Frank: Focusing on Self-Care

Frank reflected how his struggle with alcoholism and supporting his wife through manic episodes challenged him to become the man he is today.

Because of all this, because of her illness, my alcoholism, I’m much, much better. If I’d been drinking, I wouldn’t be here today. Because life wasn’t worth living any more. After I went to treatment, then I got much better. Every day I thank God that I’ve got almost 38 years of sobriety. They said [counselor and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group], you have to take care of you. I said, ‘I’m responsible for—.” They said, ‘You’re not responsible for anybody. People come in here and they get a divorce because the wife left. Well they blame it on the wife. Whose fault was it? You’re doing the drinking. If you want to lose them, you lose them. It’s your fault. So, take that into consideration.”

Along with going to AA, helping others through his work and practicing his faith led to stability in Frank’s life. As an LPN, Frank worked with adolescents who abused drugs and alcohol, the elderly in long-term care, prisoners, and patients on a cancer unit and in home care.

He reflected on the importance of his faith in his life and the reassurance he received from attending church.

The good Lord has been helping me. If it wouldn’t have been for that—like this morning, I went to church just because I wanted to go there. I feel very at ease now. I’ve got my AA books. I can go get my prayer books. I pray every day. I don’t miss a day. I don’t dare do that. I pray the rosary every day. Church is very helpful to me. I try never to come off mad or angry or something--well, you should have done this. Maybe I should have. I’m only human. The Lord knows I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life. I always feel like no matter what I do, the good Lord’s guiding me there.

At age 78 Frank continues to drive to see his daughter, who lives in a city five hours away. He lives alone in a small town of about 300 people. He has a caseworker from an aging program who visits once a month to check on how he is doing and what he might need. He has support from his community.

I got some good friends. I got a good buddy of mine who calls me every morning to make sure I’m okay because I’m alone. He and his wife live about a block away from me. [The aging program] hired a gal, and she’s very good, a very dear friend of mine. She comes and helps. . .I feel I’m very much at peace.