You Can Thank Me Later for Making You Cry

Brought to you exclusively by Dual Mom on
So yours’ (your’s yours…which one is right Zgirl?) truly received an email. I know, astonishing right? Anyway, the email was from a dude named Denny Chapin (Denny, let me know if you object to my splashing your name all over my blog). Anyway Denny is involved with this place. It’s a website that gathers and links information on addiction for states all over the US. He said he stumbled across my blog while doing some research (me thinks I may post too much about wine drinking) and he said in his email to me:

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 put up with love. I’m the product of a severely alcoholic, abusive father. Don’t get your tissues and sympathy cards out yet, I’ve obviously lived to tell the tale and besides severe issues with letting my walls down it hasn’t altered me too much.

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.

Go Mom!!

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
All Treatment


Anonymous said...
August 28, 2010 at 12:12 PM

He was right, your honesty rocks lady ;)

big higs
Steven Anthony
Man Dish~Metro Style
Life in the Fish Bowl

Menopausal New Mom said...
August 28, 2010 at 12:20 PM

What an incredible post! Wow!

I too grew up with a raging alcoholic father, I remember all through my childhood being afraid of coming home, school was a safe place but just until 3:30, then I had to take a deep breath and open the door to our home and go inside never knowing what was going to be on the other side.

When I was in grade 8, the father of one of my close friends died very suddenly of a heart attack. She was devastated, I couldn't understand why. I swear the first thought that went through my head was "Wow, she's free".

Today my father is in his mid 70's and stopped drinking for what we hope is the last time in his late 50's. But he didn't stop for us, he stopped because he developed Crohns Disease and would die if he drank.

He is still in my life and I suspect is so willing to do anything for me as his attempt to make amends on those rare ocassions he may admit to himself what a bastard he was.

He is a very tall and muscular man to this day. In one of his drunken rages while in his 50's, he was handcuffed by police and broke apart the cuffs right in front of them (I would have loved to have seen their faces). He still has scars on either side of his wrists from where the metal cut into him as he pulled them apart.

The last time my father hit me, I was 19 years old and I moved out within days.

Well, as you can see, I could go on and on but seeing that I don't want to crash your blog, I'll save it for some time you want to get together and compare notes, over a big bottle of wine of course :)

Thanks for posting Sweetie, we are not alone

The Queen said...
August 28, 2010 at 12:27 PM

I buried both my parents a few years ago. on the same day.. for the same reason.. they too have a great grand daughter they will never meet. They have a grand daughter they will not get to watch be a great mother and wife.. and they have a daughter whose strength they will never see..

Because that is what they chose..

Faux Trixie said...
August 28, 2010 at 12:37 PM

This post really struck a chord with me. I don't have a relationship with my dad because he's a selfish prick (albeit not an alcoholic) but there are a lot of similarities. I know exactly how you feel and it's shitty. You're extremely strong for posting this. I still can't muster the courage to do it.


Anonymous said...
August 28, 2010 at 1:46 PM

This is a wonderful honest post. I applaud your mother and you for having the strength to cut him out of your lives.

At least you didn't spend the rest of your lives enabling him and trying to make a relationship where one was not possible. Then you'd still be blaming yourself today. Instead you've used your experiences to inspire others.

Great job.

Along said...
August 28, 2010 at 1:46 PM

This was intense. I've never met an alcoholic in person but the way you wrote that, made me feel like I was living that part of life with you.

I salute you for becoming who you are now (SUPER!!) despite the childhood you had. So many people would have fallen through the cracks.

MiMi said...
August 28, 2010 at 2:41 PM

You write beautifully about something so painful.
I'm sad for you that you still question yourself...when you know, logically, it WAS ALL HIM.
And there is part of him, that probably tried to love others more than the alcohol, but he couldn't.
And that is sad. Sad for you all.
You are such an amazing woman, friend!

Linda Medrano said...
August 28, 2010 at 10:09 PM

Sweetheart, I'm so sorry you went through this. No child should ever go through what you did. And your bravery and honest will help others realize that and make the right choices. Thank you darling DM.

GunDiva said...
August 28, 2010 at 10:54 PM

Wish I'd been able to chalk my dad's rages up to alcohol. He was just a mean, jealous bastard and I'm so thankful that my mom was strong enough (eventually) to kick him out. It got worse for her after he left the house, what with the stalking and break-ins and death threats.

So what did I do? I married an alcoholic (first husband, not current), who wasn't a violent man, but who had a tongue that could cut you to the quick. Two of my kids won't speak to him and won't have anything to do with him. The other - well, she's Daddy's Little Girl, so she gets off easy (easier) during his drunk rages.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

Christy said...
August 28, 2010 at 10:55 PM

I've never had these experiences, but I know enough people who did live through this that I know it happens too often. You should be proud of your family in spite of your family. I know you are.

middle child said...
August 29, 2010 at 12:05 AM

You are good. You are honest. You are beautiful. God Bless you.

Scribe said...
August 29, 2010 at 2:58 AM

Dual Mom, kudos to you for writing this and with such honesty. Your dad is missing a great thing in you. I'm sure you've helped more than one person with this blog and for posting links to the addiction centre. Thank you!

The Only Girl said...
August 29, 2010 at 11:39 AM

How brave of you to write such an honest post! I hope it helps to heal you a little bit and to help others. Well said.

MindyMom said...
August 29, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Ah, we have a lot in common - aside from getting the same email from Mr. Denny.

I have not responded to him but I'm glad you did and that it prompted you to share your story that many of us can relate to in some way.

adrienzgirl said...
August 30, 2010 at 1:43 AM

So honest and raw with emotion! This is why I come to your blog every time you post. You write exactly what you feel and it flies of the page.

Love you!!!

Anonymous said...
August 30, 2010 at 3:53 AM

That is a very great and sad and honest post. I love your blog.

Danielle said...
August 30, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Why wasn’t I enough? Why wasn’t our love enough?
Because he didn't love himself enough to let others love him or be enough.
Love ya girl!!!!

gayle said...
August 30, 2010 at 10:17 PM

Although I can't relate to this post.....many do and will. I have a great feeling that this post has been a comfort to many and will also help many others!! Love to you!!

Lora said...
September 9, 2010 at 9:51 AM

you know I'm the worst commenter, and I was going to include this on the email I just sent you but everyone likes comments better than emails so here goes:

"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 still struggle with this too. I wonder if my parents ever loved me the way I love my son. And if they did, when did it switch? And can it happen to me?
Can I wake up one day and be a monster?