The following was submitted by the child of an alcoholic & addict: An Open Letter to My Alcoholic Father
We had some amazing times during my childhood and for those moments when you were being a dad, I thank you. We’ve gone to baseball games, you taught me how to drive and I’ve always had a good time with you. Those are the moments I will forever hold onto.
Unfortunately, those memories have a dark shadow cast over them because of your poor decisions. I know you didn’t want to hurt me, but your addiction to drugs and alcohol left a hole in my life. There is more damage done than you could ever understand.
I’ve spent years watching mom try to help you get well. You go to rehab, you come home and start it all over again. How about the times I was forced to tag along for your drug runs? You thought that if you took me, mom wouldn’t know what you were up to. I was used as a distraction in your hunt for more.
Or, how about the times the electricity got turned off because we didn’t have any money. Jon and I had to sit in the dark while you were out with your buddies at the bar.
Your drugs and alcohol were always more important than me, Jon or mom. You didn’t care if we were in danger because you owed money to a dealer. You didn’t stop to think about how it affected us.
Here’s what your addiction has done…
I Can’t Trust Anyone
How could I learn to trust someone? Every time I believed you; every time I thought you cared about me, you would hurt me all over again. Like the times you never came home for Christmas. All those times you told me that you were clean when you really weren’t.
How about the time you stole my Playstation to get drug money?
I would cry at night and hope for a miracle, but it never came. In those fleeting moments when you tried to be a dad, I thought it was over. Only to have you crush me yet again when you didn’t change.
Because of this, I can’t put my trust in anyone. I walk around life with a shield on protecting myself from the next person who wants to hurt me.
I Can’t Be Good Enough
No matter how hard I try, I just don’t feel good enough anymore. While you were gone, I studied hard and worked to maintain straight-As. I never got in trouble and I made sure to take care of mom and Jon while you were gone. I made myself the man of the house and you never noticed.
You never took the time to thank me for cleaning up your messes. You never said you were proud that I wasn’t turning out like you.
I know that your addiction is a disease and not something you can control, but I hurt. What you did will forever have an impact on me that can’t be reversed. Every day I struggle to find confidence in myself. I feel weak most days.
I Don’t Believe in Love
I watched you hurt mom. You lied, broke promises, cheated and manipulated her until she became a shell of a woman. I sat and listened to you fight with her. I remember the times the cops showed up and mom was so helpless to your power.
You’ve left me with no sense of love. You only showed me how terrible a marriage can be. I am sure there are plenty of people that have found fulfilling and trusting relationships, but I don’t think I’ll be one of them.
I don’t want to hurt my loved ones like you did.
I Suffer From Anxiety
I always worry. Day in and day out, my life is driven by fear. I believe it’s because you provided no stability for me. You always let me down.
I sat up at night wondering if you were still alive. We never knew if you would come home or not. When you did come home, we had to worry what mood you were in. Were you high or withdrawing from the drugs?
Even now, I find things to worry about. I struggle to feel happy or enjoy the moment I am in. Each day, I think about the next 20 steps I have to take and that robs me of all joy.
I Don’t Know What A Real Father Is
I look at others I know who had great fathers. There are days when I can’t understand the love between them. You are in my memories, but your addiction made most of them dark and painful.
Even now, you barely have time to check in with me. As I prepare to graduate, you’ve taken no interest in my life or my future. It hurts that I never had a father.
I try to be the best role model I can for Jon and fill the absence you’ve left, but it’s hard. I don’t know how because you never showed me.
As I pick out colleges, I don’t have you to talk to for advice. When I am struggling at work, I can’t confide in you. I am thankful every day for a mom who tries to be a dad to me as well, but she isn’t meant to do that job. You are!
There are days when I miss you deeply. I find myself gravitating toward other men as replacement fathers, but that doesn’t work. I will never know what it is like to grow up with a real father. Because of that, I am not sure that I could ever be a dad. What if I let my children down?
I Know What Not To Do
If anything, I’ve learned a lot about what not to do in life. I don’t want to hurt people the way that you so easily did. There is no time in my life to be a bad person. I choose today to be kind and caring to my family and friends.
I’m learning that working hard and staying focused will pay off. I plan to stay on this path until the end because I don’t want to be like you.
Your words, negative actions and lack of love are causing me to be stronger. The pain is motivating me to work at being the best man I can.
So, in a strange way, I thank you. You’ve modeled what not to do with my life. I love you dad and I always will, but you’ve forever affected my heart in a negative way. That pain won’t ever be fully gone; it is something I will live with.
Maybe one day you’ll be proud of me. Today, I’ve learned to stop waiting for that day. Today, I live my life without trying to please you any further.
Your Teenage Son”
What to Do If Your Parent is an Addict
This impact letter on drug addiction shows how difficult it can be for children and families of addicts. Those hurt by addiction may have trouble healing and understanding how to move forward from their parent’s or family member’s actions in addiction. There are things you can do to help both yourself and your addicted mother, father, or family member:
- Find addiction treatment programs to help your parent get sober
- Enter support programs for parents of drug addict fathers and mothers
- Recognize what you can and cannot change about your parent or family member
Writing your own open letter to your drug addicted parent can help you recognize your own feelings regarding their addiction. Write out the letter, much like the one above, and lay out all your feelings about your parent’s addiction. You don’t have to give this letter to the parent who chose addiction, but getting your feelings out on paper can help you understand what still needs healing.
Contact Clearbrook For Addiction Treatment
Unfortunately, as we struggle through the cycle of addiction, we do not realize the pain and hurt we are causing to those most important to us. While it is never intentional, it is still painful all the same. Addiction is a family disease, because while one person may abuse drugs and alcohol, everyone in the family suffers. Nevertheless, there is a way out of that cycle and hope for the future; for both the family members and the addict.
If you or someone you know and love is currently struggling with alcoholism and/or drug addiction, Clearbrook Treatment Centers can help. For 45 years, we have been providing effective treatment to those suffering from chemical dependency, while also providing the affected family unit with education and support. If you are ready to come to treatment or are interested in our Family Educational Program, please contact our Admissions Specialists today.
We look forward to hearing from you.