I believe in creating my own destiny

Erin - Lemon Grove, California
Entered on March 25, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

Growing up I did not have a good relationship with my father. I watched his addiction to drugs and alcohol control his life and it was hard to build a relationship with my mom because she had to work two jobs to pick up his slack. I always resented my father for not trying to help himself and not caring about his relationships with his children. As I became older and entered high school, I started to become subject to peer pressure. My days of studying and playing sports were suddenly being replaced with partying and drinking and I got high everyday to erase the problems that I had with my father. After graduating high school and saying goodbye to all my friends that got accepted to colleges, I began to go through a big change. I was starting to regret not making better choices. I should be on that train to Santa Barbra. I should be sharing that dorm with my two best friends. Anger, denial, uncertainty and unhappiness ALL consumed me. I couldn’t get high anymore.

Why am I allowing myself to go down the same road as my father? I’m tired of drinking and smoking weed. I want to be successful. Most of all, I want to tell my dad how I feel about his addiction. These thoughts raced through my head constantly. Even though I had always resented my father, I was acting like him. At the time, my dad was living with my grandma. I visited him probably once or twice a month and I got stood up once or twice a month. One day, I planned to go out to lunch with him. As I sat on the couch waiting for over an hour my grandma walked in. Grandma: “Hi sweetie!” She sat down next to me and could tell I was upset. Grandma: “What’s wrong?” Me: “Nothing…dad forgot I was coming over again.”

As she ran her fingers through my hair, I started to have all those feelings again. I had kept all my feelings to myself for so long that I started pouring out all my problems to her. Concerned and surprised, she asked me if she had ever told me about her father. Surprisingly, she never brought him up. She started telling me about her adolescence and how her father was an alcoholic too. As she unfolded her past with an abusive and unloving father, I became consumed and sympathetic with her story. Even though all these traumatizing things happened to her she overcame them. She worked two jobs to get through nursing school and served as a navy nurse in Korea. She was strong and smart and she never let her father’s bad decisions impact the potential that she knew she had. She always tells me “you control your own destiny” and “just because your dad made bad choices, doesn’t mean that you can’t make good ones.” I began to realize what she meant after hearing it for the hundredth time. Immediately I began to write down goals for myself.

1. Confront dad

2. Stop smoking and drinking

3. Take more classes

4. Get into a university

5. Save money.

I have been sober for three years. Getting high and drinking are now things of the past. Even though my dad still battles with his addiction, he hasn’t missed a lunch date in three years, and I reconnected with my mom. Most importantly, I’m achieving all of my goals and just like my grandma, I am working two jobs to get through college. I changed my lifestyle because I have potential. I believe that I control my own destiny and it’s worth it.