Like Father, Not Like Son This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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At first I could not fathom the fact that my father was in jail, all because he was drinking. The family and I were under the impression he had given up drinking. It had been a factor in my parents’ divorce. And now, after his 90-day sentence, he was being released.

I thought about this moment, this confrontation, and dreaded the day, but I knew this would be the perfect time. So, the first weekend of his release, I called him. I asked how he thought he could get away with this. How could he risk the lives of innocent people as well as his own? I told him he was a horrible father, that he was an alcoholic and many other painful things. He did not try to minimize his mistakes. All he could do was apologize and cry. He begged for my forgiveness, and said, “Sorry, I love you,” but I hung up. I felt anger toward him, and pitied him, but I could not forgive him.

His drinking had never been a mystery. I remember him driving after a few drinks. Then four years ago, he was pulled over one night and charged with DWI, (driving while intoxicated). He paid a hefty fine and his license was suspended for 90 days. One week after he was issued a new one he was pulled over again, his second DWI in six months. The Massachusetts courts were not lenient. He was given an even heftier fine, his driving privileges were revoked for three years and he was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

The next three months were tough. I was amazed this was my father. It was hard for a 14-year-old boy to think of his father in jail. It was harder to forgive him. At that age I thought that only bad people did bad things and now my father was one of those bad people. I had nightmares about him. I started to remember the things I wished he had done differently.

Now, three years later, my dad is back on the road with a new license and a new outlook on life. He has cleaned himself up (with the help of AA meetings and self-help) and now he is a recovering alcoholic. His job is going well, as is his relationship with the rest of the family. He has met a wonderful woman and they’re engaged. Now he rarely touches a drink. Once in a while he will have a half a beer, but then he remembers the pain and hurt he caused. He does not want to jeopardize his relationship with anyone.

It has also been three years for me. I have a different outlook too. I am 18, not that 14-year-old having nightmares. I have matured. I have a girlfriend and fabulous relationship with my mother and stepfather. Through personal experiences, learning about alcohol abuse, addiction and psychology, I have come to learn that he is not alone and his problem is not all his fault.

All of these events, including an infinite number of “Sorry’s” and “Please forgive me’s,” have caused me to begin to change my attitude toward him. I have started thinking about what I can do to have a better relationship. I also remembered all the things he did do for me and the good times we had. Slowly I started to see my father for who he is. He is a loving person who wants desperately to do the right thing. I have called him and we have talked about the situation. I finally accepted his apology and he was grateful.

It is still hard being with him sometimes, but our relationship is always improving. We get together a few days a month to talk and have a good time. In a strange way it’s better now. We are more like good friends than father and son. I feel that I can talk to him and he can give me advice. He never shouts at me for doing anything wrong, because of his past mistakes. He knows that and it may bother him, but he realizes his mistakes and where I’m coming from. We enjoy this new relationship and don’t take anything for granted. I do care for my father, but I have seen the life he chose, and I do not want to end up like him. I never wish to follow in his footsteps.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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