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Family Illness, Family Recovery

Audio version  

After the breakdown of my marriage and the ultimate divorce I became a weekend father. If I wasn’t drinking alcoholically before the separation, I certainly started to after the divorce. I’d have the kids on alternate weekends like many fathers. I struggled, I was unhappy, I felt isolated and lonely and I took to drinking more and more to ease the pain.

The kids and in particular my then 8-year-old daughter, were aware of this. It became apparent one Saturday morning. I went in to wake her at about 8 o’clock as she was going out with a friend. As I was turning to go out of her bedroom she said to me, “Don’t drink today Daddy”. But it was too late, I had started already. I walked out of the room with tears in my eyes. She also knew about me driving after having a drink. She was so young but she knew and commented on it.

I eventually realised that I had to do something about my drinking and so contacted Alcoholics Anonymous and my journey to sobriety started. I didn’t get it immediately but I’ve been sober a wee while now and where I couldn’t respond to my daughter’s requests back then, I can and do now. I have been able to make amends to her, supporting her as she grew through being a teenager when I took her to Alateen meetings. We went on holidays together, just the two of us on road trips, abroad on several occasions. She knows that I will seek out AA meetings. My amends continued as she grew into a woman and a mother.

It’s the same for the other members of my family. My sisters despaired of me but now they phone for a chat and a catch up with my news and surprisingly advice. One called about an elderly neighbour with a drink problem and I was able to direct her to the Fellowship.

Alcoholism is a family illness and the ripples of one’s drinking can cause a tidal wave throughout the extended family. But recovery is also a family affair. Sadly, it may not be true for all, but for me it has been. I have been very fortunate. I am truly grateful for the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous and its members, you lot. You have given me and continue to give me support for my sobriety and continuing recovery.