I couldn’t wait to get home and drink. Even though I had been sober almost 7 months, I finally had an excuse that was certain to take me off the hook. Daddy had cancer and he wanted me to come home.
I was at work when I got his call. I was immediately alarmed because he didn’t call often and even before I heard his voice my throat began to close. “Hey baby doll, how you doing?”. That was his way and even now I can hear his voice so clearly. He began to tell me bluntly that he had cancer. It was everywhere. And he didn’t have much time.
I gathered my things and left. By midday I was home nursing a stiff cocktail and contemplating my next move.
I remember, with disdain, the pathetic alcoholic satisfaction I embraced believing I finally had a reason to drown myself; a reason that no one would question. Fucking everything else, my irrational thinking told me a dying father was reason enough to be a stone cold alcoholic. I gladly shed my few months of sobriety. Almost grateful for a reason to begin again.
Sorry, but that’s just what it was. I didn’t want the news, was horrified by it, but if I’m gonna be honest, I wanted the excuse. A good enough reason to drink. My dad’s condition gave me that. And I ran with it.
For three years (and a lot of shit happened during that time) I ran, ’cause he didn’t die in three months like the doctors predicted. He lived. He lived long past the time they gave him and we had time. Not a lot, and certainly not enough to chip away at the glacier of hurt created from decades of misunderstanding and lack of communication, but enough time to realize our fierce love for each other. Enough time to realize we still hadn’t healed from the divorce. Enough time to create new memories that would have etched away at the old painful ones.
And I wasted it. I was too drunk to realize the gift of time I was living in. I was living in the gift of time each day he lived. And instead of receiving it, I ran from it.
I drank to numb the reality and failed to realize the miracle of life that was unfolding in front of me; the second chance that was well within my reach. If I had simply stopped reaching for the bottle. But I was too afraid to face life so I missed it.
I got sober 105 days before my dad died. By that time he was bed ridden with only the strength to chop it up about the good old days.
How strange it must be to look back over your life, even the painful patches, and remember them as good.
Sit with that.