My father was an alcoholic for most of his life. When I was born, he was 37 and was a full blown violent alcoholic. In my teens, my mom and sister left for fear of our lives. This brought him to his "rock bottom" and he sought help through AA and the VA Hospital's Detox Center. He had tried many times before to quit, but could not do it on his own. With this help, he was able to quit and stay sober.I remember my Dad teaching my sister and I how to shoot for the stars and instilling in us a drive to always stay alive no matter the circumstance. He taught us to shoot and shoot well. We won awards and he was proud of us. Whenever there was anything going on that threatened my sister or I, if he were sober enough, he would go to bat for us. He would protect us. He died of lung cancer which was surprising, we all thought he'd die of cirrhosis of the liver, but lung cancer took him. Before my Dad died, I was able to forgive him for all that had happened in our lives. And I was able to ask him to forgive me for all of the bad thoughts I'd had about him. He was never the perfect Dad, but he was as perfect as he could be and I realized that was all I needed. He loved the outdoors, hunting, fishing and just being outside. I wish I'd had more time to get to know him. We reconciled only about a month before he passed. I miss him very much, and because of his love of the outdoors, he told me that his "God of his understanding" were the stars. So, now, when I need to talk to him I just go outside and look up and talk. It is very cathartic for me.I know now that he was a good man with a bad disease and I saw him try for years to quit. I'm so glad that he died sober. What an accomplishment. He was a winner. I love him and miss him every day.
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