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Thank you, Kathy, for this honest and moving post. You are brave to share your pain, and I'm sorry you lost your father in this manner.

As you know, my son struggles with addiction. He has been clean/sober for 2 years+ now. One thing I learned through the many rough times we experienced is to cleave to the Lifeguard Rule: Save yourself first.

Thank God for AA and all its umbrella organizations.

Kathy Reschini Sweeney

Proud of you, Ramona, for saving yourself and for reaching out to others. xo


Extremely brave of you, Kathy. I am sorry you lost your dad and sorrier for the circumstances. Everything you wrote is right on the money.

The central miracle of my life was finding my way into AA, exactly half a life ago. I can't imagine what kind of mother (or sister or daughter or friend or artist) I'd have been had I not stumbled into my first meeting. And years later, when divorce was breaking my heart and making me crazy, Alanon saved me.

I love you, Kathy. Your dad was lucky to have you as his kid. Your whole family is lucky.

Elaine Viets

Very sorry about your father, Kathy, but you have fought hard not to follow in his footsteps. An AA group is so important to get you through the bad times.


Eloquent, as always. Much love to you, babycakes.


I went to ACOA in my 20's as well. Sure does help doesn't it.

Sorry that your dad never got sober. Dying to get sober is not the way to go.


I'm very moved by this. I worry about my significant (sometimes not so significant) other as his Dad was one in a long line of alcoholics. His sister, a nurse, lost her job because of addiction due to taking drugs after an on the job back injury. He doesn't drink, take drugs or smoke but I feel like I am waiting for that other shoe to drop. Thank you for sharing this Kathy.


It killed my parents. They didn't make 60. Being their child was hell. A horror.

Diane Hurd

I always love reading your posts but this one deeply touched my heart. Thanks for your courage in bringing up the really touch subjects! Recovery is possible and AA and Alanon have changed my family in ways we never imagined. I'd be happy to share my experience, strength and hope with anyone who's looking for help!

Aunt Lanie

Being the sister of Kathy's Dad and trying to hang onto some kind of a relationship with him was the most difficult thing I have ever had to deal with and that includes 2 bouts with cancer.

I was having dinner with a dear friend who was dying of cancer when my brother walked into the restaurant alone and this was the month before he died. Looking at him and looking at her was such a contrast. Many say alcoholism is a disease but I couldn't separate out my friends cancer with his drinking. She was very sick but hadn't said and done lots of stuff to evrybody in her family that was unpleasant.

She knew the whole situation was really bothering me and we both knew he didn't have long on the planet. She said, "I'll wait for you in the car. Go over to your brother's table and talk to him." Good advice. We talked and I think it made both of us feel better. It was the first conversation in years that was a positive one. It was basically our last talk except for the one at the hospital before he died.

Yes, I remember it is his 76th birthday. I have his photo on my frig. He was the big brown eyed brother at 10 years old and I was the little sister who he always took care of.

I hope fewer people will have to go through the pain of addiction. There is no handbook on how to do it.

Ending with a positive note--my dear friend survived her cancer and has been clear.

Kathy Reschini Sweeney

Aunt Lanie, your comment made me cry. So much pain. I am so thankful you had a the opportunity for a peaceful good-bye to your big brother. I have that same photo of you two on my desk.

I hope the best thing we can do for the future generations of our family is to TALK about this terrible issue - knowledge is power and the only real way to combat a continuation of the cycle.

Love you.


Kathy's Aunt Lanie - you are awesome!


The AA saying is "we are as sick as the secrets we keep" but it takes a lot of courage to be the one to pipe up and talk about it. Especially if there's a family rule about not airing dirty laundry. Which there generally is.

You and your Aunt Lainie inspire me.


<3 I'm glad you can talk about this. I'm so sorry :(

Susan D.

Love you, Woman!

Karen in Ohio

Kathy, we are sisters under the skin. My dad was an alcoholic, the kind who drank himself into a stupor (on beer) and then abused the hell out of his family with his words. Since I was the oldest kid, I took a lot of the brunt of it. It's so complicated, isn't it? You love the person so much, but you cannot stand to be with them. He could never hold a job, and my mother had to go to work when I was a toddler, just to make ends meet. This was in the fifties, when women made less pay that servants, even in offices where they had to keep up their appearance.

My dad died when I was 17; he was not yet 40. It was a defining moment in my life, and has informed nearly every choice I've made in the last 44 years. How could it not?

Thank you for sharing your dad's, and your, story, dear. Peace.

Kathy Reschini Sweeney

Thank you, my friends, for sharing your thoughts and your own pain.

I truly believe that one way to break the cycle of addiction, co-dependency and dysfunction is to be open and honest about it.

Many of my cousins feel the same way, and I pray that the next generation will have a better chance of living healthier lives.

I also wanted to share that I have heard from other people suffering as a result of addiction who wanted to communicate privately. Please pray that they will keep taking steps in the right direction.

Love you.


Thanks SO much for sharing this. You have no idea how this has helped with understanding things better because, as sad as this awful addiction is, we have a brother who is a HORRIBLE alcoholic!! The only one of 9 kids and the only one in our family but he is a mess and has destroyed his relationship with his own family (lost his wife through divorce and kids who will not talk with him). I so appreciate your honesty and my heart goes out to you. It makes me think of my dear nieces and nephews who are going through so much with their own Dad what you went through with yours. We have done EVERYTHING we can and he is one "lucky" man, if you can call it that, with the "help" we TRIED to give him. Thousands of dollars spent to help him yet....no appreciation from him and still an alcoholic. However, in hindsight, WE needed to understand addiction better because we were also enablers without realizing it. Thank you again and again! You have no idea how this has helped in so many ways. Sadly, he is "choosing" alcohol over all else in life...wonderful family relationships, including seeing his own sweet grandchildren. ~Blessings to you always.

Kathy Reschini Sweeney

Margie- get to an Al-Anon meeting. If the first group you find isn't a good fit, look for another one. They really can help save your sanity.

I would give the same advice to the rest of your family - especially when others make sacrifices (money, time, emotion) in an effort to help an addict - the resentment can eat at you like poison.

Hang in there!


Thanks so much, Kathy! You are helping people more than you probably realize!!

Diane Russom Harrison

My father was one of 11 children 9 of which had a problem with alcohol. Some were full blown alcoholics; some were alcohol abusers, my father being one of those.
Neither I nor any of my siblings drink. My daughter does not drink. We are too aware of the dangers of genetic addiction.
Unfortunately, I have watched the ravages of addiction in my cousins and their children. I can do nothing but pray that they will get help.
Thanks for your guts and honesty in your blog. We have missed you and are glad you are back!


Dearest Kathy ~ it takes incredible strength to be able to take a stand for something so important, in the hopes that it will help others or save others. Hugs to you and your family.

Diane Pugliese Grindle

I remember a good man--my cousin, Roger, before alcohol took him. I mourned him then. The problem is that you continue to mourn the loss of that person even though they still live.

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