I treat addiction for my dad. He was a brilliant and gentle man who died at the age of 47 secondary to alcohol use disorder. With each round of treatment, I hoped he would come back; back to biking, reading suspense novels, and being a dad. I hoped for his recovery until I found out he died secondary to a heart attack sustained while having an alcohol withdrawal seizure at home.
My dad knew I wanted to be a doctor. He told me, ‘you’ll have so much fun and do great,’ when I moved into my college dorm. He was not able to see what followed as a result of his disease. He didn’t know me as I took the MCAT. He wasn’t able to read my medical school application essay or hear me talk about my experiences in the anatomy lab. We didn’t hug after I received my MD or before I moved to complete my training as a psychiatrist. Over time, his death has become less painful and I can feel him with me as proud and healthy. I treat addiction so fewer children have to say goodbye to their parents.