This is such a powerful piece to be posting on a day that can be very hard for COA’s. I am sure so many will relate to the pain that the author, Amy, describes in this post and maybe even more so to the courage it takes to put oneself first.
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Fathers day has always been an interesting time for me, I’d rummage through cards trying to find one that didn’t say ‘Worlds greatest dad’, ‘you’re one in a million’ or ‘thanks for everything you do’. My dad hasn’t been there for me or my siblings since he developed a problem with alcohol.
So why buy him a card at all?
It’s because I felt I had to, everyone else buys their dad a card and present and people used to say to me that no matter what, he’s ‘still my dad’ and I knew I would feel like I was being mean if I didn’t buy him something and I would feel guilty if I just ignored the day. So I’d buy him a card and a present and I’d even arrange to do something with my dad and then spend the entire day biting my tongue every time he mentioned wine and would feel frustration when he spoke about himself the whole time, never asking me how I was or how my family was. I’d come away feeling angry and like I’d wasted my day.
And on Father’s day, the social media posts would begin… “To the best dad anyone could wish for” and photos of happy families having jolly times and lists of all the wonderful things their dads do for them and I’d just think, why can’t my dad be like that? Why did he choose alcohol over us? I’d feel jealous and upset and mourn for the dad that I could have, should have had.
I recently made a hard decision, I decided to put myself first. Why spend time with someone who only makes you angry and upset? I stopped buying cards and presents for my dad and I stopped making the effort with him… he has never made any effort with his children and so communication soon ceased. I realised at that point just how much it had always been me reaching out to him, me forcing the meet-ups and the conversations. He could still ring me and I’d speak to him, but he doesn’t. He chooses alcohol.
It’s still hard to see the social media posts, to see the cards and presents in the shops and to face the criticism of ‘you should make an effort, he is your dad after all and you only get one dad’. But I’m standing tall, I don’t care what people think, they didn’t see all the times I’ve put him to bed drunk, the times I’ve found him laying in a pool of him own vomit and thought he was dead and the punches and hits I’ve taken when he’s turned violent. I don’t need them to understand either, I know why I’ve made those choices and that’s all that matters, I’m starting to learn not to care what others think, something that’s easier said than done.
This father’s day, I’ll continue to mourn for the loss of the father I could have, should have, had but I’ll be doing something that makes ME happy at the same time. I can’t save my dad but I can create my own happiness and I shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so.
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Very well said. Particularly the part about others saying what you should do. They have no idea how destructive alcohol is on everyone in a family. They shouldn’t judge. Well done for standing tall
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Thank you for sharing this piece. I can totally relate to how you are feeling.
I was estranged from my father for many years before he died. and I often wonder what could of been if the alcohol had not taken over.
Father’s day is a difficult day but I agree with you that our own happiness comes first and we shouldn’t ever feel guilty for doing so xx
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I am a COA and also a recovering alcoholic. I understand and can identify with all that you write in your piece and would strongly advise you to continue with the view….
” I can’t save my dad but I can create my own happiness and I shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so.”
saying that your dad “chooses alchol”
is simplifying the situation.
My dad has been dead for 43 years and his life with my family still saddens me AND angers me from time to time – Im only human after all!
I wish you well and I hope you had a good day on Sunday. x