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.