26 years ago this month, my dad went from alcoholic to recovering alcoholic. And has stayed that way ever since.
For 9,490 days, he’s made the simple and profound decision to not drink today. And just for today, he’ll stick to it. Tomorrow? He’ll worry about it when it comes.
He kicked a decades-long drinking problem literally overnight, the coldest of turkey because he wanted to hold the hand of his wife of 47 years and walk side-by-side into their golden years.
To hang out with his son and see his daughter grow into an amazing woman.
To play with his grandchildren.
To guide the steps of other anonymous alcoholics toward sobriety.
He’s never made these decisions for fame, followers, favorites, or any of the other narcissistic rot that defines this digital generation. He’s not on Facebook or “the Twitter”. He’s a social media ghost. That’s his way. He seeks neither applause nor accolades. He just never wants to go back to the man he was.
Non-Hodgkins lymphoma tried to finish him off a few years ago. So did a botched spinal fusion surgery that left him minutes away from paralysis or worse. He laughed off both. Macular degeneration is slowly taking his sight but not his vision. And while Alzheimer’s has been a most patient hunter, that cowardly killer will never touch what springs from his heart.
I live in a world too full of experts who tell me how to swim blue oceans, be more effective, go from good to great, and become a servant leader who wins friends and influences people. They’re helpful, to be sure, but their sales and page views shrivel next to the quiet strength of a humble man in northern Kentucky who pours out only himself and prays the only things he’ll drink too much of today will be coffee and Sprite Zero.
You’ll probably never meet him, and that’s a shame. I want you to know him nonetheless and share a measure of the inspiration I’ve been so blessed to receive.
Thanks for being my teacher, my role model, my mentor, and my friend. I love you, Dad.