404 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 3 MAY 2020
at our first meeting. What I do remember is that I made good use of the tissue
box on the table between us. That was the first day of a relationship—
with LAP and with Derek—that would forever alter my life’s course for the
My second crisis, or my delayed reaction to a crisis that was already going
on in the background but I didn’t have the capacity to deal with, was my
father’s drinking.1 My dad was a late bloomer; he never drank when I was
young. He started drinking in his 50s soon after I disclosed to him that I had
been a victim of childhood sexual abuse by an extended family member.
This disclosure led to a massive schism in our family, including the
estrangement of his mother, my grandmother. He slowly sank into depression
and he self-medicated with alcohol. His alcohol use turned to abuse.
There were empty 26ers all over his home: in the garage, in the laundry
room, in the basement. I was terribly afraid for his well-being. I also,
wrongly, felt responsible for causing his drinking.
In 2014, I finally felt healthy enough to do something, anything to help
him. I went to Derek, who gave me guidance and the appropriate tools so
that I could approach my dad in a helpful way. I learned that alcoholism is
a disease. I also learned that I did not cause his disease, nor could I cure it
or control it. But I found the courage to get help so that I could give help,
without expectation of any miracles.
But a miracle did happen. Together with my brother, I approached my
dad about his drinking, coincidentally only a few days after he received a
benefits brochure at work offering coverage for treatment for addiction—
this is the kind of timing and coincidence that only some kind of higher
power can coordinate, to be sure. He was ready to get help. This past September,
my dad celebrated five years in recovery.
My third crisis arose shortly after I married my husband. My Facebook
friends probably think we had a picture-perfect, fairy-tale, whirlwind
romance to start but that was just on the surface: our early life together was
deeply affected by the terrifying disease of alcoholism.2
My husband and I met in late October 2016. By January 2017, we were
pregnant. We married in February 2017. With such a quick courtship, he
was reasonably successful at hiding his disease from me. If I am honest with
myself, I did notice warning signs, but it was convenient for me to ignore
them at the time.
I was able to ignore those signs until his disease truly reared its ugly
head, on the first night of our honeymoon, in Rome, Italy. He suffered an
alcoholic delirium. We ended up at the hospital, taken there by paramedics
and police. Yes, I sat in the back of a police car for the first and hopefully the