My dad is the most inspirational person that I have ever been lucky enough I know. He is hilarious. He is so wise and kind and weird. He cares more about his lawn than most and he loves The Eagles. He is spiritual and open-minded. He lives every day of his life for others and has shown me what is important-- what real success is-- and that the important things in life really aren’t things. He is pure good.
He has taught me to be comfortable with who I am, to learn to make good decisions, to always be able to laugh at myself and to trust my gut. He has supported me endlessly-- believing in my dreams and cheering for me as they become a reality. He and my mom have sacrificed so much to make sure their family came first and that we never wanted for anything. He is my shoulder to lean on, my ear when I vent and my semi regular lunch date. My passion for helping others and using my experiences to better the world is completely inspired by him.
My dad is also a recovering alcoholic.
I feel so hesitant to share this with you because I feel very, very protective of my dad and the thought of anyone thinking one negative thought about him makes my skin crawl, but something incredible is happening and it is too big of a deal to not say it.
When my dad came to us and told us he was an alcoholic, my reaction was the worst out of my entire family. I was in a bad place in my life, I was super scared and angry and on top of it, I was young.
My dad was humble and honest and vulnerable. He told us how sorry he was and what his plan was to get better. He promised to fix the situation and that he finally understood what was going on with him. He asked us for the same support he had shown us our entire lives. Unfortunately, I turned my back on him. To this day, when I think about that conversation and the months of me not speaking to him that followed, I feel sick. It is the biggest regret of my life.
Without my support, but with the support of the rest of my family, my dad carried on. He never pressured me to get over it. He never told me to talk to him. He let me feel what I felt and continued with his own recovery. Eventually, I got myself together and realized how incredible my dad was. He wasn’t someone I should be mad at, he was someone I should emulate. He wasn’t someone I couldn’t relate to, but someone that was struggling like I was struggling.
This August, my dad has been sober for 10 years. Ten. Years.
I have always been proud to be my dad’s daughter even though we have definitely had our struggles. I have always wanted him to be proud to be my dad. But what I witnessed when he decided to give up drinking not only changed his life, but shaped mine. His will power is remarkable, unshakeable, incredible. His dedication is unmatched. His security and self-awareness is something I envy more each day. His empathy may be the best thing about him.
My dad is 10 years sober and the pride my family feels for him is hard to describe. He has taken these 10 years and not only has made his life better and our family better, but the world better. He always tells me that he feels like he is on borrowed time, that he was given a second chance and with that second chance, he has dedicated his time and energy to helping young kids who are in need-- in need of clothes, in need of guidance, in need of a friend-- he has changed so many lives and impacted so many people and I hope he always know what a value he is. I can only hope I can be of that same value to someone some day. He is the definition of success.
Dad, congratulations on surpassing this incredible milestone. We knew you could do it. Here is to 10 years and 100 more. You are a real life superhero. We love you.