This I Believe

Brittany - Bloomington, Indiana
Entered on January 8, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: addiction, family

My siblings and I had just finished playing with our neighbor, and it was time for bed. My father was sitting on the rocking chair peacefully sleeping. Since my mother was at work, I decided to wake my dad and ask if he could tuck us in. After shaking him as hard as I could, he did not arouse. Five minutes later, I went to bed. It was not until a few years ago that I completely understood what had happened that night. My father is an amazing man; strong, hard working, and funny, but like everyone else, he has his flaws. My father is an alcoholic, and this is why I believe in living above the influence.

In the past, my relationship with my father was not very strong, and his drinking made it worse. We were never on the same level of thinking, and even though he was always around it was like I never saw or talked to him. I loved my father more than anything in the world and it hurt me to see him rather sit in front of the computer and drink, than come watch a performance. During school plays I would always try to imagine him there, smiling, sitting next to my mother, but something about it always made me feel worse. There were many times I felt I wasn’t good enough. Now looking back I can somewhat understand, but it was still important. It was important for him to be there for me. I loved him, and it hurt me to think he loved his down time more than me.

As I grew into my teen years, my relationship with my father grew while his drinking somewhat declined. I began school sports, which of course, was something we both had in common. It was an opportunity for him to teach me what he knew. He came to many of my games. Many times I would see him sitting beside my mother, smiling, just like I had pictured when I was younger. I’d always hear him cheering me on; telling me I could do it. There was no place in the world I’d rather be, than right there in that moment. All the matters of alcohol had disappeared from my mind, and nothing but the memory remained. He was happy, and so was I.

From that moment, three years have past. I’m a junior in high school and my father is still an alcoholic. For him, showing up to my games became rare, and soon he stopped coming. I lost interest in sports, and because of that, I quit and lost a close relationship with my father. He drinks more now than ever before, sometimes averaging 17 cans per day, and even more on the weekends. My father started drinking at the age of 16, and not only has it affected his life, but it has affected our family. I believe it was not a wise decision, and I can only hope that kids our age would see that, as well as the pain it will cause to their children in the future. My father is an alcoholic, and that is why I believe in living above the influence.