Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

Father's Day is a holiday that leaves me with mixed feelings. Probably because it dredges up old memories.

I have children who honor me with cards and gifts. And for that I'm grateful. And I try to be the best father that I can.  They bless me.

But the day also carries memories of the terrible relationship I had with my alcoholic father.

I remember when someone called to tell me he dropped dead at 60 from alcoholism I said "good."  And I meant it.  That's how angry I was at him for much of my life. In fact we never spoke the last 15 years he was alive.

Much of my outlook on life came from witnessing the violence and anger of my father's drinking. And quite likely my own path down the road of crime and prison stems my relationship with him.

As a child I was never nurtured by him. I never remember my father touching me except in anger as he was kicking my ass. So I learned to became an angry alcoholic, though I never took my anger out on my children. I ended up becoming a criminal and a sociopath who only felt good when I was out of my mind from drugs and alcohol - harming myself.

In the eighties I visited the cemetery in Ohio where he's in an unmarked grave to try some forgiveness. I'm not sure how well it worked because sometimes feelings of resentment and anger will come back to life.

Today I congratulate those of you who are loving and kind fathers. You are an example to your children. You send them into the world with a template for living. An example of how to treat others.

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