I read the following post on Instagram today:
People say all the time, “I’d die for my children.” Okay, but would you live for them? Actually live. Make better choices. Try practicing sobriety. Take better care of yourself physically and mentally? Your kids don’t need you to die for them. They need you to LIVE!
That’s one of those posts that really gives me pause. Of course, I would die for my kids if put in that unlikely position. The more likely situation though, and the one my kids would choose, is me living for them. Let’s start with just actually being here, physically present. Then clear headed and mentally present for them. Finally, how about being able to walk and run with them, throw a ball and go fishing? I know my kids need and want me for all of the above.
In active addiction, my wife, Natasha, and I would argue about my drinking, and eventually the conversations would always turn to the kids. Perpetually on the defensive, I would point out all of the things I did for and with the kids, trying to convince myself in the process that my actions were acceptable. Sure, I’ve always spent a ton of time with them, but I was almost NEVER present. My mind was a tangled ball of stress and anxiety, plotting the course to my next drink, all day, every day. The road I was on was leading to disaster. It was only a matter of time before I couldn’t run on the beach with them, even if I wanted to, if I was even there at all. Yeah, I would’ve died for my kids, but I was living so selfishly. Wrapped up in my own problems, I was feeling so put upon, and drowning my fears and anxieties in alcohol. That is no way to live or die.
“trying to convince myself in the process that my actions were acceptable.”
Yes, in sobriety, I’d still die for my kids if I had to, but living with them, and for them, is truly incredible. They deserve a dad that is there for them, physically and mentally, and now they have him. And you know what, I deserve to be that dad too! Watching them grow and learn, having real conversations with them, laughing together when making a TikTok, and crying together when our dog passes away. That’s life, that’s living. I’m going to be here for them for as long as I can, and not drinking is part of making that happen.