“Old habits die hard.” A statement that couldn’t be truer as the formulation of “habits” is at the core of human nature. However, what is to be done when “habits” evolve into “vices” which reflect our deepest defects? How do we, as parents, make certain that the sins of the father aren’t then passed down to the child? This is not such an easy question to answer. But, one that ought to be addressed candidly.
Advice From a Man With Vices
With full disclosure, I have long struggled with alcoholism for the entirety of my adult life. In the beginning, booze served as an anxiety reliever and social accompaniment for an awkwardly shy guy. Although, I started drinking alcohol well before I was legally able to purchase it. I only indulged when the circumstances seemed fitting. Never allowing its seduction to affect my daily reality. However, as I entered into adulthood and my use became increasingly more frequent, my choices lead to inevitable turbulence.
Often revered as “the life of the party”, I was now becoming “the story”. In denial of my blossoming addiction and the root of its existence, I proceeded forward. Foolishly self-assured of “having my shit together”, as spirit bottles took possession of my now warped identity. Memorable moments were replaced by blackout episodes as my “anxiety relief” became a debilitating crutch. Embarking upon a bartending profession didn’t help matters either. As I now had unlimited access to that which I should’ve been distancing myself from entirely. Say what you will, but no “gateway drug” has been better concocted than a well-crafted cocktail. Fast forward a decade and there I stood, with a plethora of bad decisions routinely fueled by alcohol. Oh… and a newborn baby.
I would love to declare, that at this juncture in the story I’d turned my life around. But, that would be utter bullshit. Although having a son scaled back my consumption considerably. I found myself simply hiding my drunkenness from him. Only partaking in my indiscretion once he was tucked soundly to sleep. Alcohol was now my “reward” for a day’s work well done. A pat on the back, of sorts, for being a “great dad” and attending to my responsibilities. Bar-hopping may have been abolished from practice (for the most part). But, the song remained the same. I’d convinced myself that I deserved to “unwind”. Ignoring the number one rule of recognizing addiction, “if you feel the need to hide your habits from loved ones, you may have an issue”. I understood why a “vice grip” was so aptly named, for I just couldn’t free myself from my own.
Last Call for Alcohol
I’ve recently (and finally) begun my journey towards sobriety. Though it’s a relentless and gradual undertaken, it’s a resolution that has been FAR overdue. I share my experience in the hopes of relaying one simple truth to all who may be reading this and suffering a similar predicament. We are not the sum of our mistakes. You are not your vices! Whatever your depravities may be (or the reasons for them), there is time to overcome them and shield your children from their fallout.
I chose to stop drinking because I never want Miles to feel that alcohol is a means to attain any resemblance of happiness. Further still, for him not to be as grossly misguided as his dad was in believing so. Parents are as flawed as all other individuals. And, like everyone else, we have the opportunity to correct our blunders through the examples we set. I may very well relapse while facing my own challenges. But, I now have a purpose to endure the stumbles and press on. To you all, be strong.