seen them slapped, black eyes, bruises on their arms, not all were from my family. But as I got older I come to realize that my dad never came home drinking a Pepsi or smoking a Winston cigarette and whipped me, it was always the alcohol. There are kids in this county today that parents are divorcing because of alcohol either older or younger kids its doesn't make any difference, if they are young they will be a part time fathers (seeing them make the kid exchange in IGA parking lot, Speedway and others, you have all seen them, it's heartbreaking) not all are alcohol but so many are alcohol, drugs, pills and others I'm sure, or if older their father has already shown them that he thinks more of a substance than his family, wife and kids.

We as people like to look the other way or not get involved, as being me I know almost every person in this county has been affected, by a brother, husband, father, family member, neighbor or a close friend who has ruined, messed up, or had bad things happen by the alcohol. How many have heard people say the Bible says take a little wine for your stomach sake, it really does say that, I agree but he's talking about medication not recreation, some will say well my so and so keeps whiskey for cough medicine as well as my grandmother did also but I did not see her drunk, thank God she studied her Bible and knew the difference.

Some Christians say it's ok to drink, they why do they not drink in from of or with the preacher, if it's ok then why not do at fellowship meals or pot lucks, all day dinner on the grounds, at Bible studies? Ever see a Bible study in a bar or over a 6 pk of Bud Light or a bottle of Jack Daniels? I don't think so. Why do they hide it? Are they ashamed? or a closet Christian just on Sunday? I have been there and done that.


I have been to that side. There is no respect in a bar; there are no signs saying to drink responsibly, there is no surgeon general warning like tobacco to not drink and drive. Go to the website and see what alcohol effects are. There is no religion in a bar, no sign saying to be faithful to your own spouse. It makes men big, rich and famous; gives women courage to do things they would by no means do if not for the alcohol; gives boys enough courage that they mistreat young girls.

Kids have not changed. They will get it legal or illegally. Some one says that there are people that commit sin of gluttony and that may be true and I over eat sometime, but you know when I do I don't worry about getting a DUI on the way home or wrecking and killing someone because its not illegal to over eat, if it's a sin like lots compare to this I can take care of that by pray, there is no list in the KSP annual report about accidents, no percentages of wrecks by gluttony or over ate, like alcohol related.

I have emailed and spoke with others who have legal sales, one Mayor said it was of no help to them they had seen no big tax dollars and one city had to lay off 2 workers to pay the ones they had to hire. Then Cave City right on one of the busiest north/south Interstates in the country. Cave City is no comparison to Columbia unless they re-route I-65 through Adair and Columbia , which is most likely not going to happen. They sell to interstate traffic which is a lot of their business.

A friend of mine from Barren Co. says they sell to every bootlegger in the area (price). The other side will say that accidents have gone down in Kentucky counties that have went wet, and to a certain degree that is correct, but they leave the part out that alcohol accidents have gone down all across the state, in 2009 there where over 5,000 alcohol related accidents and have had a decrease all across the state in every county, not just the wet ones, and every year since. Most say DUIs are very costly now compared to earlier years. I'm not against progess in Adair Co. I want progress in Adair Co. I want the right kind of progress in Adair Co., the kind of progress we can be proud of. When I started on this I said if I helped or save one child from what I went through when I was a little kid or help stop one woman from abuse then I have accomplished what I started out to do either way the vote goes.

Please note my father made a change in his life when I was 11-12 things got better for me.

My brother and sisters never knew the early father I did.

- Mike Ellis

This story was posted on 2016-03-21 04:27:14
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.

To sponsor news and features on ColumbiaMagazine, please use our contact form.


Quick Links to Popular Features content is available as an RSS/XML feed for your RSS reader or other news aggregator.
Use the following link:

Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270-250-2730 Fax: 270-751-0401

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia! Magazine and D'Zine, Ltd. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.