Living with an Addict
When you think of an addict, you don’t normally think of the middle aged man upholding a nice job, with a loving wife and two kids, am I right? Well neither did I, until that man happened to be my father.
I was almost 16 when I began to realize why my dad slept in the basement almost every night and why my mom would wake him up screaming every morning. He was an alcoholic, but I just couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t stop drinking if it would make our family better again. You hear stories about kids with alcoholic parents all the time but you never seem to think that something so tragic could happen in your own life. My mom kept it from my sister and I for most of our lives. That was until I was old enough to understand what was really going on. At that age I couldn’t help but think that if my dad loved us as much as he says he does then he would just put the bottle down. But instead, it only got worse as time went on. There was a lot of fighting and constant lying, I just knew that wasn’t the dad that I always looked up to. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t stop.
The night before my dad went to rehab for the second and last time, happened to be the most traumatic night and experience I have ever been put through. It was late on a Friday night, my mom had picked us up from cheer practice. We all thought it was strange that my dad wasn’t home yet but we figured he had been at an AA meeting. We have an app on all of our phones called ‘Find My I phone’ that the four of us always had on just incase we lost our phones. My mom decided to look at the app to find out where my dad was and it had said that his phone was offline, which meant he turned it off on his phone. My mom called my dad multiple times to see where he was, no answer. Finally, we got him to answer. He was slurring his words, crying, and none of us could understand what he was saying. We asked him if he was driving his car and he told us yes and we asked him to please stop driving. What he had replied back to us will haunt me until the day I die. He slurred “I don’t want to live anymore, this isn’t how my life was supposed to be”, then hung up the phone. We all started crying and didn’t know what to do. We called his brother, his best friend, and his parents. They all were trying to reach him to figure out where he was so they could stop him from driving. In the mean time, we were at the police station sending out a search warrant for him. We got a call from his best friend saying he got him and that he was taking him to his parent’s house for the night. To this day, I will never forget the feeling I had when I thought I was going to have to bury my father at the age of 16. I couldn’t help but think that I was about to lose my amazing and loving father to such a horrific disease.
I share my story because I want to spread awareness to loved ones of addicts around the world to help them understand they are not alone. My dad was, and still is the biggest role model in my life. He is going on almost 2 and a half years of sobriety coming up in November. He went to rehab twice, both times he went he stayed for a month at a time. Those weeks were long and hard not having him around the house. It took a toll on my mom and I really had to step up in the house to help out my mom as much as I could at the time.
Addiction is just an addiction, until someone close to you is an addict. I say that to help people understand that addiction is not just an addiction. It is so much more than that. Alcoholism is a disease classified as an addiction. Would I have been able to tell you that before I watched it take over my dad’s job, his everyday life, and almost his family? That’s easy, I wouldn’t have. I will never hate my dad for once being an alcoholic. Sure, it was difficult for me to deal with but I forgive him for all the hard times because they have now led to all of the good. Everybody you know is fighting a battle you may not know of. If this experience taught me anything, it is to never give up when life gets tough. If you have a loved one fighting or hurting, don’t hate them for it, help them through it. They will not get through it without your love and support. It will get hard and you will want to give up on them at times but when they are sober you wont regret a single moment that you stuck by their side. Furthermore, his addiction has also taught me to be careful in the future. To never let alcohol be the solution to anything. Its okay to have a few drinks with your friends here and there but binge drinking every weekend can lead to addiction. Alcohol is not the solution to your problems.