This post has been in my mind and then in my drafts for over a year now. Every time I tried to write it I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I could not find the right way to express everything that I had felt. This Saturday marks two years since my dad died. Many close to me know that for most of his life he suffered from an alcohol addiction. As a child of an alcoholic it can be a difficult road to travel.
This is my story. I am not sure how or if my story could help anyone. But alcoholism is real and affects all those surrounded by it. There are many great organizations to help those that are directly affected by a family members alcoholism. I have linked those at the end of this post.
Loving you was never easy. The power that your addiction had over you made it difficult. The alcohol took over your whole body, mind and heart. I could not compete with it. You loved it more than me. That was the hardest thought to comprehend and it took me years to come to terms with your addiction. As a child I was not aware of it. As an adult I did everything not to believe it. But it was there. Always taunting you with its appeal. The pain at times was unbearable.
Your cries for help were not strong enough to push through the depressive hold alcohol had on you. You tried and failed. Confusion and anger always seeped through my veins because I wanted you to see. See that alcohol was pulling you away. See that the division it caused between us was so great. See that my love was slipping away. I remember the exact moment when I came to the fork in the road. Two paths with two different choices. Walk one way and you would have been out of my life forever. The other way I would have to accept that alcohol was going to take you. I actually stood at that fork in the road for years. It was a hard choice to make. Neither one giving the utmost satisfaction. Neither one making me happy.
But I chose to keep you in my life. I chose to stand by your side. I chose to see that there was a relationship between you and your granddaughters. I knew that one day I would get a call. One day you would succumb to the chains that held you down. One day you would take the drink that would kill you. Even in knowing all of this it was still worth having those last memories with you. The bond that you were able to have with your granddaughters was worth experiencing the pain of watching you deteriorate right before my very eyes. I knew these were the last moments I would have with you. These are the moments I am able to treasure forever. So I loved you. That is all I could do.
I remember every single emotion that I felt when you died. Sadness. This obviously. Sad that you were gone. Sad that I could not say goodbye. Sad that my children would never truly have concrete memories of you. Sad that I would no longer hear your voice. Sad that everything that would happen in the future, you would never ever know.
Anger. I felt a lot of anger, not necessarily towards you but towards the wicked power addiction had over you. You succumbed to your addiction. Your addiction was dancing around, yelling victory. I was so mad that you were not able to set yourself free from it. I was mad that the love that I had for you was not enough.
Embarrassed. I felt this overwhelming feeling of embarrassment to tell anyone. For many knew of the life you led. I felt as though many had this never ending thought of “well he got what he deserved” or “he did it to himself”. I carried around this burden of shame and disappointment. I felt as though some sympathy I received was only half-hearted because of your addiction. Almost as if people were thinking that since I was not that close to my dad that it must not hurt as bad. Someone actually had the nerve to say that to my sister. Like it hurts less because our relationship was not as strong or as concrete as others.
My emotions are still raw. My heart is still an open wound. Time does not heal all pain.Time simply moves and propels me forward into the next stages in my life. I have to move forward for my children and husband. Grieving becomes more manageable.
So though you did not make loving you easy, I hope you know that I loved you then and I love you now.
I love and miss you dad ❤️
For those that are a child of an alcoholic, I would like you to know:
There is nothing wrong with being mad. I was mad for many years with my dad. In 2005, when I got married my dad did not show up. I am not sure why and it was nothing I ever really addressed with him but it angered me. I blamed the alcohol. I hated him and the choices he was making. I refused to talk to him for over a year. I was hurt. My anger was justified by his actions.
You are not alone. There were times where I became isolated in my thoughts and feelings about my father’s addiction. The thought of “I’m alone in this” would always dance in my head. But I found refuge in my husband and in my siblings. Talking to others that are experiencing that same situation truly helps in validating my feelings and emotions.
It is not your fault. I know I have dipped into that mentality. Did I do something wrong? Was I to blame for his drinking? Even though it was long before I even existed, those thoughts danced through my head on occasion. But I did not cause his addiction. It goes so much beyond myself and I was not the one that triggered this addiction.
Anyone seeking help can visit: