1. To love, or to hate.
The internal fight you have always had to face pulls you multiple directions. You think to yourself that your dad loves you, that he messes up at times but has also done extraordinary things for you. And that might be true; he certainly has always tried his hardest, but his hardest has not been enough to forge a happy childhood for you. You might have had nights where the yelling was too much, and where all the love you thought you had for your dad turned to hate. Yet there were also, inevitably, nights that crystallized his love for you. The back-and-forth is a daily pain you’re forced to face.
2. When you mess up, you know, deep down, that your punishment isn’t nearly as bad as it should be.
Yet you still don’t get punished like the other kids in your class. Why? Because you are Daddy’s angel, and your dad knows he has done much worse in the past. So you got a bad grade — it’s okay, he can drink it off for you.
3. When there’s even a mention of you drinking alcohol, he loses it.
Because he could never dream of his baby turning into what he has become. No child of his should have to face the struggle of being an alcoholic; he should know: he’s intimately aware of the misfortune it brings.
4. When you walk into the room and he is passed out on the couch with the TV on, you simply ignore it, turn the tv off, and go to sleep.
You’re the adult here — you’ve been so for awhile. You’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s you who will be tucking your dad in at night, and not the other way around. Situations like this have happened so many times, that you no longer even flinch when you find empty beer bottles floating around the living room.
5. You never have friends over; you go to their houses instead.
As much as you’d love to have a good hangout at your house, it’s much easier to go to somebody else’s house as opposed to yours, where your dad will inevitably be stumbling around and cracking inappropriate jokes.
6. “Sorry, he’s drunk” has became more of a joke to you.
To help mitigate the pain that comes with having to constantly explain your father’s ridiculous behavior, you’ve turned it into a joke. To protect yourself, you’ve learned to laugh at situations that might’ve otherwise made you cry in the past, no matter how morally wrong this truly is. And you do it quietly, of course — so he doesn’t overhear and get angry.
7. When you ask him to quit, he knows he needs to.
So he says he will quit, but he’s always said that. You know how hard it is for him to quit, and how much he relies on alcohol, but it still nevertheless upsets you. His “relapses” were never actually relapses; you know he has never actually stopped. In your head you tell yourself to be compassionate, but all you want to do is scream.
8. When you were a kid, asking him to pick you up from somewhere at night was completely unacceptable.
You did not want him drunk driving, and you knew he would take that chance for you. You didn’t want him to risk getting another DUI either. So you’d ask for rides home from friends’ parents, saying your parents were busy and unable to make it.
9. You do not trust easily.
Nope, not easily at all. Actually, trust is the hardest thing you have ever had to deal with. How can you trust someone when your father has let you down so many times? And that’s not even mentioning how big of liars alcoholics typically are. How could you trust a boyfriend when your own dad lies to you constantly? You are closed off to the world, and definitely closed off to love. The only person you need to lookout for is yourself, and you know that.
10. You are proud, and would not have had it any other way.
When you think about it, your life seems so difficult because it WAS difficult. It still might be difficult, or it may always be difficult, but that is what made you who you are today. You’ve dealt with the dysfunction, the abuse, and the pain. You have overcome so much and you can still smile today.