I wanted to take a break for inspiration and super deep thinking to share a personal experience and feelings about it.
This year I will be 30 years old. I’ve fallen in love no less than four times. I’ve been homeless, jobless, and purposeless during various times throughout. I’ve felt that I’ve failed many times at being a good son, brother, and boyfriend, but at the end of it all, I can say that I honestly tried my best with what I had at the time.
Yesterday, I had a conversation with my father that hurt my soul.
My father was always a proud man. He’s done everything from laying bricks to working in a factory to put himself through college. He paid for himself to get a law degree and start his own practice. He has three children, my two sisters and me. He’s a very strong man that has made something very reputable out of himself. If you asked me, he achieved everything he wanted in life.
My conversation last night showed something different. He retired a few years back from practicing law and has been living off the money from a building he’s leasing out. Ever since then, sun up to sun down he’s been drinking his sorrows away. The family invites him out but he refuses to go. Then, when they go out without him, he complains and his feelings are hurt. He has become constantly antagonistic to his wife, his daughters, and even his daughters’ dogs. My father will be 69 this year and nobody wants to be around him anymore.
My step mom is tired of him but is afraid he will drink himself silly completely by himself. My sisters love him but pity how such a proud man would not see how much he’s hurting those that care for him. I love the old man but I am not going to sacrifice the next few years of my life and sanity for a man I never knew. We hope that he would go seek help, but he doesn’t think he has a problem, he has it “under control” and has been “doing it his entire life.”
Because of my unique life trials, I’ve never been home much. Life gets so busy that I try and call when I have time. However, the last two times I’ve called, I’ve not wanted to call back. He has picked up the phone super drunk. I’m not talking about the “let me hide my buzz”-drunk. I’m not talking “happy hour” drunk. “It’s just a few drinks” drunk. I’m talking about full blown “New Years Eve/21st birthday” drunk…at 4pm…on a Monday.
This made me immensely sad. He kept asking me if I found a “rich girl” to take care of me. I told him I’m not in a rush for anything and he got mad. He kept telling me I’m a heavyweight, these women should notice, and I’m playing games instead of “handling business”. I kept silent. At that moment, I understood the pain, frustration, pressure, and fear he is living in. He’s lived all his life striving for financial success but never took time to appreciate the success he already had.
My father is 68 years old, lacking positive relationships with his children, marriage on the rocks, and nothing else to define himself with but a ghost of what he used to be. I sit here scared for that man because he looks just like me. His downfall could have been my own if I didn’t have God to grab me from the muck and show me love. We all are broken and it’s moments when you see someone else’s struggles that your life becomes infinitely clearer. I can’t help him until he wants help, but he sure has helped me.
I don’t want to become my father. I want to enjoy the moments that matter most and love the people I share them with. I want to communicate and be available for life. I want to be present instead of constantly chasing a hallowed goal that will leave me hollow. I want to love my life, (future but unknown) wife, and family. I love my dad. I grew up and look just like him. That doesn’t mean I will be like him. I’m glad he gave me this lesson because now I know that I won’t.
Any thoughts about helping a loved one with addiction? Any similar experiences? Any ways to help people deal with it? Share in the comments below.