“Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead…” –Alcoholics Anonymous, Big Book, page 83
I often find myself baffled by all that I have accomplished in my sobriety. Now, I’m not talking about wealth or fame—I’m referring to a quality of life, peaceful days, if you will.
I use the word ‘baffled’ because I was so sick with addiction for so long that I never imagined any tranquility. I never imagined that solace could feel so sweet. I didn’t even remember what it was at the time.
My father felt the same way.
A Family Disease
Being the addicted daughter of an alcoholic father, there is much to be said for our relationship.
The journey was an exhausting uphill climb at times. I recall when my wonderful father was diagnosed with cancer and we decided to make our amends. (Dad had been sober about 2 years at that point.) In his hospital room we talked. I sobbed. We each took a turn sharing our pain as it related to the other.
My father was outgoing and funny and too bright for his own good. Alcoholism saw him angry and ill tempered—a man who was knee-deep in mire. He held a prestigious job and was able to give much to his family, but alcoholism came awfully close to taking that career from him.
Healing and Hope
His fall was a heavy fall on thin ice which he fell through and began drowning under. Only by the grace of God was he rescued through the program of AA and a therapist.
As he lay dying, his demeanor was remarkably enlightening. He said, “Katie, I have only two regrets…I never found the time to teach my trade. I so wanted to pay that forward. And I hurt people that I dearly loved when drinking. I was a royal S.O.B. during that time.”
Several family members sang Amazing Grace at my father’s funeral as he had requested. It is a song about finding one’s self with God’s guiding hand.
Dad had said that this song was truly about an alcoholic.
The memory of him singing it to me softly through his oxygen-mask-covered lips has stuck with me ever since.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”
A Legacy of Sobriety
Yes, my beloved father is gone, yet I live on in his wake.
I am sober. I am whole. I am serene. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see.
Godspeed, Dad. I pray you rest easily.
Author: Katie H. is a writer, recovering addict, and mother based in Connecticut.