“Once the child of an alcoholic, always the child of an alcoholic. There is no cure, but there are antidotes to discover and try in the course of the lifelong journey.
“As a child, I desperately hunted for the key to understand why my father drank. If only I could find it, I could fix him and make all of us happy. We would be a normal family every day, not just the sober ones. The shameful secret of alcoholism I carefully guarded would no longer exist.
“Even among ourselves, we did not talk about it, and the disease took on a personality of its own. It walked, talked, and acted differently from my father. It had its own name: Secret Shame.
“My mother blamed a relative for enticing my father into social drinking after he left the family farm in Virginia to live and work in Washington, D.C. But I always thought the root was deeper. As I grew into an adult, I was convinced it was a self-esteem issue. So I took it upon myself to bolster my father’s ego whenever, wherever, and however I could. Those opportunities diminished as I married, had children, and moved farther away from him.
“Fifteen hundred miles separated us when I found the key to fix Daddy. Not for alcoholism but for manufactured mania. To me it made no sense my father was given three different antipsychotic drugs every day for a ministroke.
“Rendering him helpless and defenseless, the mind-altering drugs shackled Daddy to dementia. As if it were a holding pen for rotting trash, authorities in the nursing home system dispensed him to that dark cell. There his alcoholic personality emerged.
“Before I dare hope changes would be made for my father’s good, I had to fight back advancing fears nurtured in an alcoholic family. Daddy knew nothing of that or my daily battles with health care providers for his well-being. My heart’s desire throughout was that my father believes he is and always was important, worthy, and deserving of love.”
The above introduces the true story of the journey with my father as related in Before the Door Closes: A Daughter’s Journey with Her Alcoholic Father. My prayer is that it brings healing to hurting hearts everywhere.