Growing up I was always a Daddy’s little girl. I was always proud when people said I had his eyes. I always looked up to him, went to him for advice, cried on his shoulder, asked for daddy to read me a bedtime story. This all changed when he hurt me in a way I had never thought possible.
Being only seven at the time it started, I never knew at the time that his drinking was a problem, I never saw the signs. I would come home from school and find him passed out on the couch, leaving me to do whatever for the next four hours until Mom got home from work. I was confused when I saw the look on Mom’s face after seeing him lying there, I didn’t understand and no one bothers to explain things to a child. I started to hide the alcohol from my Mom; I thought if she didn’t know then we could go back to being a happy family. I tried making excuses for him. When that didn’t work I tried to take the alcohol away from my dad. I would hide it or just pour it out. One time he caught me pouring them down the drain and he got so mad, I thought he was going to hit me. He was never really a physical abuser, only verbal. He and my Mom would fight late into the night. I learned many words that a seven year old child shouldn’t know at that age. There came a time where attacking my Mom wasn’t enough for him and he started to attack me, always accusing me of something, either not trying hard enough or being a failure at something. Whatever the case, it was always my fault, my problem. This destroyed my self-esteem and confidence. There are many incidents for which I will never forgive him for that will burn in my mind forever.
He had hurt me in more ways than I had thought possible. He made me embarrassed of my family. I never wanted to tell anyone about the problems I was having at home, it was too difficult. At fall encounter, I finally told a few trusted people some of the details of the problems. As hard as it was to talk about it, it felt good to rid myself of part of this heavy burden that I had been carrying around for years.
To this day I still have difficulty with self-esteem, but I have found many wonderful friends that have showed me that I am who I am, and that’s all anyone could ask for. I am greatly in debt to these people.
The only good that came out of all the pain was that it has forever changed my views on alcohol abuse. Alcohol has lost all appeal to me and I have made a pledge to myself to never drink alcohol, and I plan on keeping it. I have seen what alcohol can do to people, how it changes lives, how it can kill lives. I believe that we all need to be strong enough to stand up for something we believe in. In my case, it’s simple, “Just say no.” I choose to remain the designated driver forever and for always.