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.

2 comments:

Dave Harm said...

Thoughts from "Authors Den"

Reviewed by A Serviceable Villain 3/18/2005
Dave,

So profound; so very well-written - intestinal fortitude for sure!!


Blessings,

Robert

Reviewed by George Jackson 3/18/2005
A powerful, honest write that I can draw strength from. Thank you.

Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 3/18/2005
a man of courage...that is what you are, dave! excellent and honest, heartfelt write; very well done! bravo!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in tx., karen lynn. :D

god bless you, dave; you are always in my prayers! :)

Reviewed by Betty Torain 3/18/2005
May God bless you Dave. You are truly a Man of strength and love. keep writing.

Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 3/17/2005
Thank you for sharing this Dave!!

I printed this and gonna give this to my husband to read on my

birthday tomorrow March 19 ....hope his eyes will open very soon!!

Love Tinka

Reviewed by L. Figgins 3/17/2005
A fine write, Dave...real and honest. You have taught your children a grand lesson! They have seen you overcome addiction. They know their "other" daddy came out when he drank. Their fear is that he will come again. But he won't! They will realize this, and as they get older they'll understand what addiction is and what it does. And they will forgive...God bless.

Reviewed by Kate Clifford 3/17/2005
Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. It is not easy to show our dark sides is it? It is this type of truth that will help peace to become a reality.

Dave Harm said...

More thoughts from Authors den...


Reviewed by Suzie Palmer 9/18/2005
Oh Dave, you have written this life-strangling issue so well. I commend you! Especially now that I have first-hand experience of the powers of alcohol รข€“ experienced within a relationship. 'An alcoholic is someone whose drinking had shed a tear', is a great indicator to simply measure what it takes to realize one has a problem with alcohol. Thank you Dave, your past cross has spiritual learning & riches for all! Well done! Suzie :-)

Reviewed by bev rogalski 9/9/2005
i think its great i just celebrated one year sept 8 2005 but did not feel anything for the first 24 hours then a peace came over me. i got the answer from god as to what yesterday was supposed to feel like. NOW I AM GLAD TO BE WHERE I AM AT THANKS FOR YOUR STORY.

Reviewed by Jackie (Micke) Jinks 5/25/2005
I think that the honesty you exhibit here is a great catharsis for you, in mind, body, and soul; you deserve that for yourself. Keep on with your program, and keep writing. Best to you.

Micke

Reviewed by m j hollingshead 3/21/2005
powerful read

Reviewed by M. B. 3/18/2005
A DAY AT A TIME attests to your character, Dave. A character who lost and then regained his integrity, dignity and self-respect. A character who has the courage to share his grief, past mistakes and lessons learned with the world.

You shine.

Hugs,
~ Mari

Reviewed by Tracey L. O' Very 3/18/2005
My Goodness Dave, This is such and honest, brave and awakening story. A story that brings tears to me, no lies, for the pain you live with now and then. I've never had to live on the side of the fence that you live on, as me being the alcholic. I do know how it changes peoples' personalities but I'm very happy that you saw what was needed to do and are doing so well in that respect today. You are a good man who fell in trap. Always remember that ok? And know that with growing we all learn to see things we didn't understand earlier in life. All will see the truth of the traps so easily caught in in life.
Thank You for this story, very few would tell. It helps others to understand the things not understood, including me. Thanks for shedding the light my way. I now understand and can and will love someone freely as before, that I've pushed away.
Tracey