A father and daughter’s bond is something complex yet beautiful. Formative in the beginning and nourishing as one goes, furthermore, behind every great daughter is a truly amazing dad. I say this because my dad and I had this very type of relationship, but something always made our relationship a little daunted. That’s why I’m writing this piece.
It gets deeper and personal. I’ve grappled with even sharing it, but here goes nothing; a story about a girl and her forever cherished daddio that got to understand the demons he was fighting.
When I wrote this at first, it was a piece about my dad, he was my superhero after all, but while I placed the pen to paper, I realized I had an underlying issue that I had not yet addressed. It dawned on me that the big A was the issue. Yes, ADDICTION it was. So in case you are battling an addiction, or know someone who is, this is for you.
I will be honest with you, there were times I was not happy with him, you see, my daddy had an addiction, he loved his drink and his cigarettes. I hated that about him, I did not understand how come he couldn’t fight harder to leave these addictions for me. To make me happier, I was wrong. Well, over time I have come to learn that you cannot fight an addiction unless you are doing it for you first, then others follow suit. It is a self-discipline and a personal decision which may seem very easy to think how effortless it is to leave behind but not that simple to do.
All in all, I have come to learn that every form of addiction is bad, whether alcohol or a narcotic even idealism. You will understand why I say this.
My daddy was fighting real demons, he was like a rat in a maze, no way out, or so he thought and no matter how hard he tried, he always ended up hitting rock bottom. If there is anything I have to come to learn about addictions, is the way it begins with a false hope that something out there can instantly fill up the emptiness inside and chase the pain away thus curing you. I say this because I also grew to have addictions of my own. Maybe not drug related but as I mentioned above, every form of addiction is bad.
An addiction is maintained by pleasure, but when the intensity of the pleasure diminishes the addiction is then maintained by the avoidance of pain. It becomes that thing that offers you relief to fill the proverbial hole. What is sad and makes me so emotional to this day is that I judged my dad for his addictions… I just did not understand how deep it could get…
However, with addictions of my own, I have learnt that it indeed is hard to understand addictions unless you have experienced them yourself… well, here we are.
“I now take the seat of the addict, and if there is anything I have understood that you cannot fight an addiction unless you are doing it for you first.”
I say this as a person who is currently fighting my own demons which to be honest have been hard to let go of… the wanting to be loved past my addictions and imperfections… Sadly, when I look back cautiously, I can say that I was not able to love my dad past his addictions and imperfections, because the moment he came home high, I would switch off from him. But I can now only imagine how hard it could have been for him to handle. Because despite all his shortcomings; he is the man who taught me what loves is — despite me not loving him enough, he taught me what discipline was — despite him not having enough of it to quit drinking, the man who made me grow up to be so giving — because he gave all he had (all up to the last shirt on his back), the man who taught me balance through karate, taught me public speaking and perfect articulation, taught me how to dance in the rain, but most importantly, taught me how to be me.
He was there during my wins, my cries, my heartaches, my shortcomings and successes, he was there through it all, and not once did my dad ever judge me, he cherished and adored me even more through my hardest of times. I saw it in his eyes, I felt in his touch and savored it when he smiled and nodded in reassurance. He was just a sweet amazing man and the addictions he had made me lose sight of all the good he did.
And how sad is it that I realize this only just now… Right? Maybe! Would I have done things differently? Yes-freaking-yes I would have had more empathy towards my papa! He needed a little more of my kindness, more of my understanding and more of my love. Did he always get it? No! And now I have grown to learn a hard lesson too while I also go through my addictions. The lesson is that I too can be judged, insulted in silence, and even get neglected.
It took going through the pain I went through to understand how hard it can get, how fighting personal battles can be hard.
Because with the Endo journey I am on, I looked for an escape, that thing that could just take away the pain even for a moment. However, minutes into it, the psychological burdens and guilt always caught up with me and so would the pain alike.
As I write this, I have not fully mastered how to let go of my addictions but I have learnt ways to try and overcome the urge to indulge them. Now I can confidently say I am getting cured and can talk about this in length maybe in the near future.
Let me just say this: If you know someone fighting hard to come out of this hole, be there for them and love them through it. It may require you to do it from a distance but do not lose hope, remain understanding, remain prayerful for it will not be easy, but trust me, it will be worth it. With nothing left to chance, just, love them through it, adore them through it, remind them that you are there by their side to fight on with them, God knows how I wish I was by his side and more present for my dad through his imperfections.
And to you fighting addictions of your own, remember the goal is not to be sober, the goal is to love yourself so much that you don’t need that thing that you are addicted to. Self-mastery and the consistent care of your mind, body and soul will help you fight this. A food for thought that I recently meditated on is from the book “The monk who sold his Ferrari” that says, how can you care for others if you can’t even care for yourself? How can you do good if you don’t even feel good? Work on you first, love yourself first, find inner peace and the rest will follow, at least that is what I am slowly learning to do.
To us all, let us love one another with the love of 1st Corinthians 13.
My last message to my dad is this edited song from Michael Bolton – Fathers and Daughters:
If I could catch a star for you
I swear I’d steal them all tonight
To make my every wish come true
and have you here with me, maybe just one more time.
But that’s not how the story goes
The world is full of perfect plans
There are promises that I did break
I know you lived to understand
I was just but a child
You told me that when times are hard you knew I’ll be strong
that you’ll be there in my heart when I’ll carry on
Like moonlight on the water, and sunlight in the sky
Fathers and daughters never say goodbye.
An Angel I was, you’d read me to sleep
I had become a dream of your own
So you wanted me to learn to love and spread my wings
And find the one to call my home – I did dad, and I am blessed that you met him.
I miss you dad.
Father’s and Daughters never say goodbye 💖
Stay kind my friends.