“My dad used to walk out front to get the mail each afternoon.
I would be in the living room, and I’d hear the heavy front door slam behind him.
I knew where he was really going.
Once, I followed him out there.
I saw him walk toward the sidewalk and head in the opposite direction of the mailbox.
Down the road and past a few houses, he disappeared behind some bushes.
I stood back and waited for him to reemerge.
After a few minutes, he did.
He came out and headed back towards the mailbox, as I stood behind a car, hiding as my body shook from nerves.
When he was safely out of sight I went to the bushes and started moving branches around.
I knew exactly what I was looking for and there they were…two empty gin bottles.
I often looked down on my dad’s alcoholism as a character defect.
A flaw he was responsible for, and something I would never let happen to me.
Even as I drank more and more.
Even when I started to hide my own drinking from others.
Alcohol is tricky like that.
It makes you think you are in control even as you start doing things you swore you never would.
Even when you saw your loved ones struggle and suffer by the same hand.
I loved my father dearly.
I was angry with him for a long time, but when I started to see my own struggles with alcohol, I realized how similar we were.
I wonder how long he felt in control of his drinking too.
I wonder if he struggled with the same voices in his head constantly justifying his increasingly poor choices.
Nobody chooses alcoholism.
Nobody chooses addiction.
I’m lucky in a way.
Watching my dad’s own self-destruction into addiction was the wake-up call I needed to snap out of it.
To realize my ‘control’ over alcohol was a façade.
And to quit completely.
My dad’s gone and I can no longer hug him or talk to him or just smile and watch his eyes light up as they used to when he saw me enter the room.
But I like to think he’s watching me proudly right now.
I found the strength to quit, because of him and through him.
And I will not drink again… not because I’m stronger than him, but because his own story and his impact on my life empowered me to do this for me.
And what a legacy he’s left for me and my own children.
I get to raise them strong and sober, through him.
Because of him.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Celeste Yvonne. You can follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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