My mother and father divorced when I was 14 years old and from then on I was pretty much estranged from my father. My father was abusing drugs and being arrested frequently until I was in my mid 20’s. I remember thinking to myself, “Thank God, I will never be like him.”
I always wondered what led my father to drug abuse. I never asked him. I did see him from time to time around holidays at my grandfather’s house, but he was never much for catching up. We had no relationship to speak of. One time, after I had been clean for a while, I confronted him about the abuse he inflicted upon me when I was a child. I remember thinking to myself, “Thank God, I am not like him.”
A few years ago my father was diagnosed with throat cancer. He contacted me from the hospital where he was receiving treatment. He couldn’t speak without being in pain. I did not pity him, but I did feel sorry for him. I was sorry that he never heard the message of hope that I heard when I attended my first Narcotics Anonymous meeting. My father lived the last 3 decades of his life a slave to addiction. And then, he got cancer. He was surely going to die, from one disease or the other. I remember thinking to myself, “Thank God, I never have to live a life like his.”
My father passed away 2 months ago. He did not contact anyone when he went into the hospital. My grandfather called me early one morning to tell me he had passed. I have so many things I wanted to say to my father. Maybe some things are better left unsaid.
Truth be told, for a time I was like my father, desperate to change the way I felt, beholden to my addiction. I was constantly pushing away the people who loved me most, consistently making one bad choice after another. BUT, I received the gift of recovery. And since then, my life has been nothing short of amazing; and I owe a debt of gratitude to Narcotics Anonymous and God, who I choose to call my Higher Power.
“No addict seeking recovery need ever die from the horrors of addiction.” – Gratitude Prayer