Those who know me well know that I never ask for help, probably to a fault, and will only ask when it’s absolutely essential. This is essential.
My dad is…was…my best friend. I owe him everything that I am. He is the reason I help people, the reason I love and have empathy, the reason I care so much, and the reason I see things through rose colored glasses. He’s the reason I am 100% unabashedly myself, why I’m open and honest, and yes, he’s the reason I’m a bit strange, too.
The reason my dad was able to be present and awesome for me for decades was because he made a decision in his early 20s to get clean from years of abusing drugs and alcohol, and he stuck to it. He was going to be a single dad of 2 girls, and they were certainly going to need their father. So, he said “I’m done,” he asked the Universe, or God, or what/whomever he could ask for support, and he was done. He supported his decision by going to AA meetings, and kept his community close, played music in a band, finished college, got a girlfriend, got married, moved to the suburbs – and along the way managed to keep my sister and me out of trouble…for the most part ;)
When I think about my family history, my upbringing, and all that could have gone wrong, I realize that my dad’s love is the reason I’m not an addict, but unfortunately, he is. Around 7 years ago, he started drinking again as a way to supplement the maxed-out dose of pain killers he was prescribed to handle back pain. He went without alcohol for around 25 years, so surely he would be able to control this, right? Not so much. I’ll spare you the painful stories of damage…damaged trust, hearts, relationships, cars, family gatherings, savings accounts, dreams, and so much more. I’m sparing you because if you have ever known someone who suffers with addiction, you already know these stories.
Over the last year, I’ve observed my dad turning the corner. His vocabulary went from suicidal thoughts to, “I can stop whenever I want” and then to, “I know this is a problem.” Now he is saying, “I absolutely hate drinking, I hate being drunk, but it’s all I feel I have to numb myself.” He misses having community, and he knows he needs physical, mental, and emotional support to get through it this time. He's finally planning his next steps to heal.
I have been looking into treatment centers, and found one that really speaks to us, called Refuge Recovery in California, with a Buddhist-based recovery program. I initially learned of them after going to a few guided meditations at Wanderlust with their founder, Noah Levine. Today, RR called me saying that they have 1 bed available…OK, now I’m excited, go on! Well, on checking his insurance coverage, it would be at the very least $15,000 for the program, after he completed a $1000/day full medical detox for around a week. A dear gal named Kaitlin from Refuge Recovery was able to make some calls and secure a sponsorship from a partner hospital to do his entire medical detox for $2,000 out of pocket, but all-in-all, getting my dad to California, detoxed, and through a 30-day program will be around $20,000.
So, I went to visit my dad this afternoon and we spoke for a few hours about it…about everything…everything besides the price. It was a good day. He thanked me. My step-mom came home from work and my dad said, much to her surprise, “Alex is sending me to rehab.” He liked the idea of it all and he is ready...desperate, really. Then, the cost issue came up and he started to second guess everything. He’s already put too much stress on her, on the family, and this was just another way that he’d be a burden.
I hate that I can’t help much, but I know a lot of really amazing people who can help a little. Maybe together, no one needs to take on such a heavy burden, and he can simply get better because that’s all he wants. All I want is to have my best friend back, and to watch him live the rest of his life happily and at peace. So, here I am, humbly asking for help. I don’t have much money, but I do have time and skills (as a super awesome helper and nutritionist), and I’m willing to offer my time and/or skills as a volunteer at your favorite charity, or helping with yours or a friend’s nutrition in exchange for a contribution to my family. Even if you have $10 to spare, please do, and when you reach out for my help, I’ll be there. I want so badly to be able to call back Refuge Recovery and ask them to hold that last spot.
Many of you have generously donated to hurricane relief recently, and some don’t have the means to donate, and that’s ok. For those who can’t help right now, we’d appreciate you sending over some positive vibes for my dad and the challenges he is about to face. Truly, the fact that you’ve read this entire thing shows so much loving kindness and support, and I can’t thank you enough.
With gratitude beyond words,
PS. I will soon have a page set up at tix4cause.com if anyone has tickets for sporting events, concerts, theater, etc. that they would be willing to donate, so that the sales of those tickets could go to this cause.
- Sarah Urbut
- Jacob Petersen
- Ryan Reynolds
- Steven Hildebrand
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