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Thirteen Days of Battling Sobriety

Thirteen of my father’s journal entries, abbreviated to emphasize the central message in each one. You’ll hear his sarcastic wit, boredom, and longing for love and acceptance. You’ll  share in his daily battle to find hope and optimism. You’ll experience his ongoing search for answers. You’ll see that the distrust from his wayward ways was something we didn’t just harbor at home; his unearthed reputation followed him wherever he went.

And finally, you’ll hear the defeated attempt in his voice, his last-ditch effort to get better while facing an uphill battle that would slowly inch him back down. It was as if he felt all along that things may not get better, ever.
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Posted by on March 16, 2013 in Family

 

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A Retelling of the Day I’ll Never Forget

I have told accounts of my father’s ability to single-handedly foil Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. While presents were always under the tree, eggs hidden, and money under our pillows, their intended joy was usually staved off by my dad’s usual antics: a drunken tirade or foolish act causing an embarrassingly new low for the family.
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Posted by on March 10, 2013 in Family

 

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Confessions of an Alcoholic

Critics have been especially — well — critical of the movie When a Man Loves a Woman and, despite his Oscar nomination, Denzel Washington’s Flight. Those are two of my favorite movies, not for some praiseworthy contribution to cinematic history but for their ability to pit alcoholic versus alcohol, for their accurate portrayal of addicts constantly haunted by a liquid that gives them both pleasure and pain, both freedom and captivity.
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Posted by on March 2, 2013 in Family

 

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Twenty Words of Loneliness

Not until I recently dug into my father’s letters did I realize how lonely his life had become. Perhaps I was too caught up in my own anger. Maybe I just had enough of his broken and empty promises. Or, quite possibly, it took my being alone to understand what being alone feels like, instilling within me a sense of empathy.

High atop a page in one of those wide-ruled notebooks rests two sentences and nothing more. They’re written in penmanship barely legible because of dad’s unceasing episode of the shakes.

“I’ve never been this lonely and all alone in my 44 years of living. Life is very difficult for me.”

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Posted by on February 9, 2013 in Family

 

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The Sad Rainbow Inside Our Medicine Cabinet

Alcohol was eating away at my father’s insides, sending him into free fall of physical troubles and a deluge of mental problems. But alcoholism wasn’t the only thing that ailed him.

Ever since he attempted suicide as a young man, his bodily health was never the same. As you can imagine, firing a foreign object into your guts point-blank can leave a devastating aftereffect. It was the choice he made, and the consequences came with it. Over the next decades, he’d pick up the pieces from that tragic day, added to new health problems that certainly were helped along by more poor decisions and personal neglect.
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Posted by on January 26, 2013 in Family

 

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Testify to Tough Love

My father’s return wasn’t the joyous, celebrated homecoming that he probably had in mind. He got progressively worse — the polar opposite of his stay in Seattle, even with the Christmas Eve relapse. Drugs, alcohol and the wrong crowd were his undoing, as his two children stared on in helpless wonder.

Each time we left his lonely, sorrowful apartment, trekking 30 miles to the home he used to share with us, a common thought united my sister and me: “I hope this isn’t the last time we see dad; I hope he’s alive the next time we’re here.”
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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Family

 

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So This Is Christmas, and What Have You Done?

As I write, I continually try to balance segue with chronology. Since my last post on the subject of Christmas, I have decided to stay on that topic just a little while longer, even if it does deviate a bit from my story’s time line. With the holidays still fresh in our hearts and minds, writing about my worst Christmas ever will resonate more than if I’d write about it in, say, sultry July.

As I indicated last time, the holidays overall were an ugly time in our home. One Christmas, in particular, really reared its ugly head for all to see. The situation had finally reached a boiling point. What is the unofficial definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.
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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in Family

 

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