Family

We don’t get to choose our parents—the moms and dads who are supposed to guide us and love us. And some of us wind up with parents who clearly should never have had children. But, if we can, we should find a way to forgive them. I did this by understanding that my mom and dad never had the skills they needed to be better parents, and I focused more on what they did right—like let me know I was loved. I also encouraged my own kids to do this, and as a result, they too know they were greatly loved as children and always will be.

Still, like most parents, I wish I could go back in time and make up for the things I didn’t do right, especially when it comes to my son. My work with teenagers taught me what I didn’t know how to do as a father with a young boy (and later a young man), but he survived with his mother’s help and loves me today. My wife may not have been able to fully make up for my lack of parenting and neglect, but the job she did raising our children was quite remarkable, considering I could be like a child myself at times—although my immaturity did help in some situations.

My humor and antics made my kids laugh and helped cushion the blow of having a father who drank. But that doesn’t change the fact that, like me, they sometimes had to make the best of their family situation while growing up. But I’m living proof that it’s possible to become a better parent and make up for what we didn’t do right when our children were young. And I promise to continue doing this until my last breath.

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The Here And Wow

“I understand the best way to be happy in life is to live in the here and now, and I do a pretty good job at achieving this each day. However, I still occasionally worry about the future or regret something from the past, and experience just enough craziness to keep things interesting and exciting.”

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One More Day

Despite what the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says about not having regrets in our sobriety—”we won’t regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” I still feel quite sad sometimes when I think of how my drinking often came before spending time with my family.

Although we did do things together and certainly loved one another, I simply wasn’t always there for my son and daughter when they were growing up, and certainly not for my wife. I even dream of going back in time and being able to spend a whole day with them when we were all much younger.

This song makes me cry when I hear it, but thankfully I’ve been sober almost 14 years now, and my wife and kids know I’m there for them anytime they need me.

I may still have some regrets from the past, but I don’t wish to shut the door on it. My past is a wonderful reminder of who I was and who I have become. A good husband, a good father, and someone who is a better person than they were before.

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Sometimes Regrets are Good

I learned many things about myself when I used to go to Alcoholic’s Anonymous and do the Steps, but I didn’t always agree with everything I read in the literature. One of those things was one of the Promises written in the Big Book…”we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” Even with thirteen years of continuous sobriety under my belt, I still feel some regret for not being a better father and husband than I was.

I do, however, agree with the last part of that Promise, and I actually use the way I feel to help others. I explain to people that we can use the sadness, and in many cases anger we feel towards ourselves, to help motivate us to be a better person today.

I get emotional at times when speaking about my past, but quite a few people have told me they feel a connection when I cry. You’d be surprised at how many people relate to feelings of sadness and anger for past regrets, and how much better they feel hearing someone talk about it.

Sometimes regrets are good. Especially when they can help us remember we’re no longer who we used to be. I’m not the same person I was in my drinking days and I’m glad I’m able to use the way I feel about my past to help others.

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