Having An Alcoholic Father Saved My Life
Start writing a post

Having An Alcoholic Father Saved My Life

Sometimes the darker stories of our past become the brightest stories of our future.

Having An Alcoholic Father Saved My Life
Carolyn Dewey
"Son, I am so proud of you. I believe in you. I know that you will be the man that I have always aspired to be" - Dad

You never can be quite good enough. Often times we blame ourselves for our parents' trials and tribulations. Personally, I believed all through my childhood that I was the cause of my father's alcoholism. I remember how badly I wanted to see him change. How badly I wanted to see the light of a passionate man who would play catch with me, take me out for ice-cream, just spend time with me. But, that isn't easy for a someone whose strangled by a toxic demon each day of his life.

I remember one day in particular. After my dad threatened to take away my video games (my outlet for escaping a reality) for bothering him because he was incredibly hungover from the night before, I sat in my room still as could be. I shut my eyes, searching for every possible way that I could think of to get my dad to stop drinking, praying for a solution. Finally, the young 12-year-old boy had an idea. I removed everything that my father had ever bought me or that I had ever earned out of my room: My xbox, my toys, my TV, my games, even my collection of baseball trophies that meant the world to me. I placed them all in the living room, and as my dad came downstairs, I stared at him, silent, with tears pouring down my face. "What the hell are you doing, Mark?!" he screamed. I calmly told my father that I was willing to give up everything in my possession, everything that held meaning to me, if he would just stop drinking.

Like all naive children, I thought that I had the control to influence my father's behavior. Fast forward through the years, and I tried everything from begging and pleading to stealing his 12 pack of Bud and pouring it down the drain. But all of it was to no avail; my father was an alcoholic, and I wasn't going to change that about him. He was an addict up until he died, during my junior year of high school. He was a lost man, crippled by his addiction and broken by the loss of my mother, who died when I was just a small child.

My dad holding my brother on his birthday

But... What if there is a part of this story that is missing? What if this narrative that I had been telling myself for most of my life was only one scene out of a much larger story? What if my dad, the man who I only saw as an alcoholic, was so much more. He was. He is. He is my dad!

We all face challenges in our lives. But, unfortunately, very few of us seek challenges for ourselves. A large majority of us spend most of our time reacting to the world around us, choosing to relinquish control of our destiny to outside circumstances. I sure as heck have that option: A child who was born to two addict parents, who both died when I was a lad. But, what if the missing part of my father's narrative could give me the strength to become an inspired creator, a man who stands for integrity, a man who begs for challenges and chooses his path and his dreams. What if shining the light on the entirety of my father's narrative would lead me to deeply comprehend the immense opportunity that we have as human beings?

By God, as I have dove into my father's life, I have found the most beautiful story. At the age of 18, he and my mother became heroes as they departed from their small town in Ohio and headed several states away for a great adventure. They challenged the conventions of their society, refusing to settle for a life of complacency and seeking the opportunity for adventure. They were mighty successful, but, unfortunately, the wild and crazy lifestyle that was once an adventure took a turn for the worst with the introduction of drugs and alcohol. They suffered each day as adults fighting their addictions, and doing the best that they could to be good parents to my brothers and me. Once my mother died, my father lost his north star, his saving grace, his true angel whom he honored with dedication for their whole marriage. But, despite his challenges, he still stuck around: He never left us, not once. He dedicated the last years of his life to getting sober for his boys, only to become dangerously sick after 8 months of sobriety. He may not have been father of the year, but he showed me what it means to fight until the end, and now, my legacy is the extension of his fight.

Thanks to my father's story, his life, I will never be an alcoholic. I will forever treasure the sanctity of each day with my loved ones, my family. I will emulate the finer qualities of my dad: his intelligence, his charisma, his charm, and, most of all, his courageous spirit. I am now deeply inspired each day by the man whom I was most ashamed of growing up. And, above all, I live each day with such an immense appreciation for how hard my father tried for me. And, each day, I am preparing to be the most loving and dedicated father that I can possibly be, the father that he had always inspired to be.

I Love you, dad!

My mom and dad's gravestone.
Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments