For families of addicts, holidays can be difficult and sad. Father’s Day is no exception.
Family-focused holidays as as this Father’s Day bring back many memories as well as regret and resentment. There are events, such as conflicts and trauma that have impacted the lives of every family member.
For Richard (not his real name), Father’s Day is a day unlike any other. It brings him many emotions and memories that take him back to five years ago, in the lightless office of his crumbling business. Here, he hid during what was his first Father’s Day. That day, he left his way and their newborn on a four-day binge on meth (shabu) while weaving in and out between casinos. He hasn’t bathed in four days. His cheeks were peppered with unshaven stubbles. He forgot when he last ate. His eyes are hollow. He felt hollow.
The Same Faces of Addiction
Richard’s story isn’t uncommon. Many addicts, both men and women of different ages, may have gone through their own version of this situation.
One thing is common. They fell into an addiction trap. It may be fun and exhilarating at first, with that high, but it won’t take very long before their own version of hell unfolds.
In Richard’s case, addiction has taken his family hostage. He hasn’t told his wife, who just gave birth to their son, what he’s been doing. She suspects there’s something wrong, but he just told her he’s busy at work and can’t come home. She’s left alone, but in her mind, she’s juggling different emotions–fear, worry, hurt, loneliness, guilt, and despair. Chances are, the nights he hasn’t come home, his wife was wide awake and gripped with worry and suspicion. But Richard will never know–or understand–this. Not in his state.
Richard has lost his ability to control himself, empathize with other people, and weigh the consequences of his actions. Whenever he makes that detour to his pusher before heading home, he forgets everything else and only that feeling of having the drugs inside him. Each time this happens, he tells himself that he can handle it, that this won’t take long and he will be home soon–but it never happens. He uses more and more…and he can’t stop.
Soon, he used up all his savings, his business went down the drain, his credit cards were all maxed out. He ran up a lot of debt, his wife was about to leave him, and all that he worked hard for was shattering before his eyes. He can’t call his parents anymore, they have given up trying to bail him out each time. So he was stuck hiding out in his office–because he had nowhere else to go.
That night in his office, he was faced with a fork in the road.
Making a Decision
It’s been five years since then. He took the path that would lead him to recovery, health, life, and hope.
Today, Richard is clean-shaven. He has gained his weight back. He no longer resembles the wasted, broken man from five years ago. The road to this moment was an uphill one, but he had his family to think about. He had to be stronger than the pull of his old life drowned addiction. Each time he thinks about meth, he looks at the ring he got when he graduated from rehab and visualizes his family. They represent everything that he holds dear.
Ronald learned the hard way and he hurt people along the way. Since then, he slowly made amends. Some people in his shoes five years ago might go on and may even end up losing it all before finally admitting their problem. For some, it could be too late.
Whether you are a father or are contemplating about being one, think about this. Reflect on Richard’s life and yours. If you continue with your addiction, you leave behind nothing but a legacy of suffering, hurt, and despair for the people who loves you. Just ask Richard. Like him, we could all use some help, some hope.