My Father

I can't remember my parents ever liking each other, or even being in the same room for more than 5 minutes. Truth is, my parents were divorced by the time I was 2 years old. My dad was and still is an alcoholic, and it eventually led to the end of a marriage and unfortunately, many other tragic things for my father, my mother, and myself. Being the son of an alcoholic is a very awkward and cold experience. I know my dad loves me. He was never mean or violent to me at all. If I could explain my childhood relationship with my dad in one sentence it would be "the child, and the overgrown child". I did'nt see my dad a whole lot growing up. There would be times he would come down every other weekend for a few months, then times where months would go by without a visit. I'm guessing because he was in between job so much, or my mom putting a temporary stop to it sometimes. But I can't blame my mom. There's times I don't even see how I made it home from a visit with my dad. He would come to town on a bus from 150 miles away, where he lived for 10+ years, and rent a hotel for the weekend. I would usually be dropped off with him saturday morning in random spots in town. I remember very mixed emotions everytime we had our visits. I would be very excited first off because I knew we would spend the day doing fun things like bowling, playing video games at the arcade, and putt putt golfing. On the other hand I would be extremely nervous, wandering if he would get so drunk or "tired" as he would call it, to where he would embarass me and honestly at times, barely even be responsive. Falling over dinosaurs at the golf corse, stumbling through 4 lane high ways. I would then have to spend the rest of the day making sure he didnt get in trouble, or ran over by a car, and praying it was over so I could just go home and try to have a better day with him tomorrow. At times I was terrified, and looking back I can understand why, this started happening when I was in kindergarten on up. He was arrested more than once for public intoxication on our visits. Most the time it was a relief for me because I got to go home where I would feel safe again with my mom, and 2 little brothers. This continued off and on throughout my childhood. I was a very confused kid because of this. I know people have had it way worse than me, I am not looking for sympathy, just unloading a bit. Anyways, I started getting in trouble in my early teens. As a result of this I was sent 30 miles away by my mother to live with my grandparents (my fathers parents). I stayed there about 6 months, then my dad decided to move there as well. He rental a small house a few blocks away from my grandparents house and of course I moved in with him. I guess you could call it a new beginning for me and my dad. He has always been in denial about his problem. So of course he was playing the part of the good dad that moved 150 miles to take care of his son since his ex wife failed. For a while he tried. He didn't drink the first week or so we lived together. Then he bought a 12 pack, drank some, and let me have some. This eventually led to a downward spiral of drinking for both of us. Mind you I was only 16, and me and my friends were drunk at least 3 nights a week. My dad was drunk 5-6 days/nights a week. This carried on for about a year, until my dad realized letting me have all this freedom had made it next to impossible to control me. We eventually started fighting a lot and after my probation was up, I decided to move back home with mom. Dad stayed for a while, but eventually followed me and moved into a motel in town. His plan was to get a job here, save up money, and get a house for the 2 of us to live in. We kind of patched things up in a sense, in other words completely ignored what happened before and started hanging out and drinking again. The only time I would go see my father in his hotel room was to watch football, and of course get drunk. I know he just wanted to spend time with me, but unfortunately most our time spent together was drinking, and I'd usually bring a friend with me because ever since childhood, I was very awkward about being alone with my dad drunk, even if I was too. This went on for 2-3 years. With every month that went by I would visit him less and less. Eventually I started ignoring his phone calls. I'm sure he was lonely and I always felt guilty. Having never really had a chance to build a relationship with my dad outside of alcohol, there was no father/son foundation there and honestly, I felt awkward around him if I wasn't intoxicated. Well eventually, It got to the point where I hadn't talked to or seen my dad for months. I started dating a girl, had other things on my mind, and he was kind of just left there in that hotel room alone. He eventually moved back with my grandparents. We hadn't talked for so long that I didn't even know he left til months after. We didn't talk for quite sometime. Phone calls every once in a while, when he could actually catch me at my mothers house which was rare. 3 years went by like this. So bad that my girlfriend of 3 years never even met my dad. Time went by and eventually we broke up, like young couples tend to do... I met another girl not long after, we dated for a while and 4 months later, she was pregnant with my little boy. I didn't talk to my dad the entire time she was pregnant. Finally the day she went into labor, to my surprise, my grandparents and my father showed up. Of course me and my dad yet again pretended like nothing ever happened. They did not stick around to see my son. They left 4 hours after they got there. My son was born many hours later. The following months after that the only contact with my dad was when he would