Dad’s Addiction Came Into My Life When I Was 7


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I don’t know when my father’s addiction began, but it came into my life when I was about 7. I’m sure it started earlier than that but I didn’t really know. He was never there; he was always working.

One day when I was 7, my mom dropped me off at the YMCA for summer camp. We were going on a field trip to the water park, and I was excited to go. Before we left with our counselors, my dad came to the YMCA and tried to get me to leave. I didn’t want to go because I wanted to go to the water park. Staff members told my dad he couldn’t take me. Even though I didn’t want to go with him, I was confused why they wouldn’t let my father leave with me.

I went to the water park with the rest of the camp, but staff members ushered me out of the park early and met my mom. She wanted to know what had happened, and I told her that he said we would have a pool at the hotel where he was going to take me.

Apparently, after he left the YMCA, no one knew where he went. My mother had to track him down.

That was not the only time he left. When he would leave, he would just be wandering around on the street. We wouldn’t know where he was. His mother and his sister always help find him.

My father has mental illness, and related manic episodes trigger his drug use.

My parents divorced when I was about 11, so I lived with him until then. The first two years after the divorce, he was around a lot for my younger brothers and me. After that, he started getting bad again and we didn’t see him for a while.

I’m 19, and even now, he’s not really around. He doesn’t communicate, and we don’t see him very much.

He started to show up a little bit more when he started dating his girlfriend a few years ago, but now it’s at least a few weeks between visits, six months at the longest. She also has bipolar disorder.

It was hard growing up because there were times when we did not know where he was. There were a few times when he would leave and he would just be walking around on the street and we wouldn’t know how he was. He doesn’t really abuse drugs until he’s having an episode — and then there’s a lot of screaming and yelling, and he’ll get mad. He’ll go away and we don’t know where he is. At one point, he was clean and living with a roommate he met through an addiction program. His roommate overdosed on Percocets, and my father watched him die.

My father’s addiction has affected me a lot because it’s still going on. I still have to deal with it. I’ll just be sitting here and I’ll get weird texts from him. He keeps losing jobs because he’ll go off the wall and won’t tell anyone.

Now that I’m an adult, I feel like I have to protect my brothers a little bit. They’re a lot younger than I am so they haven’t seen everything that I have seen. It’s so much pressure on my mom, too. I know she feels like she has to baby him. She still worries about him because he is her kids’ dad.

Sometimes I just don’t want to be around my dad and his girlfriend anymore. I don’t want to go to school near them or work near them because it’s so much to handle. But they have a little girl, and I want to have a relationship with my sister.

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