Invincibility is a funny thing; just when you start to really need it, it fails you. I let my alcohol addiction rule my life for years, and never imagined the amount of damage it was would one day be responsible for in my life. The minute I let my drinking get out of control, I let alcohol win...and it kept winning; from college throughout the start of my career through the course of marriage and even through my relationship with my son, it just kept winning.
I'd like to say it was impossible for me not to put my family and my career ahead of my alcoholism, but it wasn't. I put alcohol first and then everything else second. I demonstrated this through a series of bad choices including drinking our savings away and slowly withdrawing from my family. I somehow managed to make enough money to keep a roof over our heads, but that's where my husband and father duties stopped. I was emotionally unavailable and missed practically every important milestone in my son's life because I was drinking so much and couldn't be bothered to even act as though I cared. This went on for about seven years, probably the most important seven years of his life.
My wife had always warned me that one day I would wind up killing someone from driving drunk. But life had a much better punishment in store for me one week after I turned 30. On the way home from the supermarket one night my wife was killed by a drunk driver. Her sudden loss, coupled with my being thrust into the position of being the sole parent to our son had a sobering effect on me. I checked myself into an alcohol rehab facility while my son stayed with my parents (my wife had no other family) and attempted to turn my life around for the sake of my son and the memory of my wife. I learned later during my alcoholism treatment therapy and counseling sessions that my wife’s death could have easily pushed me over the point of no return too.
During my treatment I had a lot of time to think about what kind of person I had been to my wife and son. I easily got though the initial alcohol detox period driven by the guilt I felt over losing my wife to someone who was just like me. I carried this new found humility and conviction of purpose throughout my treatment until I successfully finished their program.
It's been one year since I've had a drink. For the first time in my life I have a loving relationship with my son, and I just want to be the best father that I can be for him. I can’t allow myself to believe that my wife could ever forgive me for the man I use to be to her and my son. I can only hope and pray every day that she approves of the man I have become and the changes that I have made in her memory.