call me at work. And to give him some credit, he really was attempting to have some sort of relationship with me at that point. After all, that's his first grandchild. It continued like this for a few months, then when my son was about 6 months old or so ,we finally went to visit my dad and grandparents. This was the first time he had met his grandson. He stayed sober the entire time I was there, and was very good with my son to my surprise. When I was leaving he gave me a hug, told me how proud he was of me, and holding back tears he said "son, I'm lucky you even talk to me anymore, and I missed out on too much already, I dont want to miss out on him growing up" (pointing to my son in his carseat sleeping). My dad has said things like this to me before, but never sober. At that point I was 22 years old, and for the first time since I was a kid that didn't know any better, I thought he was going to change. I continued talking to him on the phone for a few months. He kept telling me he planned to move back closer to me once again, and get a house but this time just for himself so he could be closer to us. I was uneasy about the idea obviously, but still open minded to it. After a while me and my sons mom split up, and we decided that he would be better off living with me the majority of the time, but worked it out to where he would see her almost everyday as well. Around this same time all this is happening, I get a phone call from my grandmother telling me my dads been missing since yesterday afternoon. Obviously he hadn't stopped drinking like I thought he might consider. The day goes by and nobody has a clue where hes at. I'm honestly starting to worry he got run over or something and is lying dead somewhere. Then on my lunch break at work my grandparents car pulls up with a bicycle strapped to the top and a half responsive man in the back seat that probably didn't even know what was going on, my father. They found him halfway between their house and mine, about 35 miles apart. It had taken him 20+ hours to get that far, he had gotten drunk and passed out somewhere along the way, woke up either still drunk or drank some more, and continued to my house. My grandparent said he wanted to see me, and they think he said he wants to stay with me for a few days. At this point I just got out of a relationship with my sons mother and am lucky enough to have my baby boy still living with me, so of course I tell them to just take him back with them, i can't afford to have an alcoholic in my house around my kid at this point, nor do I want my son around it anyways. This was the last time I saw my father. Summer of 2009, it is now may 2012. After my dad coming across an email intended for my grandmother that I sent explaining why dad couldn't stay and how I thought he needed to grow up and get help because I refuse to let my son go through what I did, he replied back. He does not think him and I should speak in the distant forscene future, his exact words. We spatted back and forth a bit via email that nignt. He was intoxicated of course. After seeing someone drunk that many times you don't have to be face to face to know they are drunk. But that's where it ended, my father not wanting to talk to me anymore. So far 2 1/2 years have gone by without contact with him. He has only seen his grandson one time. I haven't seen my family for 2 1/2 years as a result because obviously he lives with them and seeing them involves being around him. My grandparents are getting older, they aren't going to be around forever. My son is getting older and has no idea who his grandpa is, and I'm 25, and still to this day, even being a father myself, do not have a father. I am afraid that this is just the way its going to be and it's sad how things can turn out this way. If anything I will say in some ways it has made me a better father to my son, in others sometimes I feel like I'm shooting in the dark being a father. After all, if you had the father I had, what exactly do you look up to for inspiration? My dad loved me and still does, but alcohol has destroyed our relationship from the time I was born. It really is an illness with him, he will never stop. And I can not put my kid in danger like my father put me in danger. I don't want my son to ever have to experience the fear that I did. I don't use the word fear lightly either, anyone that has gone through this knows as a child, it is truly terrifying to see an adult in that state of mind when they are supposed to be the one taking care of you. I don't even know why I wrote this. I honestly never talk about this with anyone. I guess I just needed to get my story out and off my chest. If anything I hope somebody gets comfort knowing that they aren't alone. Many people deal with these kinds of things, and it follows you well into adult hood. It hit me even worse after having a son. I see a lot of myself in that boy, it's like looking into a mirror. I can't imagine putting my pride and joy, my life, my baby boy through anything like that. I have a hard time dealing with the fact that my dad did it to me. It's like a cloud that never goes away, and I don't think it ever really will. Maybe this is why I struggle with depression sometimes and I never really know why, I may never truly understand it. All I know for sure is that you only get one chance. My childhood is over and I missed out on having a dad, and my father will never get a redo. I hope and do everything in my power to make sure my son will never have to type something like this because of me. I love him more than anything in the world, he never needs to feel what I've felt. It takes it's toll on a little boy, and even on the man he grows up to be.

wewatso wewatso
May 22, 2012