I will never know if my Dad knew that the day
he had his last relapse,would be his last day
on Earth.There was no evidence to suggest he
knew his risks other than to assume he did after
over two decades of drug and alcohol addiction.
At age 57,my Dad's body was damaged from
years of toxic abuse and unhealthy lifestyle.No
way to reverse some of the damages that can
build up in a human body,mind and their spirit.
Especially because he never really tried hard to.
My Dad had been keeping a low profile in his
last year of life.Spending time away from the
city and temptations of rampant feeding to his
chronic alcoholism and on and off again drug
use.His body was not well.His breath,tired.
He was spending time with Mother as they
had always remained close as friends.She
knew the man I called my Dad before he
lost himself in addictions.I never knew him
clean and sober.The man I got to know at
the end of his life was still toxic.He did not
know how to heal.He never made amends.
Not to me or to himself.He literally held his
breath.Walking and talking as though there
was nothing to say.All the while I wondered
why his two decades of not being present for
his family ever seemed to matter at all to him.
He would cry once in awhile for himself but
he just could never come clean with verbally
taking accountability for his ill actions towards
himself and his family. I've concluded this was
due to immense shame and most times,denial.
The last day of my Dad's life he had a visitor
at his home.An old so called friend he would
drink and use with.My family knew of him.
He and my Dad began to drink earlier in the
afternoon.My Dad's friend brought heroin -
and so began my Father's last drug relapse.
He did not live to see that evening.
Every shred of hope I had secretly held
within and between my resentments,fears
and love for him,drowned in my mourning.
I mourned the Dad I never got to have -
long before he died but I never gave up
hoping that maybe I would at least get a
part of that Dad who could be the man
I wanted to feel proud to call my Dad.
His overdose death complicated my
grief. I needed to learn to unravel as it
was as complicated as my relationship
was with him.Very hurtful with no hope
After 20 plus years of his drug /alcohol abuse,
his denial believing he could live well blocked
his path to wellness.That same denial cost him
his life by believing he could use again and not
die.His denial taught me to never think it could
never happen to me.I am 21 yrs.sober now as
I woke up one morning after a drinking binge
and saw his face in the mirror.I was not going
to put my kids through what my Dad's chronic
alcoholism and addiction did to his family.I do
not harbor resentments towards my Father in
anyway anymore.My living true to my own life
and wellness,I have learned to forgive,let go -
and continue to learn on how to understand the
human brain and addiction/alcoholism.There is
no shame.No blame.
My Father came from a family of alcoholics.
He could not break his own chains.But I will
honor the elders I never got to know with a
compassion and understanding that all of the
life realities in addiction,do not have to end
before we can each find a healthier path in life.
September is National Recovery Month.
If anyone is in recovery and still struggling,
please reach out to sources of healthy and
secure support for yourself.Relapsing can
occur for many reasons.There's no shame
but there is danger.Keep living true to your
wellness and right to recovery.Life is a gift
including you're in recovery.Embrace it!