Just got done with Father’s Day and have been left with mixed feelings. Throughout my life I have one biological child – a son. A child I never really met. At the time, I had no use for the mom, except for one thing. That one thing produced that child. I was an active abusive drunk who wanted nothing to do with a long term relationship. By the time I got sober that boy was now a young man.
A man who I knew nothing about. A man who might not even know who I was. A man who may have already had a dad and a happy life. Sobriety taught me that recovery wasn’t just about me. It included others. And this son was one of them. If he ever tries to find me I’ll welcome him with open arms and do my best to answer any and all of his questions.
With that said, I have raised children. Seven of them through two marriages. None of them mine by blood, but they were mine by love and choice. Four of these kids would laugh at that last statement. To them, I didn’t represent love. They would say pure evil. You know what? That used to be a true statement. It was who I was over 25 years ago. An active drunk. A drunk who had no respect for life, nor their existence.
When I found sobriety, I did my 9th Step with them. With each one individually I made honest amends. As much as I prayed for their forgiveness, two of them, to this day have not forgiven or forgotten. After this much time, they are still waiting for me to fall on my face – drunk. Part of me understands and can accept that they have a right to feel the way they do. The other two go from moments where we talk and seem to be growing close, then something happens and they shut me out.
I have reached a point that I can’t keep subjecting myself to their pain. One blames their failed marriages on me. OK, their childhood may have led to bad choices in life, yet I won’t accept responsibility for their actions. One marriage? OK, maybe… just maybe I can shoulder some of the blame. But after the second or third failed marriage maybe it’s time to look inward and stop pointing fingers at me.
The other one actually lived with me and my new wife and three new step children. She moved into a new home after saying her step-dad abused her. I never questioned her on what happen, though in one counselling session I heard part of the story… and I’ll leave it at that – a story.
Admittedly, it was a difficult change. To go from a dysfunctional family to one where openness and honesty was on display, she struggled to find acceptance. I won’t go into details, but my drinking was just the tip of the iceberg with that first marriage and it all came to light AFTER I was long gone and out of the picture.
When the change is this radical nothing good can happen if the effort to change isn’t there. Story telling and flat out lies were told to new school mates, making this child bigger than life, at least in their mind. There were stories of sexual adventures with some neighbours, which were unbelievable from the moment they were told.
The worst though was when the sheriff’s department came to see me, saying that this child reported me for abuse. One thing I have never done in any way, shape, or form, is abuse any child since sobriety. It is a part of my life, drunken life, that I am most ashamed of and one that I would never repeat as a sober individual.
The game wasn’t thought out. The mistake was that I was active in the community. I ran an AA program through the county jails. I took diversion classes with another step-child, so the local law enforcement community knew me. And more importantly they knew my new family and knew that if any abuse happened in that family, the kids’ mom would have reported it right away and in reality, the two boys could have probably beaten the shit out of me before I could have hurt them.
Caught in this lie, the child never accepted responsibility or offered an apology. Instead, they created a new game. They threatened suicide. So off for treatment for that. More money, draining out of our pockets, for a child who only knew one way of life – dysfunction. Eventually, this child returned to their original family of insanity and to this day no apology has been given.
I have moments where I seem to be getting close to this child, then something happens and we go back to squared one. A few years back the Labour Party in the UK was having a leadership contest and one of the candidates was Andy Burham. One night, before a debate the TV commentators were talking about the qualifications of the representatives. When they got to Andy one editorialist said, “Andy Burham’s platform is whoever he talked to last.” This describes this child to a tee.
They have no opinion of their own and want acceptance and friendship from everyone. I could live with that, knowing they don’t have a backbone, but the games and lies are becoming to much. I used to send their family money for the holidays. Not once was I ever acknowledged with a thank you from them or their kids. So that stopped. Then the lies started. Did you get your Christmas card? Come on, you’ve got to send one before I can get one. I know if I said I didn’t get one then the next comment would have been something about being lost in the mail. The best was an apology on Facebook about some Christmas Cards that weren’t finished and forgot to be mailed. The photo was a bunch of blank envelopes with one having my name on it but no address. Come on, do I have stupid written on my forehead.
Now the latest was them spending Father’s Day with their bio-dad. A dad who had nothing to do with this child’s upbringing and never paid a penny in child support.. Yet this child goes out of their way to wish him a Happy Father’s Day on their Facebook page and nothing about me. Childish on my part? Maybe, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it hurt.
I now realize that basing my hopes on this person is not worth my serenity. They are manipulative and constantly play games. They have had a lifetime of living with lies and have become masters at it. What does that make me? I can see it and know it, yet I keep going back for more. By focusing on this one child, I’m ignoring two beautiful Father’s Day messages I did receive from two other step-children. It’s time to quit focusing on what I don’t have and start focusing on what I do have. The sad part is that if this child knew of my financial worth, they would be my best friend. I think it would bring me more peace, after my death, to leave my fortune to charity.
There are a few I am fond of. One is Cat Protection. Just love shelter animals and have been blessed with some great cats that came from there. The other would be The Salvation Army. It has been over a span of ten years that I have given money to this organization. My last four years in America, I even got tp be Santa Claus through their Adopt A Family Program at Christmas. I was on my own and had no family to get gifts for, so I gave money to one family that The Salvation Army chose and they had a very nice Christmas season. It was done anonymously, so I never got to see the smiles of youngsters getting their gifts but it still filled my soul with warmth and gratitude knowing I had the ability to help others.
So maybe the best gift I got this Father’s Day was no gift. Without a gift, I will finally Let Go and Let God…