Hi, my name is Shayla and I’m the daughter of an alcoholic. I guess from what my ma told me he had been an alcoholic since he was 16, but she married him anyway when he was 19. They immediately had my brother and I. He worked so he was what you call a “functioning alcoholic”. My first memories of my da are of him hitting my mother. He was mean to her. He was always hitting her. He was always yelling at us and at her. He never wanted to go out and do anything. He only cared about his beer and drinking. He cheated on my mother a lot also. I hated him. I felt like I didn’t even have a father. One night he told my ma he met a rich beautiful girl in the city and he was leaving her and they fought. I couldn’t believe my ma wanted to keep this piece of shit and I told her so right in front of him. The next morning he was gone.
I had heard through the years he had a daughter with his other wife. He never once came back and visited us. He always sent money and presents. He sent letters. I hated him for every penny, every word. If I’m honest I still do. What kind of man drinks, beats, and then leaves his family? When I heard he died I rejoiced and thought he got what he deserved. I’m still dealing with my bitterness. I don’t believe alcoholism is a disease.
Hi, my name is Bells and I’m the daughter of an alcoholic. My father was actually a recovered alcoholic. He spent the first part of his life and youth as an alcoholic and regretted it immensely. He spent most of his adulthood sober and said it was the best thing he’d ever done. My father raised me alone. He worked hard. He worked two jobs to make sure I had everything I wanted and needed. He never once ever laid a harsh hand on me or anyone in my presence. He talked about his first family with great regret and remorse. He went to church and confession often in hopes of being absolved from the sins of his past. He tried every day to be a better person than he was the day before. He was an amazing father. He taught me to be the person I am today. He taught me to be strong, intelligent, independent, and caring.
You see we had the same da, but we didn’t know the same person. People change. Alcohol changes a person. The father she knew is not the father I knew. When my father died I grieved the loss of a great man and now 14 years later, I still grieve. It’s unfortunate that she only got to see the side of him he allowed out with the cover of alcohol. My father carried a lot of pain from his childhood and he, like many in his generation (where therapy was not available or too expensive/thought down upon), used alcohol to numb it away. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact.
The man I knew was not the man she knew, and we are sisters who don’t know each other.