Family Obligations

This morning in a recovery meeting I attended, we talked about family obligations. With Father’s Day around the corner, that is a big topic for me and yet for some reason I opted “just to listen this morning…” instead of sharing all of the angst this particular family obligation causes me.

My dad is an end-stage alcoholic who suffers from wet-brain. The only upside of this is that I have a very up close idea of how this drinking excessively can very well end for me if I choose to ignore the desperate calls from my soul to stop, stop, stop. Where my dad is now is not a place any person would willingly choose to go. He had recovery for nine years and then stopped doing the things that were working for him and instead picked up. He rode the garbage truck all the way to the dump. I am choosing to get the hell off of the truck while the choice is still mine to make. I will never know when that one drink has crossed the line of no return and it is a risk I am NOT willing to take. But how do I show love without enabling? Without trying to “save” him? Without falling into the pit of sadness that often accompanies a visit or phone call with him?

And then there is my step-dad who is also an alcoholic. Not as bad as my dad in some ways but miserable and hard to deal with nonetheless. To the best of his very ill abilities he has tried to be what he thought was a good parental figure. Mostly he failed dismally. But I know that he never intentionally tried to hurt my brother or me. But at the end of the day, he makes me crazy and being around him is exhausting, frustrating, and makes me want to drink to oblivion.

What are my obligations here? I have done this Father’s Day thing both ways – calling and/or sending cards some years and a couple of times ignoring them both. Or phoning when I know my step-dad won’t be home so that I can leave a message and not talk in real-life. Both scenarios leave me feeling *yucky* for lack of a better word.

My question this morning is: What is best for my recovery? What is the next right thing to do? Ignoring is mean – so I won’t do that and it causes a shit-load of guilt all day long. I made my mom a beautiful handmade card for Mother’s Day and I feel like I should/could do something like that for my step-dad. And if I do it for my step-dad then I should do it for my dad… And really I don’t want to think about how tricky my whole life has been with these two “dads” – I want to run or I want it to be different. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…
I think I will get my art stuff out… Have a great day!

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5 thoughts on “Family Obligations”

  1. i agree. make them both a nice card, perhaps some chocolate. expect the day to be emotionally challenged and plan a nice treat for yourself for getting through it sober!

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