Progress… Not Perfection

Amber - Des Moines, Iowa
Entered on January 30, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: addiction
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Addiction can control you if you let it. Drug and alcohol addiction has played a huge role in my life, its put a wedge in the relationship I have with my mother and opened up the relationship with my father and step mother Carolyn. My parents have both struggled with drugs and alcohol as far back as I can remember, but I believe recovery is possible, it’s part of my everyday life. I can’t help but be a little cliché as alcoholics live day to day using simple over used sayings. I live with two recovering alcoholics.

When I was thirteen years old my parents divorced, my dad moved out and I lived with my mom. My mother had no job and lived solely on the child support we received from my dad, things were hard, but they only got harder. My mother moved into a house of her own and things just went down hill from there. She began neglecting her job as a mom; the house was always dirty, she never cooked dinner, and she just stayed in the basement all of the time.

I could do whatever I wanted; my mother just didn’t care. With my dad that was not the case, I hated going to stay with him. He was strict, and I had rules. While I lived with my mom I hated my dad I thought he was trying everything in his power to make me miserable. I thought all along he was the enemy but in reality he was one of the biggest allies I had.

Things between him and I got worse when I found out my dad had a new girlfriend, I didn’t know her but I hated her. She was living with my dad and I dreaded going over there and I would try anything to be able to stay home, nothing ever worked. I hated the thought of someone new, Carolyn wasn’t so new after all she was a lot like the mom I used to know.

But just like my parents Carolyn had a problem with addiction too, her and my dad were in a fight and she went to at a motel where she was arrested and charged with possession. This changed everything. She was sent to live in a half-way house and my dad was left alone. I knew I couldn’t leave my dad be alone so I packed up everything in my room and told my mom that I had to move in with him.

By this time my father had known the path he was leading was the wrong one and was trying to turn his life around. He stopped with the drugs, but the drinking became much worse; he would come home at all hours of the night, drive drunk, or not come home at all. I began to worry about my dad’s safety.

After getting two OWI’s, my father knew he couldn’t continue this way because he was either going to hurt himself or some one else. He knew he had to change. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous. It changed his life. He found people he could relate to, people who went through the same things. He found strength within the program but it couldn’t have changed his life if he wasn’t willing to change, My dad found the light at the end of the his tunnel.

In the years since my dad has put down the bottle I have learned to know a different man, a better dad and a much more successful man. My dad doesn’t miss a single baseball game, softball game, school event, doesn’t forget birthdays, and would do anything for us. The dad I know today is five hundred times a better dad then the one I knew as a child.

Carolyn and my father live very different lives today and it shows in their ability to parent and maintain a safe stable environment for our family, While sharing in a wonderful relationship together. All this has come about because of their desire and willingness to change their lives, none of us would be together today if they were still using. I know this was a very hard journey for my father and Carolyn but in it I have learned that behind every problem there is a solution.

Recovery from drugs and alcohol has been that solution for my family, and recovery is spoken and discussed openly and honestly on a daily basis. My life has changed for the better. We’re still a work in progress and we’ll never be perfect but pretty darn close today, as close as I could’ve ever hoped to be.