19 May 2011
A day at a time...
"Oh Lord, I ain't what I want to be...
Oh Lord, I ain't what I oughta be...
Oh Lord, I ain't what I'm gonna be...
But thanks, dear Lord,
I ain't what I use to be..."
Heard at an AA meeting in 1995, was told it was "The Slave's Prayer."
Through years of drinking, my children had learned to "play the game." Let Daddy yell, let him scream, he may even hit us. But soon, he'll pass out. They knew my pattern and they knew I'd wake up, feeling guilty for the shame I had unfairly dumped on them. They also knew, they had "earned" new shoes, or new clothes, or whatever they could hit me up for. My guilt was so deep, whatever they wanted I'd give them. Then the game changed. My sober time, became less and less, while my violence increased. It became a new game, they didn't want to play. In the past, they lived in fear, realizing a "reward" would come. But suddenly, they just lived in fear. There were no more rewards. They became scared of me - their Daddy.
To be honest, I didn't care. I had my booze, and I believed that I was still a good Daddy. They had food in their stomachs, a roof over their heads. They were lucky to have a man like me in their lives. It wasn't till my daughter told a school counselor how evil I was, that I was able to see the destruction I had caused. It was the first time, I was able to see someone else's pain, besides my own. I had reached a point where I couldn't imagine life with alcohol, but I also, couldn't imagine life without it. By far, the loneliest place, I've ever been.
Sadly, at first, I didn't quit drinking for my children, nor myself. I quit to stay out of jail. I did everything the courts told me to do. As I went to counseling and AA meetings, the message began to sink in. I was an alcoholic.
What turned the corner for me, was an AA meeting on the definition of alcoholism. People recited their beliefs and ideas on how they became alcoholics, and it made sense. As the meeting was close to ending, an "old-timer" said that an alcoholic is someone whose drinking had shed a tear. That was it. Drinking was suppose to be fun. But, my drinking, had shed many tears. I could fill, dozens of five gallon buckets, with the tears I have caused.
That night, I quit drinking for me. I quit drinking for everyone who had ever met me and would ever get to know me. No one would live in fear of me again. That was ten years ago, and I'm still sober.
But in those ten years, my children still don't trust me. But, that's OK. Someday, God willing, we will be reunited. And when we are, I'll be sober. For now, I find comfort, in knowing that they can live their lives, without fear.