The older I get, the more I start to fill out my Dad’s shoes. I look in the mirror and see him daily. I speak and I hear his voice. I’ve come to a place of peace about most things but I struggle with becoming him when I look at the bottle.
I spoke a little bit on my fears in Pride, Alcohol, and a Broken Man but as I reflect on it today, I am have a weird relationship with May 4th. Today is my Kappaversary. I became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. on May 4th 2008. This has historically been a day that my line brothers and I would grab a bottle to celebrate being another year older in the bond. I didn’t know until five years later that it’s also my Dad’s birthday.
My father never spoke much about himself. He never asks too many questions and avoids any true displays of emotion. I’ve seen this multiple times from men in his age bracket but I constantly made a choice not to become like him. I often look at my siblings and see him all over us.
I am scared of alcohol. I am scared off the scars I’ve seen on my family. I am scared of the fears that I know he’s struggling with. I am scared of the pain that he feels and the idea that he may never face it. I’m scared of him dying before I truly can have a relationship with him. I am scared of it being hereditary and me falling into that same cycle.
I’m also scared when I look at my frat brothers and other men to think that most of our celebration surrounds drinking and sex. I have a frat brother whose Dad is physically abusive when he drinks. My frat brother isn’t abusive but I often ask him if he’s afraid of getting out of control. We had some scary times with him wanting to drive drunk and he almost attributed it to his lineage. I tried my hardest to check him, he didn’t drive home, but it hurt me to my core.
I don’t want to be boiled down and controlled like that. I am a complex bundle of emotions, thoughts, dream, and feelings that is trying to heal the wounds left by time. The last thing I want is to believe I’m a slave to my father’s vices. I saw how destructive alcohol can be. I’ve blacked out on two birthdays before and still don’t know everything that happened those nights. It’s scary. It’s not fun or safe. It’s not worth it.
Today, I don’t drink anymore. Over the past year, I’ve been realizing how horrible I felt after drinking. This wasn’t even binge drinking or excessive. I would drink three of four drinks throughout the night. I would wake up the next day without a hangover but down. More melancholy than normal. Listless and lethargic. It dulls my mind.
I want to be sharp. I want to be aware. I want to be focused and happy with the state I am in. I love my father. I know he loves me. I just don’t want alcohol to take him away without me ever truly knowing him. I pray for him today and everyday to be free from addiction.
Happy Birthday Dad, may you have many more.