Six years ago today my dad fell down his basement stairs and died on Christmas Day. I got the call at around 4 pm Christmas Eve and knew he would not make it. I live in California. He was in Iowa. They wanted me to fly back to say goodbye. My boys were 11 and 12 at the time. I proceeded to ruin Christmas Eve by drinking 1 1/2 bottles of wine by the Christmas Tree by myself. No dinner. No presents. No nothing. The boys hung with my husband in the TV room and just watched movies that night. My boys must have felt frightened by the news and disappointed that the mood of the holiday turned dim. I turned inward and felt sorry for myself. And I think deep down; I had the hook I needed so I could drink a lot. I wallowed in my pity, isolated and didn’t deal with my feelings. My dad passed before I could get on a plane.
My Dad was in Recovery for 30+ years, and here I was carrying the family torch of dysfunction and disease. I’m sure this was the beginning of knowing I needed to quit. It took me 5 1/2 more years to accomplish living my life alcohol-free. Today is Day 159.
Last week, nearly six years later, I received a profound gift from my Dad. I found a letter he had written me 18 years ago. Reading with fresh eyes and the heart of someone in recovery, I realized his letter was a “living amends” to me. If I were still drinking, I would not have received this special gift. I now carry the torch of love and recovery. And I offer it up to anyone ready to receive it. We are the lucky ones.
wishing everyone peace this holiday season, Diana