Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Legacy

My dear son,

Genetics are wonderful things. I look at you and see so much that has been passed down. Your blond hair and blue eyes come from me; so does being left-handed. The ability to incessantly talk non-stop about nothing is pretty much me as well. Your short temper probably comes from me too, but let's keep that our secret for a little while longer, okay?

Unfortunately, that's not all I might pass on. Our family has an addictive streak that runs rampant throughout. No areas went untouched, but worst of all was the alcohol. It has affected many relatives for generations. Grandma and Grandpa didn't get it. Neither did your uncle. I was the only one it hit in our immediate family.

My folks warned us of its powerful force. We left many family reunions early because the relatives' drinking got so out of hand. You can hear all the warnings, but it still doesn't help when a train hits you full on.

I'm pretty stubborn sometimes and think I'm omnipotent. But some things are just more powerful than we can ever imagine. No one needs to hear the gory details, but let's just say I got caught up in the drinking at college worse than I should have. And yes, it was clear I was on my way to having problems.

So I stopped. But don't think you can do these things easily. It's true what they say about it being 'day-by-day.' You also can't do it without help.

I stand before you today, 20 years sober. Almost half my life. I never thought this day would happen and I'm amazed I can actually admit I haven't had a drop of alcohol in 20 years.

Let me give credit right now to the people who made it happen. Greg, Dave, Kathy, Donna, Bob, Kevin, Mark and Susan. These are the folks who made sure I had a safe environment to stay sober despite being on a college campus my senior year.

However, the strength was my friend Nicole. She told me time and time again that I could beat it. If God puts people in your life for a reason, she was person who has turned my life around the most. I'm happy to say we're still friends, but not on the same level as 20 years ago. Regardless, she'll hold a special place in my heart forever.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Buddy, this is so true, but don't ever think you are locked into one path.

I pray this never affects you. But if it does, I'll be there for you. I know what it can do and how bad it can get. I also know that you need the people who care in those times, more than any thing else.

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21 Comments:

Anonymous MetroDad said...

Congratulations, Steve! We should all be so lucky to have so many wonderful people around us who can support us in our times of need. And your words of advice are priceless at any age.

9:03 AM  
Blogger georgia said...

Congratulations, Steve. And, congratulations to your friends who supported you along the way. The Bottle is too strong of a demon to battle alone.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

Steve, what a moving and incredible chronicle of a huge hunk of your life!!! You rock on!!! Thinking about you, have a great day --

Jane

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Green Dads said...

Hey Steve, Congratulations!
I have a very similar family history on my mothers side of the family and my mother rarely drank because of it.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Papa Bradstein said...

Congratulations! It's easy to point out one's own faults, but Corey is also likely to inherit your strength, your excellent judgment, and your ability to connect with people to form strong supportive friendships.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

Congrats!

12:23 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

*hug*

3:42 PM  
Blogger Kelly O said...

Congrats on 20 years sober, man. Awesome.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Kathy Braasch said...

Steve,
What incredible strength you have. Something that you no doubt will pass on to your beautiful son.
Congratulations!

6:05 PM  
Anonymous DC Urban Dad said...

Wow. He is one lucky kid.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Lola and Ava said...

Congrats, Steve. I'm happy to be part of it (only through marriage) and to have been there for 18 of the last 20. And if Dave would ever comment, he'd ditto everything.

10:29 PM  
Blogger creative-type dad said...

20 years! Truly something to be proud of.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Bacchus said...

Congrats my friend!

May Corey also inherit your sense of character and strength.

5:01 AM  
Blogger Whit said...

20 years of will power? I think he'll be just fine.

1:04 AM  
Blogger Childsplayx2 said...

My mother just celebrated 21 years of sobriety (she joked that her sobriety can now drink). I know first hand what an accomplishment this is. Congratulations Steve!

Your family is so much better because of you!

12:46 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Very powerful Steve. Corey is lucky to have your foresight. Thanks for sharing it with us.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Dave (a.k.a. the Flyer) said...

Congratulations, Steve... and I'm very happy to have been there for all 20 years!

2:06 PM  
OpenID claresdad.com said...

Congrats! That's some accomplishment to stay sober on a college campus.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous barbaraforman said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous bea said...

You saved a life - your own. And the people around you get to keep loving you. Congratulations. You are strong, courageous and inspirational.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

Honey, I'm sorry - I completely forgot about this post when I showed up with a bottle of wine....

8:17 PM  

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