During my time in rehab my three children 13, 11 and 8 are wondering “where is Dad?” This is the hardest part for me to even talk about today, because for much of their early childhood I wasn’t much of a Dad. Today they say they didn’t see it but I know they are protecting me and maybe themselves. The good news is their was no violence in the household.
Their lives changed pretty dramatically after their Mom and I divorced as they were in an apartment living with their Mom having moved from a custom home built on five wooded acres of land at the end of a long driveway. They left a life of few concerns and came to a life with new worries and concerns. I know that was very hard for them however their Mom did a great job getting them through that time. Knowing that my addiction and behavior was directly responsible for changing their child hood forever still hurts today. I guess we are all the product of our lives as my Mom and Dad divorced when I was about 13 and it changed my life. My Dad was an alcoholic and regrettably for all of us he never found peace. The sadness I feel for my relationship between my Dad and me is that I could never count on him. I knew he loved me but he would never be there, whether for a hockey game or anything. My brother brought him to my college graduation just so he wouldn’t miss than. I was the youngest of four in my family and the only one to graduate from college and if my brother wasn’t there he would have missed that too. It is ironical because he got his MBA and education was always important to him. Lots of irony in addiction; you easily become the person you never wanted to be.
My three kids are in their thirties and late twenties and we talk and email one another but never spend much time together. We blame it on the distance but also know we may want to have our own lives now and maybe forget the past. We am the past. I love them to death and would do anything for them, but I give them their space which, at the end of the day, may be easiest for all of us. I celebrated my fifteenth wedding anniversary in March and my wife and I have two boys and they are about the same ages that my older kids were when I changed their lives. I am a little scarred and excited that I can be their for my kids today. What might seem a small thing to most people was huge for me. I took my 8 year old to a Bison’s baseball game (Triple A) and we stayed through the entire game and had a blast. I never did those things with my older kids because I could not trust myself with them and if I did I would leave after the 5th inning or 2nd period to make sure to get them home safe before I had too many beers. After 21+ years of sobriety I still remember that fear. That’s the sadness of addiction, but I wouldn’t trade my sobriety for anything.