This I Believe

Amy - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on October 5, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: change
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I believe that people can change. It’s not easy, it’s usually the exact opposite, but it can be done with enough spirit and motivation. One of the people that I am most proud of for succeeding in this challenge is my father.

My dad’s side of the family is very large, very Irish, and very alcohol-oriented. Every family function is basically a huge party. The Jamiesons are very fun, but it’s also very rare for me to see them without there being a lot of drinking. Drinking is not necessarily wrong; however, this cultural attitude has caused a lot of problems for my family.

My dad, having grown up surrounded by drinking, started at a very young age, along with his brothers and sisters. He had always drunk often, but it wasn’t an obvious problem until I was about eight years old. At that time my dad realized he was an alcoholic, and took the action to help himself conquer his problem. He went to AA meetings, where they believe that alcoholism is a disease. I think this philosophy explains a lot of what contributes to alcoholism. While it’s not solely responsible, I know that the atmosphere and culture my dad was brought up in made a big difference in drinking. It’s for this reason that I am so proud of him for overcoming the problem. It must have been so hard for him to say no to a drink when seeing his brothers, or going out with friends, but he did it. He has been sober for almost eight years now.

My dad’s brother David was in a lot deeper than my dad ever was. He was in and out of the hospital, and a few times we thought he might die. He’s such a sweet guy, and this thought was hard on everyone. Now Dave has a solid job, a beautiful house, and a new girlfriend. My dad and his brother are so strong, and they prove to me that anyone can change. They just have to want it badly enough.

I hate when people say that no one really changes. This takes control away from yourself, and I think it’s just an excuse not to act. Whenever I’m tempted to say that I can’t do anything about a quality in myself I don’t like, I try to remember those who have succeeded in changing what they don’t like. People can change. This, I most absolutely believe.