Second Draft and a new direction, opinions welcome.

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Second Draft and a new direction, opinions welcome.

Postby cyclebanana » Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:47 pm

I had been warned, and so I had come armed with a sandwich and coffee. My father greeted me at the door and invited me to his kitchen table and after following him upstairs and sitting I suggested he eat something and have some coffee. He acquiesced, he said, because I had traveled from California to the east coast to see him. And I watched his shaking hands as they groped and grasped at the sandwich, like a child trying to hold a handful of sand. He moved in swaying yet shaky motions, a physical expression of the paradox of binge drinking, not only did his body shake from its withdrawal from far higher levels of alcohol, it also was completely uncoordinated because he was drop dead drunk. I had been told he had been drinking for over a week. And despite the seriousness of the situation, I momentarily basked in our reunion, over the kitchen table that had remained unmoved since my childhood. It stood in the same spot on the same unfinished floor, surrounded by the same unfinished walls, in a round house he had built for his family 30 years ago. The glow lasted only until I demanded for the vodka to be poured out. Then the shakes took over and for 3 days no one slept.
This summer my step mother called and requested my help. She told me she hoped that having family involved in an intervention would be more successful than her own attempts, which had not been effective. She warned his long term sobriety was an unlikely result. I therefore agreed only after I lowered my expectations and had enlisted my siblings support. We split the costs of a ticket and agreed to each house my father while he detoxed. I had most flexible schedule so I would go back and convince him to come out.
After our reunion and my dad returned to what could only be called a grouchy sobriety, I convinced him to return with me to my home and detox. Despite his aversion to planes he agreed, I think my presence still had a dramatizing effect in which he couldn’t help play his role. But after his wife warned me that she had to sometimes hide his clothes and keys so he wouldn’t go get alcohol when she was at work, I realized my role was going to have to much more of a prison guard then concerned son. And for the next two weeks as I enlisted hime to help build a pizza oven, we awkwardly played out the parade of our different roles: Father, Son, Caretaker, Addict, Teacher, Apprentice, Host, Guest, Guard, and Prisoner.
I soon passed him off to my siblings and two weeks later I heard he was off the wagon and driving back to the east coast. He was gone before anyone knew he had started drinking. He got half way before he was too drunk to drive. He was holed up in a hotel, but after a week the hotel called the cops, who call the hospital. He sobered up under the doctors’ care, but a couple hours after being discharged he crashed his car, having combine meds with vodka. Then he was sent to drunk tank. I didn’t know any of this until he called me from a limo that he hired and had just taken him back to car to pick up his clothes and his bottle of vodka.
I spent a long time thinking and talking about why my father drinks. My uncle who has watched his brother self-inflict suffering and watched him turn to alcohol as a teenager, thinks that my dad needs to move out of his old house and move on in life, closer to his family. I agree this would help. But when I am talking to my dad why he doesn’t move closer, he exudes a stubbornness and willfulness and declares that he is proud he lives on the land he was born on, proud he lives in the house he built, proud that he drinks like his father did and proud he remembers the his father’s stories. And I believe he thinks he would lose that connection to the past if he gave up his house or his vodka.
I feel lucky to have neither the chemical dependency nor the co-dependence that runs in my family which neither my sister nor brother were able to avoid. I feel proud that I was the first in my family to go to college. And when I think about how I did it, I think of the paradox of being my father’s son. Not only did he predispose me to dependency, he gave me willfulness and stubbornness to overcome it and achieve the goals I have set.
While my family has not provided the full gambit of traditional support, I have learned that I am built from the same stuff as my family I have used these attributes to my advantage. These attributes of aspiration, dedication, and acceptance have served me in my career and will continue to serve me in law school and my field.

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Re: Second Draft and a new direction, opinions welcome.

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:41 pm

Overall very strong writing/prose

Small problems:

You discuss how you are predisposed to willfulness and being stubborn which made you succeed okay, that makes sense.

However last paragraph you bust out aspiration, dedication and acceptance, I am not sure where you went from stubborn to aspiration.

Although you write very well, I dont think this is a statement that will get you anywhere where your numbers wont. Because it does not demonstrate anything else besides you write well, there is absolutely no reason for me to believe why you want to do law school, what you hope to achieve in law school, or if you even will succeed in an academic setting (I know you attempt to imply with your story that these skills will translate into an academic setting, the connection is somewhat weak to moderate, not compelling)

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