My dad had always been a drinker for as long as I can remember. It was the root cause of tension between him and my mum. He would disappear for weekends, leaving my mum with no clue about where he had gone. I remember from a young age the explosive arguments, the searching round every pub in the area, finally he would be found, the arguments began again…although times were tough his alcoholism hadn’t reached its peak, he was still at times, a very nice and loving father, I remember the good times.
Every year my dad’s drinking got worse, he became more and more about himself, he grew selfish, more self-indulgent and increasingly less self-aware. My mum was not able to cope with his behaviour any longer, that point reached for her when she didn’t feel comfortable leaving us alone with him. There were a few occasions when he would drink too much and end up needing assistance to get to bed or go into a diabetic hypo (as he was a type 1 diabetic) resulting in ambulances being called out.
When I was 9 we moved 500 miles away from the area where I had grown up and known. My mum had found another job and had hopes for a better life for my sister and I. My dad decided that he didn’t want to come with us, this was when my parents split up for good. Eventually, he moved back in with his mum and dad as he couldn’t afford to support himself, he wasn’t able to hold down a job and lived life on the dole at his parents’ house, he was 37.
Our relationship grew distant; I didn’t see him very often after the move. I maybe saw him two or three times a year. Every-time I saw him, he would be a little bit worse than the time before, he was suffering so much but there was nothing we could do. The thing with many alcoholics is they believe that their drinking is never as bad as other people that they know. After all that had happened in his life he still believed he had his drinking under control.
My dad’s drinking reached its peak when his best friend passed away. He was never the same and quickly reached rock bottom.
Due to being a type one diabetic my dad had a weakened immune system so alcohol would eventually get the better of him health wise. When my dad was 42, the doctors had warned him that if he continued to drink he would be dead within 4 years. Unfortunately, he never got the help he needed, his drinking had spiralled out of control, he sadly ended up in a home for Adults with learning disabilities and died aged 46.
For many years I was angry at my Dad. Why wasn’t he a proper father? Why did everyone else seem to have a normal responsible father and I was given someone that was pathetic, useless and couldn’t handle his responsibilities in life. Why was I dealt that hand?
When Birthday’s and Christmas’s came along, why did he never think to get us anything? Or just something to let us know that he cared? What was so hard about writing “Happy Birthday” in an 89p card from card factory? Why did every penny count towards getting another can of special brew or some other kind of cheap poison he was into at the time? Why did that poison come before my sister and I?
Why would he get drunk almost every night and shout abuse at the people that loved him the most, that helped him the most? Why did he bite the hand that fed him? Why did he create so much drama, embarrassment and shame not only to himself but to us, his family?
Eventually, over time, I have grown to forgive my Dad, I am no longer angry at what happened, nor am I angry at him, it is hard to be angry at someone that has died. Had he not drank our lives might have been so much different, but it was how it was and I appreciate the good times. I forgave him for myself and for my own heart, I didn’t need any more hurt or suffering. All I feel now is sadness at what my dad went through, I truly believe no one chooses to become an alcoholic, it can just happen.