Growing up I was always a daddy's girl. I am the youngest of 3 girls. My dad always says, he loves all his daughters the same, but we have a special bond. When I found out my dad was an alcoholic, I was shocked! You can read the full story of how I found out here.
I knew he had been going through a rough time for a few years, but my mom always chocked it up to depression and work stress. I had no idea the real reason....addiction.
When Everything Changed
All of a sudden, everything in my life seemed to change. I started remembering things from my childhood that were all starting to make sense. I remember my dad sitting me down multiple different times telling me if I ever felt dependent on my medication (I got bad migraines), to come to him and my mom immediately. I found out that my Papa (my dad's dad) was also an alcoholic. Then I started remembering a lot of our relatives from my dad's family that we were no longer in contact with because of their addiction.
It all started to make sense.
But I still couldn't believe it. My dad. My dad was an alcoholic and had been for years. How close was I with with my dad if I didn't even know. How good of a daughter was I that I couldn't see it and stop it? What was this life I was living? Had it all been a lie?
To Divorce or Not To Divorce?
Then years later, a time came with my mom she was seriously considering separation and/or divorce. This was another thing that rocked my world. My parents had always had the strongest marriage! They had been through so much. I couldn't believe this was even a discussion.
This scared me for more reasons than one. My dad and I were close. Even through his addiction, I stuck by him. Refused to give up. I never enabled him. There were times of tough love, but I never wanted him to feel alone. To hear more of my thoughts on why I reacted this way read "Called to Love".
My sisters couldn't handle it and had to put up some big boundaries. So when I thought of my mom leaving, I selfishly thought, "If she leaves, he will be all mine. I will have to do this alone because I can't divorce my dad."
I think that scared me just as much as the actual divorce. I couldn't imagine my mom without my dad or vise versa. I couldn't imagine what holidays would be like, or the big moments in life would look like anymore.
The Big Moments
Now let me be clear. The holidays and big moments over theses years have been terrible. I am truly scared and pray harder than ever before when we enter holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am always scared to answer the phone around those times because I don't want to hear the news.
Let's just say this past Christmas, only 5 days after I had my first baby, my dad went "missing" on Christmas Eve and then was found (at home) with a shattered shoulder. Holidays are not something we look forward to, but I would rather have the worst holidays as a whole family, then good holidays apart.
Doing Life Together
God wants us to walk through this life together. He wants us to be there for each other through all the ups and downs.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39)
Christ calls us to love. He calls us to forgive. He calls us to be there for our neighbors. Whether you are a wife, daughter, sister, or mother, you are called to love.
Set boundaries, take care of yourself, don't enable, but also don't fully abandon. Be there with love like Christ.
Lanie Graham is a wife, mother, teacher, and daughter of an addict. Her blog is called, ‘Speak Truth Over Addiction’, where she teaches others how to love like Christ without enabling addictive behaviors, but also setting up boundaries for themselves.