Grandpa Will Fix It

“Grandpa will fix it”, my 3 year old replied anytime something broke down. My dad can fix almost anything and has never been afraid to try to fix something new. Nothing stops him from trying, even if he has to do a little research and make a few attempts to succeed. The bravest thing I’ve ever seen him try to fix is his drinking. My dad began drinking at a young age. By the time he married my mom, he was an alcoholic. He did the things addicts did like saying and doing hurtful things, making excuses for his drinking, shifting blame, and lying. We would give him the message that we didn’t approve. Once, a can of beer got knocked over on accident, spilling beer on the carpet. My brother replied, honestly but humorously, “it wouldn’t have spilled if you weren’t drinking”. My dad even chuckled. He knew it was true. He was a good person, had a great job, was active in our church, loved God, and he loved us. I have amazing memories with my dad when I was a kid. But he had a problem, and his brain, processing alcohol differently than most, wouldn’t quit telling him to drink more. And more. He attempted leaving alcohol for good, and his sobriety would have a good run for a couple of months. But, then, small hands and small eyes would usually find the evidence. “But if I don’t say anything, maybe it won’t be true”, reasoned an innocent and hopeful heart. For my dad and his attempt at sobriety, there was more than one failed attempt. And our hearts grew sick.

Then, one day, he quit one final time. It was a day that seemed to come out of nowhere. We didn’t know then that it was the final time. But God knew. He poured out all of the beer into a bucket in his favorite drinking place: the garage. He was going to show my mom and make a declaration of a promise. On his way, he tripped and spilled the beer on himself. There was spilled beer again, but this time it came with tears of joy and amends. So, when he tried talking with her, she thought he was drunk. That was the rough beginning of his sobriety.

Recovery requires admitting your problem is bigger than you but not bigger than God. It involves taking an honest look at yourself and making amends. Rebuilding hope and rebuilding trust. It takes courage, transparency, risk, humility, and grace. Recovery is a lifelong battle but a daily choice. It doesn’t come easy, and it can take years to rebuild the things that were damaged. And sometimes you have to build a whole new thing. Pour a new foundation. It took a long time for my parents to learn how to be married as husband and wife instead of alcoholic and enabler. For us to have a dad that was connected and dependable. But my dad, no matter how difficult it was, never gave up. No, not this time. His run of sobriety has lasted 25 years and counting. He’s into repairing things now. He’s the handy man, the problem solver. He’s the one I call when I need strong, solid advice. And he’s dependable to answer. He continues to be transformed by his Heavenly Father to be more like Him. And when I hear my kids say, “Grandpa will fix it”, I hear a truth that is bigger than they realize. I hear that they confidently and without a doubt trust him with his word. No questions asked. When Grandpa says he will do something, he means it. And the father’s word is everything.