This I Believe

Adriana - chicago, Illinois
Entered on May 7, 2007

Adriana Mena

I Believe In Second Chances

Do we need others to give us a second chance or can we do it ourselves? Many people don’t believe in second chances; they think people only deserve one shot to get it right. Other people believe that it is through mistakes and second chances that one appreciates and makes the best out of life. I used to be someone who believed that people only deserved one chance; and if they screwed up… they were out of luck. As a little girl, I realized through my father’s experience that we can give ourselves second chances.

At the age of ten, I encountered one of the most shocking images I could have ever imagined. I opened the plastic curtain in my bathroom and found splats of blood and chunks of liver on the bottom of the white cemented bathtub. I never knew alcoholism could get this bad, or so I thought at this age. My father was 50 years old and dying of alcoholism; he was literally throwing up his liver.

About a week later, my sisters, my mother and I were cleaning the house when the phone rang and my mother went to reach for it. My father was on the other line, mumbling to my mother to come and pick him up off the streets because he felt like he was dying of dehydration and abdominal pain. We picked him up and rushed him to the emergency room of the nearest hospital. After running some tests, the doctors told us that he would die within the next year if he kept drinking like he was doing now. This was the turning point where my father realized he had to stop his deadly addiction.

My father found his strength to stop drinking in our family and in his faith in the Lord. Every night before we went to bed I would see him by the edge of the bed on his knees praying to God. I was so proud of him, but at the same time I was terrified because I knew that a moment of weakness could take my father away from me, forever. During our family parties my parents often found themselves surrounded by our drunken relatives; such events would make my father uneasy, but my mother was always by his side telling him that we would get through it. I know that what he went through was very hard, but he always thanked us for the support and love we gave him. My father had given himself a second chance at life.

One day, my father said to me, “I realized that I was about to die and could not bare the thought of leaving my family like this.” He has taught me that it is never too late to give yourself a second chance, even when you are at the brink of your own death. It is because of him that I have changed the way I look at life. I now know that we are all human, far from perfect, and make bad choices thorough out our lives, which is why we all deserve to give ourselves second chances.