She wrote “I love my dad” on the white-board in our living room. Instead of the conventional punctuation, a period at the end of a sentence, she used a heart. Speaking of hearts, mine melted and it provided warmth within—not like the warmth from a heating system, but the kind you feel during the holiday season while sitting at a table filled with food and family.
“I love my dad:” A small group of words with boundless meaning and emotion–four simple words, made up of ten letters, indicating that I’m in fact doing something right.
Lila and I had a nice holiday weekend. She was with me for an extra night, and has spent seven of the last nine nights at my place. It’s nice having the additional time with her—I’ll take any opportunity to spend more time with my daughter…absolutely any opportunity. The other day someone asked me “what books do you like reading to her?” I thought about it and replied “well she reads books to me now. My favorites are Scooby Doo and Dr. Suess’s, Hop on Pop.” It just happened, and I haven’t really thought about it—my baby can read and write! Life happens, and it happens quickly.
When she is with her mother, I struggle to find reason and purpose—I identify as a father.
So, when Lila is away, I lose my sense of self. As I reflect, and think back to when I was an active drunk—it makes sense as to why I feel lost when Lila is away. Instead of creating a productive social life in Lila’s absence, I turned to drinking. I didn’t know what to do with myself—so I got drunk until Lila came back. I drank a lot 50 percent of the time, which slowly accumulated to 100 percent.
I have been determined during the last 391 days to not only become the coolest father possible—but to also find myself again. I want to best utilize the time when Lila is with me, and do the same when she is not. I don’t want to feel lost for half of my life—and the displaced feeling is more apparent when I’m sober. Damn that feels good to say—and it feels great to be…sober.
I started playing soccer again, have gone to a few different churches, spend time with friends, date, write, listen to music, volunteer and talk to family more. I’m giving it my all. However, I have to understand that regardless of how productive I become when Lila is away—nothing will completely fill that void. A piece of me will still be missing—but that piece of me will appreciate my effort to stay busy…to smile more.
An important part of my recovery has been identifying why I developed such a heavy drinking habit. I think that we all take different paths to alcoholism—but the one thing I know for certain is that there’s a better way to live.