After a great day yesterday and a lot of reflection, I think (for now) I may have managed to get to version 1 of the introduction for the book, after all, that’s the part everyone reads first, right? so thanks to Sarah and Ollie for a great day yesterday, Ollie thank you for the book, it helped me edit and have a rethink. So here goes…
Why am in writing this book, well it’s not just to share mine and dads story, I am hoping that you get more out of it than that, this isn’t a pity book neither, I am just sharing my own personal experience. After years and years of craving dads love and attention, wanting him to be there when I was at my most vulnerable, to reassure me and put a comforting arm around me and tell me everything will be ok, wanting him to be more like the other dads.
Did it take to me getting to 38? Years old for the shoe to be on the other foot, YES! All them years craving his attention, he now craved ours, dad needed me, he needed my sister, he relied on us to care from him, he needed reassurance, emotional support. Living with family and friends would question “why are you doing that? He wouldn’t have done the same for you?” or “When was your dad around when you needed him?” “He’s a selfish bastard, always was and always will be” “He doesn’t deserve you as a daughter!”.
I heard it, I listened, I listened when I didn’t want to, I took the digs, I put dad before my own kids and put a newfound pressure on my personal relationships with my partner. I took it from family, from work colleague’s I was functioning in permeant fight or flight mode.
But quite simply I didn’t know why I went back from more, like a friggin boomerang I would kick back, step back then go back for more. And I never understood why? I also used to think it was me who thought and felt like I did but I have realised that I wasn’t alone, from sharing my story times over, about growing up, my relationships, my addiction, dealing with dads addiction, I wasn’t alone in my thoughts fears, anxieties, confusion, hurt, sadness and anger.
I am also writing it because when we are not coping or we are going through some life crisis its is so easy to get sucked into societies illusion or the consumer culture that there is a fix for everything. The same illusion that that is very good at manipulating us to want more, more, more. Fuck me it is no wonder people feel so fucked up. Chasing the dream when in reality the answer to all of our questions, our fears, our anxieties that are already there in us. Underneath all the hype and marketing is the implication that more is always better. I bought into this idea for years and quite frankly what I have learned to understand over the years is that less is in fact more. Blaming and shaming get’s no fucker anywhere.
There is a lot to be said for sharing your story with strangers, you might not think it, but as you listen to other peoples stories you realise you are not alone, they too have felt experienced similar fears, anxieties, confusion, hurt, sadness, anger, and frustration. Talking, sharing with others can and does help with the insanity of addiction, in fact, life in general and let’s face it, addiction or not, life is and can be pretty shit, whether is of our own doing or others.
Sharing can give you a respite from the isolation, respite, from the thoughts and feelings of shame, seeing things clearly for a fleeting moment relief from the hurt and pain. But it also gives you the space to think, to think through your fears, to think through your anxieties, think about solutions and this, in my opinion, is highly underrated. I cannot count the number of times I have spoken to someone in crisis face to face or over the phone suggesting that they should try getting some support for themselves and them to turn around and say “but I haven’t got a problem? Just tell me how to solve or fix this other person and I’ll be ok”
The fact still remains we all have choices in life, some harder than others but once they are made you have to live and deal with the consequences. We can only be responsible for ourselves, but knowing it and doing it are two completely different things.
It’s a slow process, it can be scary, after all, you are not used to baring your soul, the journey is different for everyone, each unique, but you always need to remember, your healing journey starts with surrender and learning to look inside yourself.
The shittiest bit for people to get their head around is, knowing that sometimes, in order for them to facilitate the best for someone they love, is to move away, back off, not just for their sanity, but for the person who is addicted. Because, again, the bottom line is “The only person who can help the addict, is the addict themselves” Now I’m not saying don’t help, but there are ways you can help whilst learning to retain some of your own sanity at the same time.
I don’t know anyone whose life ambition was to become an addict, “Do you?” I know I certainly didn’t, and I can confidently speak on the behalf of my dad and my aunt who passed away a few years later from alcohol abuse, that they didn’t either? And then there are all the other poor souls, in fact, there are fucking millions of them out there suffering in silence.
Addiction is a bastard, we all get that, or else YOU Wouldn’t be reading this, would you? Or are you someone from school who’s just a nosey git? Ha ha ha that’s ok, I’m a nosey git too and I am not ashamed of my life to date, in fact, I am pretty proud of it even the shit bits.
We have every fucker in the addiction field arguing about whether or addiction is a disease or self-inflicted. People arguing, banging on about how their approach/model to addiction is the best one to cure you, and individuals buy into this, for the private sector, business is booming, especially when we live in a society there is a cure for nearly everything. I mean the advances in medical science are mind-blowing but yet scientist doesn’t have a cure for addiction?
“What about those who aren’t addicted, who might never have taken a single drug in their life?” but are now through no fault of their own thrown into the fucked up realm of addiction. Its shit, I get it, it’s not fair, I get “you didn’t ask for it?” I mean who in their right mind fucking would? it but the bottom line is you will have to whether you like it or not going to have to ask yourself “how am I going to deal with this?”
Now I am not dismissing the amazing support and guidance that we have at our disposal, far from it, I say take as much as you can get, take the tools, build your toolkit, BUT you have got to be willing to use them and to use them to the full advantage you must be willing to use them on yourself and this, my friends, is the hardest pill to swallow.
There are also those who feel that it is their ‘moral obligation, or natural instinct ‘ to take on the role of helping the addict, these are most likely to be the parents or a partner, but regardless of the connection, obligation, you have to think about your own obligations, morals, and connection to yourself.
Now there is no right or wrong here, this isn’t about blame, none of this book is about blame, fuck me there is enough fucking people blaming already, we don’t need any friggin more.
Writing this book, my hope, the aim is to help people try to figure out who they are this is much more about addiction, personally, I think when you get down to the nitty-gritty, addiction is actually only a small factor. The sooner people recognise and accept ‘Shit Happens’ whether or not they like it, you do have a choice in how you deal with it, its not always easy in fact it can be hard, painful and relentless at times, but that’s life in general, right?
My story, my dads story is about just this, the book is about exploring, reflecting back on my life’s journey, coming to terms with the fact that ‘YES’ I have made some pretty shit decisions in my life, some very unwise decisions, I have hurt the closest around me, but coming to terms with who I am and being able to say, ‘So what, I have fucked up, but that doesn’t make me a bad person?’ In fact, I am quite the opposite, it’s just that I didn’t really know this about myself.
With dad, even though he could and was an utter bastard AND has done some pretty shit, horrible things in his life, he was fundamentally a good guy, not that I saw it much growing up, ‘but hey, I was a kid after all’, its easy for me to now, 48 years later to be able to say this, because trust me I would have NEVER said that 20 years ago. For me, I got a glimpse of the latter part of dad, the side to him, I honestly thought, I would never see growing up, the side of dad I craved for as a kid, the sad fact is, like Kylie Minogue says “Better the devil you know”.
I am going to try my best to be as brutally honest with myself, with you, even though by doing this I am taking a BIG risk laying myself bare and open to criticism, to others interpretation of me, of who I was, who I am and try to learn and practice not to give “two flying fucks” about what others think anymore, the only thing I concern myself with of late is about what I am thinking.
Thank you, dad, for helping me to realise and see life from another perspective, my own.