this one’s for a friend of mine. and for me. and though it still pains me to say, for my dad.
my friend calls herself a drunk. but i don’t know her as one, and she hasn’t had a drink in 10+ years. i met her on facebook and virtually adopted her because, as i remember, and my memory sucks so i could be wrong, she defended my president. in the most simple, pure, perfect words ever. so there’s that.
the other thing about my friend is she taught me something about me, my father, and me. in case i haven’t mentioned it before, my father drank himself to death. literally. cause of death: ethanol poisoning. fancy words for just too much alcohol in a body wracked by a lifetime of alcohol abuse. i stopped talking to him a few years before he died. his last phone call to me was ill-timed, i think. i may have acted rashly, or maybe i just did the best i could at the time, but as he slurred his words, condemning me and my sisters for not telling him we’d been in his area the year before for a wedding, i told him, “maybe if, just once, you’d call when you weren’t drunk, we’d want to see you.” he denied being drunk, as usual. “well, then, maybe you should see a doctor because i think you have brain damage,” were my last words to my father. even after all these years (23? i don’t even remember the year he died) it’s painful to write that.
but! then i met my friend and read her soul-baring, heartfelt, lovely blog and facebook page. here’s what i learned about me:
i was judgmental about substance-abusers. i couldn’t understand why they chose to abuse themselves, because i believed it was a choice. which is not to say it isn’t… my friend chooses sobriety every day, but she has to choose it every day.
as a young person, i thought if my father really loved us, me, he’d quit. and since that never happened, he didn’t love us, me.
i was unforgiving regarding substance-abuse. in self-defense, though, i think. that was how i coped.
here’s what i learned about my father:
he probably did love us, but he was weak and he hated himself. you can’t show love or make yourself healthy if you hate yourself.
and here’s what i learned about me, again:
i’m not a drunk. i drink but i don’t need to get drunk. i’m not escaping anything, including myself, when i drink. i am not my father.