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Love and alcohol

“Love is watching someone die.”

I had never truly appreciated the lyrical content of the Death Cab for Cutie song, “What Sarah Said” until this past summer. A man whom I had known for the better part of my life lay in the Intensive Care Unit of University of Maryland Hospital, degraded to a near vegetable bcause of something that he let consume his life.

My stepfather was an alcoholic. He was also a man of great worldly wisdom who loved his family and all children. Most important to me, he was a man who loved my mother and loved me.

And hopefully he will be again in the future. But for now, my step dad is a man struggling to progress from a child-like state to become the man that we know and will always love.

This man fought for most of his life with the god of wine. He quit drinking nearly a dozen times. It wasn’t until this summer that perhaps he realized that he could never really free himself from alcohol’s bondage. Maybe he got tired of disappointing his family.

Whatever thought caused him to attempt to take his life, it was alcohol that gave him the strength to do it.

The doctors told us that first night that he would probably not live to see the morning and that he would “probably achieve that which he set out to do,” to quote my aunt.

Answered prayer after answered prayer saw this man who should be dead achieve progress that would baffle every medical professional that he met.

Now he lives and is able to think and communicate. Although there is a long road ahead of him in his attempt to live again, alcohol failed where God prevailed.

So after spending the latter portion of my summer watching a man die in the university hospital, I came to realize that experiences like this create such awareness of what love really is.

Love is a man on a hospital bed fighting to live. Love is a wife and mother doing everything she can to help that man. Love is the miracle that saved my father’s life from alcohol and suicide.

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