June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day Sober

I am very grateful to still have my dad in my life, although our relationship has been somewhat troubling through the years. For most of my life we had a hard time getting along and the times that we did were usually spent drinking together. I always felt like I could not measure up to his expectations and therefore I was a complete failure. When I realized that my life was spiraling out of control due to my alcoholic drinking, and I was so riddled with shame and guilt, I just could not bear being around him. I stopped visiting, I ignored his calls, I waited for last minute to call him and basically ignored him as much as I could. For Father’s day I often called when I knew that he was unavailable so all I had to do is leave a message. Ugh.

I once heard someone say in a meeting – My parents did the best they could. Maybe not the best for me, but it was the best that they were able to do. – I remember that this comment made me very irritated; surely they could have done better! Right? But really what do I know…
In my sober journey and with the help the Alcoholic Anonymous, I have learned that forgiveness is the key to getting rid of those deeply rooted and painful feelings, and resentments. Forgiveness can open the door to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you. This doesn't mean that you deny the other person's accountability for hurting you, and it doesn't lessen or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without overlooking the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life. But how do you forgive if you have held on to these feelings for many years? I had to look deep inside myself, I had to get to the root of my issues. I had to come to terms with my past and focus on the future. I had to learn how to accept and forgive. I had to rebuild my relationships. I had to get sober.
Here again, practicing the AA 12 Steps brought a chance to clean house, to look at my own wrongs, and to understand the people who wronged me. The longer I have been sober and the more I am ok in my own skin, the more I am able to accept him as the person that he is. I have learned that I am not a reflection of him, nor is he of me. We are two separate people with our own issues, beliefs and morals. Acceptance has brought me to this point: I believe that my dad did, and continues to do, the best he can.
Today, I am taking my two boys to visit my dad, and I am bringing a bucket of chicken and some homemade cookies, and I am looking forward to it. A huge difference from the years past! Huge.
Happy Father’s day dad!

2 comments:

  1. The feeling of forgiving is so incredibly liberating... i had no idea how easy it was to move on once i let it go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sure is! I hope you are doing well Al!

      Delete

Keep moving forward!