By Kimberly Spicer Standley

This month marks ten years without my Dad. I think of him everyday. I hate that he is dead, and I hate how he died. I hate it that alcohol is so powerful that it can consume anyone. A person can be smart, kind, successful, and respectable; and still lose to alcoholism. My Dad was an extremely successful business man, he was popular, he was happy, he had a loving heart, he took care of his family and friends, he was funny, he dressed better than anyone I’ve ever met, he made 5 holes in one during his life, and his laugh could be heard from miles away.

For so long I was so mad that he didn’t stop drinking. I didn’t understand. In the ten years that he’s been gone I’ve learned a lot. I’ve also lost more friends to addiction than I thought was humanly possible. Two months ago my best friend lost her brother to alcoholism and he was 38. That shows how quickly it can take you.

What I hate most about this disease is the fact it is genetic. I’ve watched other members of my family struggle. I’ve struggled. When I meet someone who says “I’ve never been a big drinker, I just don’t like it” I want to hop inside their head and see what that feels like. When I meet someone who has overcome alcoholism, I want to hug and applaud them… because they truly fought the devil and won.
My first thought when I get an invitation to a baby shower is “I hope they have mimosas.” When I go out to dinner with a group and nobody orders a drink, I get annoyed. When I’m at an airport my head says “Bloody Mary Bloody Mary Bloody Mary.”

Alcoholism is a family disease. Even though I watch my alcohol intake carefully and do not let it overcome me… I hate it. I hate it that I have to work so hard to not let it take over my life.

I guess my point here is to thank my Dad for the wonderful life he gave me. But also to thank him for showing me what alcohol can do to a person. Not all people who struggle with addiction are street rats and assholes. They are just like everyone else, but dealt a different hand in life. Don’t pass judgement on those who struggle. Don’t turn up your nose and gossip. Offer help, directly, to the person you think may be struggling, but be careful with your approach and educate yourself of their situation. Don’t make assumptions of someone’s journey with addiction. This life is not easy, but I’m living and working hard everyday to continue living my best life.

I currently live in Austin Texas. I grew up in Fort Worth with a wonderful and loving family! I moved to Austin in 2003 where I attended Saint Edwards University and received my Bachelors Degree in Studio Art.
I love all things creative and colorful! I am easily tempted by glitter and puff paint!
I am very lucky to have a job where I can express my creativity and share it with others. I teach preschool at Saint Martin’s Lutheran Church in Downtown Austin. This church has become a second home and family for me. I also have a side business where I paint custom murals in homes and teach art lessons to children.
My husband, Jody, and I live in a bright happy home with our sweet pup Banjo! We love visiting dog parks, going to concerts, and eating Mexican food!
My mother and sister are very special to me and I love spending time with them! We share a love for Broadway and theater! Next weekend we are going to see Hamilton and I can not wait!!
I’ve had ups and downs in my life, just like everyone. But I am happy to be in such a loving and happy environment!