Two weeks ago, my dad Jesus Filiberto Mendez passed away at 69 years old. He died at his appartement in Caracas, Venezuela after being ill of Alcoholism for the past 30 years.
Having him died, made me realize three things:
- Life choices matter.
- Accepting others life choices is a great opportunity
- Living at choice requires a lot of courage.
Being at choice in life means and I quote:
You Always Have a Choice
Why all this matter to me?
My father’s life style, his illness and some of his manners had influenced importantly who I am. It had brought me to see the world with different lenses and made me a more compassionate, caring and loving human being.
It has helped me build courage and put learnins into practices and has showed how to deal with extremely difficult situations.
It has also helped me with shaping my facilitation and negotiation skills and because of it, I have me became a better man for my girls at home.
Life choices matter
My dad started to drink alcohol consistently when I was 9 years old. His life style, and how he became a totally different person once drunk, has affected my life forever.
His life choices turned his life and my family’s, into something really complex to manage, sometimes impossible to endure, for moments unbelievable and extremely difficult to explain and understand from outside.
His life choices caused suffering and pain to some, but mainly to himself. He was a person with a great charisma, always joking and trying to help others but himself.
My dad had his ways to keep people around him with charm, even when he was under the effect of the alcohol.
All I have mentioned above, have had an enormous impact over the person I am today.
It has helped with shaping my patience, the way I treat people, perceive and sense their feelings and emotions, the importance of caring and most importantly, to keep working hard to avoid judging others and myself.
Accepting others life choices is a great opportunity to grow
It took me more than 25 years to accept that:
- My father was ill of Alcoholism.
- Alcohol got the best out of him and brought horror to me and my family for years.
- I needed to forgive him and forgive mylsef.
- I needed to accept him when he was drunk or sober and be able to deal with both personalities at the same time.
- It was painful and that it would help me stop avoiding that feeling,
- It was a good thing to recognize that I am too much like him and that I’m proud of it.
- Could take his life choices as an opportunity for me to grow and be who I am today.
- I am going to miss him and his jokes.
- I need to stop facing the brutal effects of Alcoholism on him, as something he was doing to me instead of himself, and start helping him live the life he wanted.
- It took me time to see it all into perspective and I have learned so much out it.
Living at choice requires a lot of courage
I’m thankful for having you Dad in my life, for all you have offered me, for the goods and bads, for all the incredible, unbearable and unbelievable moments we shared together even from the distance.
For all I have learned about leadership and courage out of you and the other you, the alcoholic. You and my mother have shaped a father, a brother, a son, a friend and a human being that feels extremely proud of himself.
It has took tones of courage for me to share this post publicly, to express myself about something that marked my life forever and to live the life I has been living and accept the choices I have made and live with the consequences without any regret. To face myself in the mirror, every single day when coaching/mentoring or teaching groups to turn into teams. To allow myself to be the best father, husband, brother, son, friend and human being possible and enjoy it deeply. To allow myself to be imperfect, fail by experimenting and learn. And the most important lesson, to be grateful in life and have a lot of fun.
Alcoholism is an Illness, so this article is for those who are going through it, or are experiencing it through someone you care about.
Be patient, be there and face yourself though it and maybe you learn a trick or two about yourself and that person, who looks ugly from outside when wearing Alcohol but is still the other person you used to know.
Who always loved you dad, your son Jesus Enrique
Have a good trip!