In a word, my relationship with my family over the course of my life has been a tumultuous one at best. That is not to say that it has always been bad, but I can tell you with certainty that it has not always been good. They’ll be the first to tell you the same thing.
Recently my parents penned an article in our Family category entitled “Our Son’s Transformation”. It really got me thinking about my family, my gratitude for having them in my life, and the journey that we have been on these last 28 years.
I was not an easy child to say the least. I acted out, made a fool of myself, embarrassed anyone I was with (family or otherwise) and was generally a pain for anyone around me. That’s not to say I was inappropriate all the time, I knew when it was time for me to have manners, especially if it was for something I wanted.
“You have so much potential.”
I heard that phrase for years from my parents and close friends. I knew I was intelligent; I was blessed with a great education that my parents provided for me. But I acted ungrateful and never worked my hardest unless I had to. I didn’t see the point; I was entitled and always had a perceived safety net. Everything came easy.
I graduated 8th grade by the skin of my teeth and never even completed high school. I put my parents through a lot of anxiety by forcing my choices up against what they wanted for me. I knew they only wanted to see me succeed and be happy, but I had to do it my way, no matter how it made them feel. To be honest, I never considered their feelings when it came to my choices.
To hell and back
I don’t want to go so much into when it got really bad for me. Needless to say, despite graduating college after attaining a GED and attaining a great entry-level position in my field, the last 6 years before I got sober were turmoil for everyone in my life. My parents finally let me hit my own bottom, which was the best thing that could have ever happened.
Early sobriety didn’t come easy and there were many times where I wanted to go back to the way I was living before. I hadn’t been returned to sanity just yet. I oftentimes still played the victim and it was difficult for me to see my part in a lot of the events that had transpired over the previous three decades. But I came to the realization that I was where I was at because my parents had never given up on me. They finally allowed me to become the person they always knew I could be.
Today, my relationship with my parents is amazing. I call my dad for advice and he does the same. Three years ago, he would not even speak to me. The feeling of gratitude is sincere and permeates every decision I now make in my life, because I no longer take for granted the things that I have. I carefully consider how my actions directly affect other people, especially those that I care about, something I never did prior to getting sober.