I was born and raised in a Catholic home. I remember attending church with my parents but I sensed early on as a young child that my father was not living out his vocation and role as a husband and father. My father was an alcoholic, and because of his addiction, he was unable to be fully present to his family, or to teach me and prepare me for life the way a young boy needed.
I missed out on having a personal relationship with my father, on experiencing his love and acceptance. I was not given a proper example of how I should conduct myself as a mature person. Having personally experienced what life was like with an alcoholic father, I told myself many times that I would be different towards my own family, that there would be joy and love, mutual understanding and peace in the home; the very things that were missing in my own home and upbringing.
After I got married and started my own family, I came to realize that things were not so easy as I had imagined them to be. I struggled with dealing with my obligations as a husband, father, and provider. Often times alcohol served as a comfort and means to deal with daily challenges, but then it was followed by feelings of guilt, remorse, bitterness, and regret. Even hatred towards my father would surface for not having prepared me for life’s circumstances. I grieved over my father’s inability to model for me how to be a good husband, father, and man. I was terrified and panicked by the fact that I was becoming just like my father. I sought solace through alcohol, and of course, that made things worse.
While moving through life in this way, I longed for something more. I sensed that there was more.
I owe so much to my wife, who kept our family together, and never stopped believing that things could be different, better… that I could become the man she knew I could be. I knew that I needed help. I knew that the future wellbeing of my family, marriage, and the good of my 3 children depended on me becoming the man God called me to be. but at the same time feeling I couldn’t do it by myself. I needed help and direction. I needed God, and a renewed sense of faith and prayer to rise above the pain, hurts, resentment, and challenges.
Having exhausted various avenues, I cried out to God for help. It was then in the experience of powerlessness and sincere sorrow that God answered the call of my heart. He sent a friend my way who then reintroduced me to God and His mercy, to the loving protection of our Mother Mary, and who invited me to model my life after the example of St. Joseph in my call to be father, and to model our family after the example of the Holy Family.
It has been a long journey, but ever-grateful to the Lord, I am happy to share that I am alcohol-free for the last seven years. There have been many good days, tougher days, but I am better equipped to deal with them than ever before. My wife and I have been engaged in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and the experience of the Spirit’s current of grace has been life-transforming.
Not only have I come to know Jesus in a personal and intimate way, received a new and ongoing outpouring of the Spirit, discovered that I am loved by my Heavenly Father, but through this new life in the Spirit, I have come to terms with my past, and have been given the grace to forgive and pray for the eternal repose of my earthly father. I have come to know God and that He is with me always, and that with Him all things are possible.
Thanks to God, my relationships with my wife and children have improved and I have become a better husband and father, and that my family can count and rely on me. Recently my wife shared with me that I remind her of St. Joseph!
Yes, with God, all things are possible, all things are made new.
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers