Day 17 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge. Addiction features quite a bit on my blog as it’s something I feel passionately about and forms the best part of my day to day work. Today, Felicity shares her painful story of what it meant to grow up in a home with someone battling alcoholism. This is a truly moving story, and I applaud Felicity for being kind enough and brave enough to share it with us.
Living with an addict
I love to hear stories of victory over addictions, especially alcoholism. I recently read an excerpt from Rob Delaney‘s (the comedian and actor) autobiography about how he battled with alcoholism. It makes for harsh reading, but for me, I need to hear those stories of winning the battle. This is because my Dad was an alcoholic.
Sadly I can only say ‘was’, because my Dad died from alcohol related liver failure in 2011, when I was pregnant with my eldest daughter. He was 52. We hadn’t been in contact for a couple of years, but I made sure I went to see him in the hospital in his last few weeks. He was in physical and mental agony, his skin a horrible yellow colour and his body was wasting away. I held his hand and prayed for him and told him I loved him and forgave him.
Dad had been drinking for as long as I can remember. He would sit in a chair and fall asleep with a can in his hands most nights. He was angry at the world, he had a chip on his shoulder. He felt the world owed him something that he was never going to get. So he filled that gap with the numbing relief of alcohol.
He had a few successes in his battle. He went to ‘alcoholics anonymous’ for a while and I can remember his sobriety. I was only a child though, and I can’t remember what triggered him to start again.
For a long time I blamed myself for my Dad’s drinking. I felt like I should have been enough to stop him. Even now as a parent I wonder how he couldn’t stop, even when I pleaded with him. I can’t imagine something holding such a force over me that I wouldn’t stop, even if my daughters asked me to.
But the more I read about addiction the more I realise this. The addict doesn’t choose to be addicted. Dad didn’t start drinking and realise he’d never stop.
My dad was a closed, quiet man. He had few friends, and he was perhaps of a generation that hid their painful feelings well. He didn’t feel strong enough to talk about it, or maybe he felt that talking about it was weak. Perhaps he was embarrassed about not having control over his drinking. I wish he had spoken about it. I wish he had seen that talking about your problem isn’t a sign of weakness, but actually an act of courage. I wish he had felt braver. I wish he had felt able to accept the help that was available to him.
If someone you love is an addict please talk to someone. The more we talk about things, the less embarrassing they are, and the less embarrassed you are, the easier it will be to accept some help and support.
If you are struggling with an addiction, please talk to someone too. There is support for you, and you can recover. Your addiction doesn’t have to control your life.
Need support with these issues?
Support for family members of someone with addiction: http://www.al-anonuk.org.uk
For support with alcohol issues: http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk
For support with drug issues: http://ukna.org/meetings/search
For support with sex and love addiction: http://www.slaauk.org