This incredible piece has been written by 16 year old Kacey. I am simply blown away by her words. There is so much courage in this piece it is unreal. If you feel impacted by what you read then you can contact Nacoa for help and support. If you would like to share a piece as a COA, then please get in touch. Also, my YouTube channel is new and improved for this year and I would love you to subscribe.
Is this a letter to you? Or is this a letter to me? Part of me hopes that by writing this, it will begin my journey of not only closure from the past but hope for the future. The other part of me hopes that by writing this, even if it doesn’t give me closure, it might help others.
That’s me all over, isn’t it?
From such a young age, I have tried my hardest to help, to fix others, to be reliable. I neglected myself, convinced myself that my problems would burden others and I was not worthy nor deserving of any help. Writing this is harrowing. From the outside looking in, a sixteen year old feeling such ugly emotions is heart breaking. That sixteen year old is me yet I feel so detached from her. Why? Where did I get these feelings and thoughts from? It’s only upon reflection and therapy (an awful amount of CAMHS sessions and talking at school) that has opened my eyes. I’m now awake, and I can see where this all began. These core beliefs, rooted deep inside of me, were planted by you. The fear, the guilt, the anxiety has all bloomed from these seeds that you planted then abandoned.
The drinking, the drugs, the domestic violence: all things that I hadn’t given a second thought until the other month. Things which I knew made us a dysfunctional family yet refused to acknowledge them for what they truly are- traumas. It is such a vague word, one I choose to hide from because I can’t relate to it, can I? I mean, nobody died. Not really. Nothing “traumatic” like that. Every sip of alcohol you drank killed the man I idolised, murdered the innocence of my childhood and obliterated any chance of normality.
But you’re still here- you didn’t die. You’re still alive. You still get to appreciate the beauty and wonders of our world. But you are not here. Or at least, the man that you should be is not here, the husband mum deserves isn’t here and the father I desperately need is definitely not here. Can I say I’m grieving? I’ve lost a relationship, an important relationship. My father cheated on me, decided that something else was much more important than his little girl. Heroin and alcohol replaced me. You allowed our time to be stolen by such wicked substances.
Many nights I lay awake and my thoughts wanted to you. I agonize over how much pain must consume you from your head to your toes, stuck with you every waking moment, for you to give up your family. That pain must feel horrendous. Yet, I feel a pain too. You showed me the worst side of the world at such a young age. When I think of my childhood it is poisoned with pain and hurt. No child should reflect and feel that. But, I do. Every day is full of hurt. When I think about you, it awakens a Pandora’s Box that I yearn to keep shut. You had the world in front of your eyes and it still wasn’t enough. Your first born daughter (with my mum) wasn’t enough. Why wasn’t I enough? This haunts me daily- I was your first daughter after the miscarriage and that wasn’t enough.
Are you the cause of my perfectionism? Do you hold the answers for my desperate need for control? If I’m not perfect, if I do something wrong, people will leave- won’t they? Or at least, that’s something you taught me. No matter what I do, the people I love and trust will leave and hurt me. Exactly like you did. I will not be good enough for anyone because if a little girl’s dad doesn’t want her and won’t stay around, who else will?
Even though you no longer live in our family home or even the same town, I do not feel safe. Home feels like such a juxtaposition as it’s supposed to be the place where you feel safest but having a dad like you means that I can’t. I am always on high alert. When I’m all alone to too scared to sleep, I can faintly smell the sickening scent of cheap cider whilst the screaming and shouting rings in my ears. It was much worse when you lived with us, I lived in a constant state of fear. I was afraid that one day you’d be so drunk and out of your face that slapping mum once wouldn’t be enough for you. At the age of five/six, I was petrified that I would wake up and you would have killed my mum. At the age of nine/ten, I was frightened of what the drink and drugs would do to you. They say that the past is in the past but it isn’t. I still live in total fear every day. Every single day, I am afraid that the front door will knock and we will be informed that you’re dead, the drugs will have finally killed you. A fatal hit and it’s all too late. Would I be allowed to grieve then? You’d actually be dead but I don’t know the man you became. How would the rest of the world view it? A teenager who hardly saw her “junkie” alcoholic of a dad, is sad because he’s dead. I can think of one word that I’ll be called- a hypocrite.
You completely stole my childhood. A father should protect their child from pain yet you constantly inflicted it upon me. Although you did so many terrible things, I do not hate you. One of the rare positive lessons that I have learnt from you, is to not carry any hate nor anger within my heart towards this world. I pity you, that’s all. I pity you because I might be struggling right now, but ultimately it is you who struggles the most.
Every day I wake up and fight the demons because I refuse to give up. I’m thankful, so thankful, that I’ve gone through this. I’m using this pain to do better. All this pain in my life but I am determined to create a world full of happiness. I am beginning to realise that I am good enough, and maybe it’s you- you’re the one who wasn’t good enough or I was too good for you. I don’t wish you any pain or upset, I hope you will put your demons to rest and realise the consequences of your actions. It isn’t all you’re fault, alcoholism is a disease, an illness. Unfortunately, you’ve been unwell for quite some time.
I am a COA and I am good enough- beyond good enough. If you’re reading this, you’re most likely a COA and you are good enough. This isn’t your fault, ever.
One last note for you dad, when I find peace with the world, I hope to find peace with you.