I was impressed by your expressive and unabashed voice; it's great to read a few honest, 'all-out' posts every once in awhile (seems harder and harder to find these days). Your kids also look like a ton of fun (and work, hah)!
Oh you know compliments will get you everywhere with Dual Mom, right? I’m still wondering if “expressive and unabashed” is his way of saying I’m opinionated and swear too much? So of course after these flattering words he wanted something (don’t they all). He asked if I would place a link to his website Arizona Treatment Centers on my blog…dude even offered to pay me. Crazy right! I declined. In my response back to him I said “My blog is the one thing in my life that is completely about me. I don't do it to pay the bills, or for the benefit of the kids. I do it because I love to write, I love to make my readers chuckle once in a while and I love the feeling I get when I know I've made someone smile.”
However, Denny’s mission strikes a chord with me and I agreed to do a post highlighting his efforts. Since I'm all about serving my community and making the world a better place (don't laugh arseholes) here goes nothing.
You see, I wasn’t always the fierce, strong shit kicker that you all know and
But when I sit and think about it…when I really sit and think about it…it still makes me sad.
My father was a wonderful man. He was warm, caring, beautiful, strong - when he was sober. When he was drunk, he was angry, hurtful, god so angry. I remember the anger most. You know how people talk about wonderful childhood memories, memories of doing fun things with their parents/siblings. Memories of great holidays and loving times spent with family. I don’t have those. I have memories of being afraid, knowing that it’s Friday night and that Dad got paid. At 5, 6, 7 years old, I have memories of being afraid. Because when Dad was drinking, home was not a fun place to be. My most vivid childhood memory was of my 18 year old sister’s going away party. She was leaving for Toronto to go to school. The night before she left my father got drunk and threw my aunt across the room because she said something that made him angry. I was 8. The aunt in question had cancer at the time. Those are the childhood memories I have.
He went for treatment after that. He spent 3 weeks in an addiction facility. When he came home he was a new man. God I remember that month he was sober. I remember not being afraid, for the first time in my life. A month, he had the strength to last a month before he relapsed.
Children of alcoholic parents blame themselves for their parents addictions. If I was a better child he wouldn’t drink. If I clean my room he’ll come home sober. If I make him laugh he won’t need that beer. It is without a doubt, one of the most incredible fucking burdens you can place on an innocent child.
My mother finally found the courage to kick him out of the house when I was 11 years old. I remember it vividly. The last straw, so to speak, was him leaving me on the couch the day I got home from a tonsillectomy. My mother was working a night shift, left me - thinking Dad would be home in one hour to look after me. He came home, grabbed his beer, gave me $5 to get treats (yeah because that did me a lot of fucking good when I couldn’t eat asshole) and left to go drink with friends.
When he got home the following day I remember my mother standing at the counter peeling potatoes. He came in the door and she said, without looking at him, “Your bags are packed in the bedroom, get them, and get out. I’m not arguing with you, you left our daughter to potentially choke to death on her own blood, get your goddamn bags and get out. If you don’t I’ll call the police, but right now I’m not sure if I’ll call before or after I use this knife”. He came back in after taking his bags to the car, “I need my boots.” he said. I went to the closet and got his boots and rushed them to him. I wanted him to leave that badly. I was 11 years old and I couldn’t wait for my father to leave.
I remember it like it was yesterday. This man had terrorized my mother for over 20 years. There were times she feared for her life and the life of her family. And she finally found the courage to stand up to him.
He moved to another province after that. He would call periodically when he was drunk. Ranting and raving about how much he loved us. As we grew up we stopped taking his calls. The last time I spoke with my father was 3 days after my mother died. I was 22. He called, not knowing mom had died and started into his drunken diatribe. He called my mother a bitch. I responded, “Mom is dead, as far as I’m concerned I have no parents. Do not ever call me again because as far as I’m concerned, I’m burying both my parents today.”
Dad has eight grandchildren he’s never met. He has four grown children he hasn’t seen in over 20 years. He has an entire family filled with loving, awesome people that he’ll never get to know or love, or be loved by. Because he loved alcohol more. He’s 70 years old and has an entire family that would love nothing more than to love him, have him here with us, have him as a grampy to our children, but he made that impossible.
It was not my responsibility as a child to make my father want to be sober. It was not my fault. It was not my fault. It was not my fault. How many times do I have to repeat it before I believe it?
So if you know someone in your life that has an addiction, I truly believe as an adult, you have a responsibility to try and help them. If that person has children, then know that those kids are going through a shitstorm of really gross emotions, even if they don’t show it. No one in my life knew what I was going through, teachers had no idea, friends didn’t know. I became incredibly adept at hiding everything. As I sit here typing this at 36 years old, the thought of my father doesn’t fill me with love, it still makes my heart race with fear.
So yeah, addiction is an incredible monster to try and fight. I get that. But aren’t the people who love you worth the fight? That’s the question I still struggle with. Why wasn’t I enough? Why wasn’t our love enough?
I was a great fucking kid Dad. I was funny and smart and I loved you so much. I’m an even greater adult, my bloggy friends say so. You are missing so many awesome things in life. YOU threw it all away.
Please, please, don’t ever force your children to be asking themselves those same questions. If you or someone you love has a problem with addiction, get help, just do it. Please.
Those links in case you missed them the first time:
Arizona Treatment Centers