Thanks for tuning back in. If you’re just joining, we’re picking up from the middle of my story of having an alcoholic father who never chose to get sober. To read Part One about the early years, click here.
…And here we go.
The Custody Agreement
Jump to the trial, custody arrangement, visitation agreement — whatever you want to call it. The judge ordered that we spend every other weekend with our “father”. Luckily for us, he decided to move out of state without letting anyone know, not even us or our mom. This changed the custody agreement for me and my sibling. We were now only being required to see him for 2 weeks every summer, and we were only court-ordered to do so until we were each 12.
This man went through wives like I went through black eyeliner — best to order in bulk because they weren’t going to last very long. The second wife, let’s call her Vivica, had 100 percent legitimate Bipolar Disorder. Vivica once threw a hot skillet covered with bacon grease at my head, then decided to go missing for two days in the woods. Guess who had to go out and look for her? This girl! This 12-year-old girl right here had to traverse rural North Carolina looking for a woman who just tried to physically deform me.
This was before my step-sister overdosed and died, but after me and father already had our typical fight of the summer over some ignorant, stereotypical, hillbilly remark he made.
Those two weeks every summer were the worst two weeks of every single year. Third wife was much, much better than number two. I never met four, and I heard a rumor that there’s a five — but don’t quote me on that.
I want to make one thing clear really fast — my mom is one of the best humans I’ve ever met. I hope readers aren’t under the impression that she’s anything less. She has never said anything bad about my father to myself or my sister. Ever. She has always said that she doesn’t want to influence our opinions of him. She’s always been like that, even when it comes to influencing other fundamental parts of our lives, like religion. Being unique was always encouraged by her.
Why I Don’t Talk to My Father Today
I actively choose to not allow my father into my life, as does my younger sister, especially since she was an infant when my mom left him. I made this decision around the time I turned 15, which was the last time I saw him face-to-face, and she followed suit. Her and him really never had any type of relationship, anyway.
We got into a stupid fight during one of those pesky court-ordered two weeks we had to spend together. I was old enough at this point to stop going, but I felt too guilty leaving my sister to go alone. He said something really hurtful for the first time. Not only was it hurtful, but it was ignorant, racist, and showed a sign of him that I, surprisingly, hadn’t witnessed up until that point. so I chose to fly home early that summer, sister in tow, never to return.
We’ve attempted communication a couple of times since then, but it never goes well and it’s a major trigger for me — him still living in active addiction and the anxiety it causes me to even think about having a conversation with him.
He has never wholeheartedly attempted to repair, or even begin, a relationship with me. On the few times that I’ve answered his calls by accident, he just starts with a, “Hey what’s up?!”, like we’re old friends that haven’t caught up in a while. I’ve never seen him as a parent in any way, shape, or form. I’d maybe consider him a distant uncle. I would never list him as an emergency contact. I tell people I don’t have a dad. You get the jist.
His father died 5 months before I was born. It absolutely destroyed him. His dad owned an auto repair shop, where they worked together. After his passing, my father’s mother sold the shop. That was the icing on the cake that set him down the path of self-destruction. Keep in mind, I was either in the womb or a newborn when this all began. About three decades later and he’s still off the wagon; I don’t know how he keeps it up.
The funny thing is, all these years later, I’m grateful that I might’ve gotten that alcoholic gene from him. I am beyond grateful to be a sober alcoholic today, and I might not be able to say that if it weren’t for him. Not only do I have the entire group of Adult Children of Alcoholics, but I also have Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12 steps, many more support groups, and healthy friends that I can relate to today as an adult. A lot of ‘normies’ don’t get these gifts of recovery.
Getting Sober with an Alcoholic Parent
I’m not the greatest barometer or point of reference to use as anyone’s ‘how-to’ guide for turning your life around with a parent in active addiction since mine wasn’t ever really a parent. Or apparent.
However, I do know that if you place your mom or dad’s recovery before your own, it will only end in disaster. If they don’t want to get clean and sober but you do, you have to separate yourself from them, as hard as it may be. If they do want to clean and sober, you still have to separate yourself from them. You can attend meetings together, but your recovery has to be your own.
If you need help for yourself, your parent, your child, or any other loved one, Principles Recovery Center is standing by to take your call and help you through this. Call us today at 1-866-692-0909.