How such a talented and intelligent man could end up like this.
As I sit and watch my dad sit in his chair beside his hospital bed I wonder how such a talented and intelligent man could end up like this.
My dad is or was a very talented man he started his own business in 1975 and had great success; he had a life that people dreamt of. He got to travel the world and meet lots of different people. My dad was very smart, extremely good at art. He was a tailor and loved doing what he did. Unfortunately in the end alcoholism took its toll, my dad is no longer the man that I so lovingly remember as a child.
I don’t ever remember thinking that my dad was an alcoholic. I thought he was like everyone else’s dad, he was still loving and affectionate, never raised his voice at me. Me and dad were close in a different type of way.
I didn’t really find out about my dad’s life properly until I was about 16 years old. My dad is an older man, he is now 74. He was 54 when I was born, had lead a life before I was even thought of and had been married once before. He had a daughter that was about the same age as my mum, he never spoke much of his daughter she chose not to speak to him. I could never understand this but as I got older everything began to make sense.
My dad had a huge problem and he thought he was good at hiding it. My dad is still alive but he isn’t the man that I knew his drinking habits just got worse and worse and now he is stuck in his own mess. He had a heart attack that could have taken his life a few years ago, ending up having to have a quadruple heart bypass. But this never fazed him. As soon as he could get his hands on anything to drink he was happy, this has always been something that depresses me.
I always wanted a dad like everyone else’s one that would take me out and do things properly together. The only places I remember going with my dad was the pub (he would sit and drink more than one glass of double vodka and coke and he would get me crisps and a can of pop to keep me happy) and town for a short walk around. My dad couldn’t really take me anywhere as he had lost his license a long time ago after being caught another time drink driving.
My dad grew up in a middle class family his mother and father were nice people so I had been told, his father did not drink but his mother liked the odd gin. I just still find it hard to comprehend how my dad ended up in this mess; why did it have to be my dad.
I am aware that dad will never walk me down the aisle. He may not even meet my children but that is something I have to accept. My dad will never walk me down the aisle as he is unable to walk properly, he has the body of a much older man which his lifestyle certainly has had a knock on effect.
I was always amazed by my dad, I thought he was brilliant, he used to tell me his stories over and over and I loved listening but as I got older these stories started to sadden me as these are things that my dad could still been doing.
He drank on the job and he lost lots of money. He had to sell his business and began working for the new owners. They let him go as his drink habits were too bad. He would get angry and argue with them. After that it got worse and worse. My parents split up. My dad would sleep fully clothed on the couch, he stopped showering, he just could not be bothered to do anything.
I said some horrible things to my dad during this time that I can never take back but I felt that all the drunken “I love you’s” were empty. I felt that he had chosen alcohol over me and my brothers which I still believe is the case. It was too late to save my dad and still is now, this addiction will be something that eventually contributes to his death and that day for me will be a very sad day.
One thing I cannot do is stop loving my dad, I have unconditional love for him as I know that alcoholism doesn’t define him and really underneath all of that he is a kind, caring, hardworking and passionate man.
I find that me and my dad are very alike and I often do things the way he does and use phrases that he does, something I used to despise and try and change but now I don’t see it as a bad thing because, after all, he is my dad and I am proud of him even if he has made bad choices throughout his life.
When I was younger I used to feel that I would end up just like my dad. In my teens alcohol became an issue for me it was something I enjoyed on the weekend with my friends but it was also something I turned to if I was feeling depressed. This was a habit I came out of quickly as it clicked that I did not want to end up like my father.
Alcoholism does not define him; he is still my dad and always is. I cannot change that. For as long as I live I will love that man and no matter what anyone says my mind won’t be changed, alcoholism is NOT my father it is just an illness that he has acquired after a life that maybe for him was hard. These are things that I will most likely never know.
I hope sharing my experience can help others feel like they’re not alone like I did, I never thought of it as being a big deal but having an alcoholic parent is something that affects us and we feel it defines us, but it does not.
Today is my 20th birthday I sit here writing this feeling sad, I wish my dad could celebrate my birthday with me but that is just impossible.
Don’t let this define you be a bigger and stronger person.