It was Nov. 29, 2016, my daughter’s birthday. The day went great, with lots of friends and me manning the grill to keep the food coming. I was having beers with friends the entire time.
Her party ended and it was time for her to go to bed. By this time I had plenty of alcohol in my system and when I got an offer to go to an amateur wrestling match in Gastonia, I quickly accepted.
Once there, the beer continued and as the night went on, I became quite drunk. Blackout drunk.
I had quit drinking before. I had never considered myself to be an addict, but I did have the issue of drinking to get drunk. Once I started, I didn’t stop until my body forced me to stop.
I had gone two years without a drink, but decided to go back to it when I got married. I thought, after such a long period of time, I could be more responsible about it.
If you’ve ever dealt with a situation like this, you know that it’s only a matter of time before you are exactly at the point you were when deciding to quit.
I slowly declined back into my old ways. I created habits that were not fair to my family — like my wife watching the baby for hours while I drank in the backyard by myself.
I didn’t think at the time that it was destructive behavior, but it was. I wasn’t doing the things I needed to as a father and found myself concentrating on myself instead of those who depended on me.
The morning after my daughter’s birthday, I woke up late with a hangover, feeling embarrassed about the night before. I had several friends contact me about what had gone on throughout the night, furthering my embarrassment. I was disappointed in my recklessness and lack of self control.
The following day, I decided I could never let my daughter see me like that. I would never let her see me come home from a night with friends, stumbling, and unable to form full sentences.This would not be a memory of me that she would hold. This was the end. I was going sober again — for her.
It was harder the second time. The first time, I had wanted to quit. The second time I truly did not and spiraled into a depression with the sense that I was now being left out of everything because of my sobriety.
I eventually came out of that, with the desire to stop drinking, but it was not easy. It was a rough road with mixed feelings of wanting to drink and then flipping to wishing I had never quit, those two years of sobriety feeling like they were for nothing now.
I am not at all saying parents shouldn’t drink. What I’m saying is that as a parent, you have to face hard truths and take a look at yourself and your actions to decide if you need to make changes about yourself to benefit the life of your child.
Life is no longer about yourself: it’s about those who depend on your thought process to help them succeed.
I became sober the second time for my daughter. I’ve been sober 238 days. Every day is for you, Mary-Anne.
Photo: QC Playground
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