My dad had been saying for several days that he thought he had the "flu". I told him the last couple days that I didn't think it was the flu and that he should go to the doctor. He kept putting it off. Last Thursday, I got a call from my step-mom. She said my dad wasn't remembering some things that he should - like the fact that the boat he used to have is not at the house because he sold it 11 years ago. I told her I was on my way - we finally got him the hospital and they diagnosed him with an elevated Ammonia level which caused Hepatic Encephalopathy. They admitted him and the doctors confirmed that he has severe liver damage and the toxin had also damaged his bone marrow.
I've faced adversity from many friends and family members for years because I refuse to abandon my father. You see, my father is an alcoholic. I don't remember a time when he wasn't. I remember good times and I remember bad times, but all the times, there was alcohol present. I have been proud of my dad and I've been embarrassed by my dad, but at the end of the day, God placed me under him as a member of his family. My sticking around was my own choice and I have no judgement to place for someone who makes a different decision. These are very personal decisions.
According to instruction given by Paul in 1 Timothy 5:3-8 "Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
This is why I choose to stay. I feel God has called me to stay. Now please don't misunderstand. I mean this is no way as advise to anyone dealing with an alcoholic. I am sharing this because Paul gave some more advise to the church. He said: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
One of the basic principles you learn in al-anon is that you are not alone.
As I've shared my story with friends, I've been overwhelmed by how many people have a story of struggle with someone they love consumed by the demons of alcoholism. This last week has reminded me that through the painful trials that I've experienced over the last thirty years...there has been purpose. I am continually opening my heart to let God sift through the filth and teach me a new way to live...a way where I walk with peace in my heart, compassion for others and joy in my step. Everyday hasn't been peaceful, but each day I learn one more new thing, I let go of one more ugly thing, and I praise God that He hasn't given up on me yet.
We all have painful struggles. We are all dealing with something. We are all imperfect. But God knows that. He loves us anyway, and He puts people in our path to help us feel His comfort as we stumble along the paths of life. He doesn't want us to hoard His comfort. God comforts us, so that we can share that comfort. He wants us to share our stories with others so that people will finally realize....You are NOT ALONE!