Other people’s drinking sometimes gets to me. A few months ago, I witnessed a house guest and very dear in-law of mine get drunk every night on California Merlot. Now this man has been drinking wine with his meals most of his life but within the last few years he went from consuming a half bottle of wine to two bottles a day.
His drinking reminded me of my own late father who drank only with his meals, like most Europeans. Growing up I witnessed too many drunken scenes and they still haunt me sometimes. For many years before sobriety, I carried a lot of resentment about my father’s alcoholism.
The month before my father died, I had about 10 months of sobriety under my belt. I was planning to visit him and tell him how much his drinking hurt me but he died a few days before my flight. At the funeral, I remember looking down at his dead body thinking is this the man who terrified me growing up? Is this the man I was ashamed of, loved yet hated? This thin, hallowed figure I barely recognized him anymore but he was indeed my father and at that moment I chose to forgive him.
Learning to let go of blame and guilt is never easy yet forgiveness is one of the many gifts that sobriety brings.