Monday, August 22, 2005
I was just out on the porch, having a smoke and drinking my after-dinner coffee. I put the cup down while reading a book. I picked up the cup and took a sip, and realized it was not the coffee cup I had set down. It was another one I had discarded the day before, still three fourths full of coffee.

I looked at this mug. It was one that Katie gave to me as a souvenir from her trip to New York. It has a big yellow taxi cab on it, and I love it. I took it back inside. Then, I went to sit down on the bed for a moment. On the nightstand was another coffee mug, next to a glass of water. I had left those there two nights before.

Then, inspiration struck, so I went into the office, where I presently sit, and, lo and behold, sits yet another discarded coffee cup. So, now, I've counted three coffee cups besides the one I'm drinking from that I have left about the house.

As a kid, my mother would remind me at least once a week to bring down all the dishes from my bedroom. I didn't have actual dishes, mind you, I just had cups. Lots of them. This was around the time that life in my home was really ape-shit weird. My mother and father were having marital problems, and I often heard them yelling at each other late at night. One night, I snuck down the stairs and stood in the shadows of the refrigerator, watching these two people fling words at one another like throwing knives. I folded a note into an airplane and flew it into the kitchen. The note said, "Please stop fighting." My mother stopped her tirade and my father took a sip of his martini. My mother read the note quietly and turned around to see me in the shadows, a wisp of a thing in a nightgown. Everything got very quiet, and for a moment, I thought I was in trouble.
"Go back to bed, honey," my mother said, and my father nodded. Shortly after, the argument ended, and I heard the clink of my father's glass on the counter. It was still half-full.

The arguments didn't end forever, of course, but that night, Dad put the drink down.

When I was seventeen, my father and mother separated. My mother told my father if he didn't stop drinking, she would leave him for good. I was happy about the separation in a way, because I was so tired of seeing them fight and seeing my father stumble around the home, intoxicated. Two weeks after the separation, I visited Dad at our home. We were sitting on the porch. I remember vividly how tired Dad looked.
Dad said, "Well, I know I've got a problem drinking." This was a shock, as he never intoned so much before.
"Yeah?" I said.
Dad told me he knew he had a problem when he went to a friend's house the night Mom and I left. His friend offered Dad a beer, and Dad realized he NEEDED that beer. Needed it like air.
When he told me this, he told me he was two weeks sober.

My father has only relapsed once, as I recall. And that was just a short time after this separation. I think it's been about six years since he has last had a drink. I admire him much for being able to let go of his crutch and take action. I admire him for being the intelligent kind person he is and the talks we have, now that he is sober.

As I go from room to room of my house, picking up discarded coffee cups and stacking them on the counter, I can't help but think about the things in my life I need to discard. It's time for me to grab life by the horns, get out of my job, and face the reality of things. It's time for me to stop fighting with nature and just get on with the show. It's time for me to leave what is broken behind and just pick up and move forward. Some people might harbor resentment against an alcoholic parent, but I just find that's a waste of time. In fact, I see a man who laid aside the half-full glass to pick up the cup which is bottomless.
Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

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