An Alcoholic's Daughter

September 28, 2011
By , North Hills, CA
     My father and I have a "hi/bye" relationship because of his prior alcoholism. His drinking caused tremendous problems in our household and what really impacted me was the domestic abuse. He has never once laid a finger on me, but throughout my life I had grown up in a house in which I saw my mother get hit numerous times, all thanks to a couple of beers. It's hell having to watch your mother get beat constantly and not being able to do anything. What was a small girl going to do when a 200lbs man dragged her mother across the living room, cussed at her and told her she was worthless? Absolutely nothing. Be terrified, try to get her brothers to stop crying, and watch defenselessly.

     I asked my mother why she took the beatings, why she didn't call the police, why she didn't just leave him once and for all, and the only answer I ever got was, "I want you and your brothers to grow up with a father". I constantly thought to myself, why would she want this man to be the example my brothers and I receive? To me, he wasn't even a man, he was a coward, complete garbage. A man should never hit a woman for any reason and the alcohol to me was a lame excuse. He would get drunk, hit my mom, and then apologize the next day. Admittedly, when I was young I accepted his apologies. I believed him when he said he wasn't going to do it again. My naivete allowed me to believe that going out for pizza and having some ice cream with my dad made him a great guy. Looking back now, that made him nothing but a con man who had to buy my love.

     The fact that my mother stayed with my father for the oh so famous excuse, "it's for the kids", isn't what I believe to be the actual reason. Although that may be what she thought was best, I feel that the real reason she put up with him was strictly financial. My mother wouldn't have been able to support three kids on her own working at a retail store. Without my dad, she was at a loss. Being a Hispanic woman, speaking very little English, and lacking both the time and money necessary to get an education was preventing her from living happily. To this day, although the abuse and drinking has stopped, I haven't forgiven my father for allowing my brothers and I to grow up in that type of environment. Sure, alcoholism is a disease but if he had really wanted to stop hurting our family, he would've done so years ago.

     Recently my family, with the exception of me, has become Christian. The reason I don't give into a religion is because we have been Christians before but it had only lasted for a couple of months. My father would go to church for a while and then get right back to drinking so I can honestly say I have lost my faith in any "God". Whether there is or isn't a higher being, I don't know, nobody does, so I declare myself Agnostic. Despite their prior attempts, I will say that there is quite a difference this time. My parents and brothers are actually devout Christians now, they go to church 5 days a week, and spend most of their time with the church members. Christian or not, I don't think I can forgive my father for what he has put my family through. It's been months since he's gotten drunk, but I really don't feel secure enough to trust him when he says he won't drink again. If it means keeping a grudge, then so be it.

     As much as I resent my father, I'm very grateful that from such a horrible experience I was able to take something good out of it. He showed me exactly what drugs and alcohol are able to do to a person and I'm proud to say that even though about 70% of teenagers try some sort of drug during their high school years, I have never once even contemplated contaminating my body with any harmful substance.





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