My wife and I committed our lives, our marriage, and our family to the Lord early in life. We were blessed with two sons and daughters-in-law and four grandchildren.

Brian, our second born, challenged with alcoholism, was always the sensitive, caring, loving son, reminding me in uncanny ways of my own father. He excelled in school, was success oriented, earning his master’s degree and feeling the support of family and friends.

Brian initially drank socially but following a car accident that resulted in the death of the other driver and the looming threat of a civil lawsuit over the course of two years, he turned to hard liquor and increased his drinking as a coping mechanism. Despite ultimately reaching an out-of-court settlement that legally resolved his situation, Brian’s reliance on alcohol as a coping mechanism remained, and he continued to struggle with alcohol abuse.

Brian and his wife experienced his near death when during his second rehab stay, his liver quickly and completely failed. He was taken to the hospital where we found him in a medically induced coma, awaiting a suitable donor and transplant surgery. The harsh warning from his physicians was that if he did not quit drinking, he would have one year to live.

Although Brian went through an intensive outpatient program and has consistently controlled and reduced his alcohol intake and holds a steady job, he has never quit drinking.

We discovered early on that playing detective and attempting to enforce sobriety for Brian was futile. Our question, ‘Who can understand what we feel and answer our questions, helping us deal with lost dreams, hopelessness, shame, and conceivable loss of a son?’ was heavy.

In search of support and answers, my wife discovered PAL. With great facilitators and fellow PAL participants, we have learned to not let our fear control our behavior as we cannot prevent terrible things from happening. One of the biggest ideas we have also learned is that we did not cause this, we cannot control it, and we cannot cure it. Hope returns as we connect with others who are successfully navigating similar experiences. We have also learned as his parents to relinquish his care and future to the Lord.

We don’t know how long Brian’s recovery will take but we’ve also learned that his recovery will take as long as it takes, and that relapse is part of recovery. We can only do for Brian what he is incapable of doing for himself and we must accept that painful experiences are a good teacher. I attached myself to the wisdom and teaching of Mike Speakman and PAL like a foundering swimmer to a life ring.

Not instantly, but with many months of PAL’s help, my moment of clarity and peace did arrive. In PAL I found Godly counsel, assisting me in my spiritual growth, in the darkest hours of my life. I so want this for you as well.

We are now five years beyond the liver transplant and God is so merciful. And regardless of our son’s outcome with alcoholism, God remains faithful.

– A PAL father