Friday, May 14, 2010

Ocean Side Thoughts.......

Hola, Buenas Dias.

It's a beautiful Friday morning here in South Padre, Texas.

Ever since reading, "The Primal Blueprint" I've wanted to do sprints on a beach and today was my day! It was lovely- running along the waves; definitely beats a treadmill. After my sprints I did squats, push-ups, and planks. I don't have a gym at my condo so this will have to do. Follow that with an invigorating swim and I feel amazing.

I decided to take a quick trip down to see my father- it's been an adventure: a lovely, difficult, relaxing, self-growth promoting adventure; just the stuff good life is made up of.

My entire life my Dad has struggled with alcohol. I've known him as an alcoholic my entire life, but not a drunk. He always worked and was functional. I haven't spent much one on one time with him over the last few years. I moved around the US, he stayed in Austin. The elephant in the room has always been his addiction and it wedged between us creating a discomfort I wasn't able to penetrate.

Over the last year or so I've made a real concerted effort to rehabilitate our relationship (although I'm not sure in his eyes there was ever anything wrong). I've gotten much closer to him and spending time one on one with him is a big step. It takes a lot of nerve on my behalf, a willingness to weather the long silences and awkward moments. The times when he looks at me with surprise as if he doesn't know me or I'm stranger; questions about me that anyone who knows me knows the answer to; comments about me that were relative fifteen years ago but have since expired...A while back I went on a road trip with him- a big step. Coming to the beach with him-even a bigger step.

He's retired now and spends a lot of time down here, it's safe to say he actually lives here about half the year. I have enjoyed meeting his friends- you can learn a lot about someone by how those around react to him. They are good people and it's obvious my Dad is loved; but it's also painfully obvious that he is a drunk, and so are his friends.

While I'm used to being his designated driver (he used to say he couldn't wait until I had my license and he held me to it), I am not used to him being a drunk. Of course, living with an alcoholic I've seen him wasted. But this is different. His alcoholism has taken a dangerous plunge, one that I fear will see no return. He antics are those of a college age boy in Cancun- delirious, stumbling, loud, irrational. It's a hard situation to look your Dad in his eyes and not see him there, but glazed over eyes of a strange man peering back. I don't know the man he becomes- but I do know it's not my father.

In a sober moment I told him that I care about him and love him deeply and asked him to please take good care of himself because I want him around. He laughed nervously- but I know he heard me. Matter of fact, he went a day and a half booze free after that conversation.

Unfortunately last night saw the demons arrive again.

This has been a real growth experience for me. In the past, I would be so scared I would run to food for comfort. Now, I am able to face my emotions and push through them. I recently read that your body's appearance is a reflection of the beliefs you have about yourself. This resonates with me and it is helping to affirm the changes I've made in my belief system. It is a real win for me to be able to face the pain and uncertainty, and even fear related to seeing my Dad drunk and feel it. Not run or squash it, but be there- and perceive what is occurring. Food might temporarily numb me, but does nothing to handle the situation at hand.

Being able to speak my peace to my Dad and articulate my concern, while still loving him unconditionally and enjoying all the good that is there brought me peace, self growth, and acceptance. Now that's what I call a good vacation.


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