My father is a drug addict. He is an alcoholic, too. He is not in active addiction, so he's bearable to be around. Actually, my dad is pretty cool when he's not using. He relapsed a few years ago, after several years of sobriety. Since then, we haven't been so close. I said some awful things to him after his last relapse; I made him feel bad intentionally. I was mean to him and wanted to tear his limbs from his body, wanted to dig his eyeballs out of his head, wanted to beat him with his own hands. I settled for saying awful, hurtful, vicious things to him, then avoided him for a couple of years.
Every other time in the past that Dad had sworn to get clean, he was so vocal about it. He would make promises to me, and talk about how much better he felt without dope, on and on and on. This time, he didn't make one promise; he never talks about how much better he feels. But he's straight, very straight, and for a long time. Well, long for him.
Do I think he's straight for good? Naw. I don't. Am I waiting for that call from my mom? Only every time I see her phone number on caller ID. But I am trying to enjoy him clean while I have him clean. Reading The Junky's Wife has brought up a lot of the pain I grew up with watching my dad use, but it has also helped me recognize how I was giving my dad's behaviour an unhealthy hold on me. A hold that I don't have to allow.
Dad and I spent most of the day together yesterday. We haven't done that in nearly three years. We ate lunch at Ruby Tuesday's, where I ate two mini cheeseburgers. Which are fun, because they're so small. I saw them on the menu and told the waitress, "those are cute, bring me a lot of those!". I took him shopping for movies, where he bought movies for my mom on a gift card I had given him. He went with me to the craft store, and held my purse while I had to put my fingers on every ball of yarn I could find. We spent a couple hours at the library, where he scoured through shelves of books looking for a vague description of what I wanted until he found it. We talked about things I never knew he was interested in. He expressed opinions that I never knew he had formed. He made jokes about being old and talked about how lucky he is to have the chance to grow old with my mom.
I've seen a whole different side to my dad that I never knew existed. For the first time, I feel as though I don't need to be the grown up in our relationship.
_____________________________________________________________________________________This post is part of a series of posts about my father.