Daughter of Addiction

 This is the hardest post I've ever written. Harder than my post about social anxiety, harder than my post about the breakup, harder than anything truly. But this post I'm dedicating to what it is like to live in my shoes as a daughter of an alcoholic. I am mulling over how to even start this and it's simply bringing me to tears. But here it is.
 Alcoholism is a disease, I'll start with that. It is a genetic disease that I have and the main reason I don't care to drink. The later in life I start drinking, the better chance I don't develop it. Alcohol is the reason my parents are divorced and the reason I don't see my dad much. Alcohol is something that has affected me and if I drink a lot now- it will affect me more when I'm older. But for my father, he has it and he has it bad. I started to write this as he was in the hospital trying to get better, having tests run on him to figure out what the damage looks like this time.
 Now I've heard many guys of college age say they were alcoholics for a bit and to that I say 'screw you'. You partied hard, binge drank too much, and messed up. But you weren't alcoholics for a week, because you can't just be an alcoholic for a week or month. My dad has been classified as an alcoholic since about the year 2000 or earlier. He's been drinking since high school. You binge drinking at your frat for a long weekend and getting disgustingly drunk and then having a killer hangover isn't being an alcoholic. Being an alcoholic is getting four of those mini Stutter Homes wine bottles in that travel pack, then got four more, and another four, and another four, and after many packs- then graduating to the regular bottles. Then getting through those regular bottles and grabbing one of that large 1.5-liter bottles instead. And that large one turns into many large ones until your place is littered with wine bottles, you haven't eaten anything in a week, and you were maybe sober for 20 minutes two weeks ago. That's being an alcoholic. Not your stupid three-day binger at SAE.
 I don't write this to paint my father in a bad light, when he's sober he is the best father you can ask for. He's done a lot for me during my lifetime. He's done a lot for others as well- he's a very generous and caring man. He has helped me with my rent, getting a car, and moving out on my own. He, when sober, has been an amazing dad. And I haven't seen that amazing dad since February 25th, the last time I saw him sober.
 Who I have seen these last two times I saw him is the drunk man who replaces my father. The man who looks 20 pounds lighter. The man who has a new cut or bruise on him from falling over because he's too drunk or hasn't eaten. The man who smokes through three cigarettes in just 20 minutes. The man who doesn't remember what he said 10 minutes ago so he repeats himself. The man who doesn't even know what day it is- in fact, today is his birthday but last we spoke he thinks it's in a month. The man who when I tell him my game plan to help him he tells me to shut the fuck up or that he wants to punch me in the face/throat. The man who, if he tried, would swing and fall right over because he's so drunk. The man who cries to me that he's done, he's given up, he doesn't want to die but he sees no light at the end of the tunnel.
 I tell you this because I want to talk about alcoholism and the disease it is. If you aren't lucky enough to figure out a way to control it- it will control you. It will make you pick your bottle of wine over your daughters. It will make you pick blacked out drunken days and nights over your wife. It will make you choose booze over living life.
 In the past few days I have realized that at this point, I have to start helping my dad (even more too) get back on track since no one else will. His side of the family has always been the "don't talk about your problems" kind of family. If something is wrong, you keep it hush hush. So with that being said, I am the only one helping my dad. Me. A twenty year old who should be worrying about college and getting alone time with my boyfriend away from his 4-8 roommates and what to wear to the next party is now worrying instead about paying his bills, figuring out treatment, and worrying about if I'll walk into my dad's home to see him dead or alive. I have to be the one to make decisions for him and take care of things since he can't. I have to be the parent to my own parent because he has been forced by this disease to pick alcohol over me. I have to figure this out on my own since no one will return my calls or texts messages.
 People who watched Shamelessly and thought of Frank Gallagher as nothing more than a tv scripted character have no idea how similar his character seemed to me. No, my father isn't as insanely out there and drunk as old Frank Gallagher but there were similarities. I remember once I heard a thud from down the hall and walk into the room to see my dad had fallen while trying to get into bed, he was just sitting there slumped up against the wall. I had to help him up and put him to bed that night- he woke up with a bad back and a large bruise. Another time he passed out downstairs and I found him when I was heading out for the day, I needed to borrow cash since I had none on me and he had promised to loan me some. Well, when I tried to wake him up saying I needed $20 since I was leaving, he was stone cold asleep- so like Fiona, I had to go through his pockets and wallet till I found the money he did have and hasn't yet spent on booze. Frank, like my father, never paid bills. There would be bills Fiona would stick to the fridge that was due the soonest, so when I grabbed my dad's mail and found a bunch of FINAL NOTICE letters and saw his electric was going to be turned off tomorrow- I spent 5 hours paying all of the bills that he was ignoring or late on so he would still have water, electric, and not be sought after by the hospitals he went to occasionally sober up...
 My dad is a great man like I said though- when he is sober. But again, I last saw him sober three months ago. The last time I saw him earlier this week, he was totally different. When I left, two hours later he called me and asked if I was still coming over today... So happy birthday dad, I hope today you sober up for long enough that you'll actually remember me calling or texting you happy birthday. Hopefully, this year will be better for you than the last. Hopefully this year you finally get help.

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