Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Props to you, Pops. (Warning: This one's a bit soapbox-ish)

Upon the recommendation of a friend, I'm reading "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey. It's a really depressing autobiographical story about his six weeks in rehab. It's slow reading for me because there are all sorts of parallels to my dad and his own struggles with addiction, and I find myself staring off into space - contemplating, mulling and chewing on it for hours at a time.

What's most interesting to me is the difference in perception between addicts and their families - at least in my case. My dad saw himself as an alcoholic and addict first... who also just happened to be a father/husband/baseball fanatic/whatever. I saw him as a father... who also just happened to be an alcoholic and addict. Maybe that doesn't sound like much, but it's a HUGE difference.

Understandably, he was very ashamed of his problems and, specifically, that his children were witness to them. He tried to quit. For years. For as long as I can remember. Over and over and over.

Try to quit. Fail. Try again. Fail. Try again. Fail. Try again. Fail. Try again...

But where he saw his failed attempts as proof of weakness, I saw determination. Raw, stubborn determination and an absolute refusal to give in. For that, I was in awe of him; respected and admired him. My pops was one tenacious mofo.

Don't misunderstand me - my dad and his problems were a pain in the ass and caused A LOT of pain. But he always accepted full responsibility for all of it and gave everything he had to try to make it better. Whether he was successful or not in the end isn't really the point. Pretty much everything I learned about responsibility, dignity, and certainly perseverance, I learned from witnessing his struggle. Someone wise once said "My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."

Amen. A-fucking-men.

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