They Won

This is the kind of story that never gets old.

Daddy knew he needed to make a change.

To get better.

To save his life and ours.

He moved all of us to a whole new life in another state. Far away from the drinking binges and the fighting and the rehab centers that didn’t work. Far away from what happened and what was…… something good and better.

The convoy to our fresh start rolled out one early summer morning in 1982. As a preteen I was probably less annoyed than most kids my age would have been. I knew I’d miss my friends but I was ready for something better. The hope of a calmer life, a different house, and a new school filled my heart. Moving day was a good day.

My sisters and I weren’t the only ones at a new school. Part of Daddy’s new life included seminary and he began the night courses eagerly. He took careful notes in class and squeezed study time in when he could.

I can’t remember the day or the month or the season, but before the end of the first year, Daddy started drinking again.

Mom was devastated. She never told me that, but I know. Daddy was too. When you’re a kid you have no idea what your parents are going through. Then you grow up and endure your own heartaches and one day, without meaning to, you feel the pain of your mom’s fear or the torment of your dad’s struggle with alcohol.

For the next decade, Daddy lost the battle with alcohol over and over and over again.

Ten years.

Ten more years of the chaos and violence. Ten more years of tears and sorrow. Regretting the move, resenting the losses. Ten more years of emergency room visits and halfway houses. Ten more years of job changes and the financial strain and moving from house to house.

I’m sure Daddy remembered the day he took his last drink. He may have counted the days, but he never told us. After about a year of him not drinking……we realized he wasn’t drinking. Then it was two years, then five. Ten years sober, then 20 years.

Daddy was sober for almost 23 years when he passed away in 2014.

Twenty three years of healing and restored relationships. Twenty three years of good memories. Twenty three years of the sweetest grace.

They won. My parents pressed through and marched on. They fought the good fight and fought with each other. They messed up but moved forward. There were days they wanted to, but they didn’t give up.

The long view is what got them through. The good days helped them see beyond the bad ones. When everything was falling apart they believed it could all come together. Love does that. It sees longer and deeper and wider. So my parents kept going. One day at a time. And they won.

The last time Mom and Daddy were face to face and held each others’ hands they weren’t thinking of the hard years. They were thankful for the moment and all the years that got them there.

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  1. brucewmartin on September 30, 2017 at 7:40 am

    I remember those years well. I couldn’t recall what year he stopped drinking though. I love your words about taking the long look. This is true for every part of our life in light of eternity.

    • mariegriffith on September 30, 2017 at 9:41 am

      The long view is the best kind of view. Thanks Bruce.

  2. soletusknow on September 30, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Thank you so much for sharing…

    • mariegriffith on September 30, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Thank you. Just think of it….my parents were married for 51 years. They made it through the first 28 to get to the really good ones.

      • soletusknow on September 30, 2017 at 11:11 am

        Awesome. (my husband and I have been married 27…he is an alcoholic as well…sober for 5 years…your story was encouraging and made me thankful that we’ve continue to press on through the difficult times…as well as gave me glimmers of hope and healing for my kids. There were a lot of difficult times…) <3

        • mariegriffith on September 30, 2017 at 11:31 am

          Congratulations on 27 years! My healing journey is such a beautiful story. I can say this with complete honesty: I wouldn’t change any of it. God takes broken things and makes beautiful ones. And hope does not disappoint. Romans 5:5

  3. Kate on December 5, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Very touching. I am glad your parents could win.

  4. Restart | Wired With Words on March 10, 2018 at 10:44 am

    […] They Won – Live Like It Matters […]

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