I remember being 5 years old, sitting at the bar on John R. I'd drink Coke with grenadine, the original Cherry Coke. I'd eat sesame bread sticks and dip them in little packets of butter. To this day, I love Cherry Coke and sesame bread sticks with butter. Strangely, these are some of my happiest times with my dad. It was never fun being home while he was out drinking. We never knew what to expect. Unpredictable. Sometimes, he'd come home and be goofy drunk, handing us money and telling us crude jokes. We didn't mind those nights. Other times, he'd be in a fit of rage, screaming and yelling about one thing or another. We just never knew.
It's all I remember. I mean, I don't remember a time when we weren't wondering if he'd be drunk. That's just how life was. We certainly had some good times, but overall, I mostly remember his being drunk. On his good days, he'd try to buy our love.
Even after college, things were the same. There were always cycles of "I'm going to quit," including the one that began with a DUI and a weekend rehab seminar. He was pretty good for a couple weeks (?) after that. There was the time he said he'd quit after he fell off a ladder... while ripping the gutters off the house in a drunken fit. So many times.
In November of 2007, my dad entered himself into a 21 day rehabilitation facility. He was 59 years old. It's been 3 1/2 months, and he's been mostly clean. But more than being clean, he really is a different person. He's the person we saw small glimpses of as children. The kind, light hearted, caring person we dreamed he should be. I don't know how long it will last, but I can't even begin to explain my joy. None of us never thought it would happen. We'd given up hope.
I guess I say all this to say, Never give up hope.