From the June 2011 magazine.

Fathers and Sons

A man reflects upon both his own alcoholism and that of a father, who never made it to the rooms of AA

He called me inside, and with tears in his eyes, said "Son, I just can't stop drinking!"

I'm 53 years old. I entered AA 15 years ago and I'm sober 6 years. I grew up in Brooklyn with my father, mother and brother. I didn't see my father until I was 6 years old, when he returned from the army. Or so I was told. He was actually returning from a stretch in prison. My next surprise in the years to follow was finding out he was a violent, raging alcoholic who took his anger out by beating my mother, my brother and me. The physical abuse was bad enough, but the mental abuse hurt and lingered more. My mother and father divorced in 1977, and my brother and father haven't seen each other, or spoken since.

He blamed his drinking on the rough life he had. For me there was much heartache growing up. I remember one particular occasion when I was 10 years old. My father was drunk and crying in his bedroom. He called me inside and, with tears in his eyes, said "Son, I just can't stop drinking!" Then he took out a gun and put it in his mouth. I remember being transfixed. I was also confused. I didn't know exactly what he planned to do.

-- Anthony, R.

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