Yesterday my youngest daughter turned 27, which caused me to reflect upon my recovery path.
While 12 step meetings, having a mission in life, and all-around healthy living contribute to sobriety - my sobriety was also enhanced by having a daughter to love and care for.
When she was born I hadn't gotten sober yet and wasn't sure about anything. I was living with her mother in a small mining town in Arizona and hadn't decided whether to return to Orange County, California. Had I returned, I likely wouldn’t be alive today. That was the area where I grew and where I got into major trouble over because of my addiction.
But for some reason, becoming a father again at 46 changed my perspective. All of a sudden I had a new responsibility, one I couldn’t walk away from. While it took another five or six years to get sober, having this child helped me focus. In 1994, after I was sober two years, I acquired full custody. And for the next 10 years – until she went into the Army at 18 – I raised her.
Today she receives 70% disability for injuries she suffered while in Afghanistan. She will obtain her bachelor's degree sometimes in the spring of 2012. She's about to purchase her own home.
She expresses a lot of gratitude to me. But I'm grateful to her because raising her was one of the great experiences of my life. And I may be sober and alive today because she came into my life when she did.
Happy Birthday, Veronica…