Money and Vodka

I’ve kept going back and forth as to whether I want to post this. I’m an open person though. I like being able to put my thoughts and feelings out there for the public and start conversations. Maybe this will start one either here or in your home. I hope it’s a positive one about family, love and knowing what is important in your life.

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I have heard that you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. I’ve also heard that you shouldn’t lie. These two statements are sometimes extremely contradictory.

I lost my father long before his death this last April. I mourned his death years ago.

I sit in an office in a homeless shelter filled with 50 or so veterans. Most of them recently sober from drugs or alcohol, appreciative that our government does what little it does to take care of them.

These men are real men. They have fought in wars and met the devil in his den face-to-face. They have survived with sometimes not much left to call their own but their names. Yet they have more than my supposed protector and defender ever dreamt of having. They have honor, a sense of service, humility and determination to better their situation. And yet they still find humor everyday.

My father died in April. It hurt and my heart ached for others in my family and I sympathized for their loss, but a sense of loss was absent, as my father was most of my life. More concerned with where his next dollar was and where his next drink was, regardless of his feelings for his children, we always came in third after vodka and money. I have no doubt that he loved us, but showing that love proved impossible when chasing those first two unattainable ends.

The men here have felt the wrath of vodka and money. Instead of itching for where they could find it, most realized it left them empty. Homeless and broken, they went out in search of a better way. Maybe it was because they served they were able to overcome their addiction. He didn’t. He went out of his way to NOT serve in the military and cursed me and his other children for doing so.

I still remember the “inspiring” letter I received from him in the middle of basic training telling me I was dead to him and how ungrateful I was; how selfish joining the Air Force was.

I realize now, there was a sense of resentment in him. All three of his children did voluntarily what he wasn’t able to do when asked.

Today, sitting at the front desk while making sure each of my veterans are accounted for, I realize I’m surrounded by the kind of men I always wanted in a father.

No matter how many times I told him, I still wish he had heard me when I told him that money never mattered to me. I would rather have a homeless daddy fighting for sobriety and his family than a filthy rich alcoholic who shared my DNA, but not my life.

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10 thoughts on “Money and Vodka

  1. Wow. I am posting this on my fb and twitter. this is a powerful stories: for fathers, for daughters, for families. I know you must have struggled with writing and posting this, and I know it took courage. Well done. Prayers for continued health

  2. steve pridgen says:

    awesome story!! thanks for sharing and especially thanks for serving our great country and for now taking care of our troops!!

  3. I applaud your courage! I have similar issues with my mother. I remind myself that she did the best she knew how, given her addiction. There is little comfort in that, however. It doesn’t give you the hugs you needed as a child developing a sense of your worth and who you are in this world. The crucial affirmations one needs while growing up are turned into cruel criticisms and one’s sense of themselves and the world is topsy turvy. Then we spend years not understanding why the relationship tools we have don’t seem to produce the desired results. Once we figure it out, the rest of our lives are spent trying to overcome these ingrained responses.

    You are a strong woman, you will survive and come out stronger on the other side. I pray you find writing about this a cathartic release.

    Love ya!

  4. usmc_robm1975 says:

    I love you sis!!! Keep spreading the good word. You put it so nicely–much more eloquently than I could, for sure. No one will speak of his courage, his values, his integrity, his caring, his charity, his joy, his love… His life a death will only be remembered as a cautionary tale of the darker forces in life (fear, anger, hate, lust, greed, deceit) and their end results–complete separation from God and all good things (faith, hope, love).

    • True that, brother. Drew calls it a choice between sanity and insanity. I choose sanity everyday. The only regret I have when it comes to Dad is that HE never woke up and chose sanity… even for just one day… to see how wonderful a family he really had. Proud of you, brother. Love you, too.

  5. @carkre says:

    Thank you for sharing your moving feelings. So many children of alcoholics will share these feelings. Perhaps this day will signal the beginning of your healing, and maybe even eventual forgiveness. Al Anon will help you greatly, and I hope you will seek the healing there that your father never was able to find. It takes courage to walk into Al Anon, and I think you have it. Trust me, you will find others who will know EXACTLY what you are talking about. Your future healing and happiness may depend upon it.

    Your father was acting from a position of an awful illness, one that tells you that you are omnipotent and always right. He probably loved you very much, but his illness caused him to appear not to. His disease even told him that he did not have a problem. Some are able to find help, and sadly some never do.

    We don’t know each other very well yet, but today I feel that I know you much better.

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