Sunday, May 16, 2010

I grew the balls

**Like I said in my FF post, I was going to have to grow balls to do this post today... Just to warn my readers, this is a really long post. Constructive comments are definitely welcome. This is basically just a story and when I re read it I was thinking it felt a little choppy, for lack of better words? And I kind of feel like a sounded a little crazy,  But it's really helped me to write it all out**

I don't quite know how to begin talking about what's happened. Mostly because I'm so used to NOT talking about it. I've conditioned myself to push these matters away into that little spot in my brain reserved for things that hurt to much to think or talk about. It's been a few days since my last conversation with my dad. The conversation(s) went just about as bad as they could have gone. Like I've said in a previous post  I've been trying to patch up the lack of relationship between my father and which has proven to be a challenge, but it was much better than before.

My dad never fully quit drinking, and 95% of the time I talk to him he's drinking or drunk. My father sober and my father drunk  are like night and day. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There are two different drunk dads- the emotional one and the angry one. So it's pretty much a crap shoot. I can handle the emotional drunk and I prefer sober, but I cannot handle angry drunk. Angry drunk is the mean spirited, scary, aggressive and irrational. "Angry" is what haunts my innermost thoughts fears and emotions. "Angry" is not my real father, but he was the father I wound up with most of the time.

It's next to impossible for me to have a civil conversation with "Angry" because my defenses are up the second I gauge what kind of drunk he is. The first conversation didn't work. Not at all. I called back the next evening, thinking maybe we could start over. And because I had to, mainly because there's been news about his health with each phone call. My father was diagnosed with Colon cancer  early this year (I think) , and is creeping up on stage three. In the last few months, his health has been what was bringing us together. I was the person he was talking to about everything. And I was happy to be there for him. I felt connected to my dad in a way that was something I wasn't used to experiencing. And when it came time for me to confide in him I gave it a chance, and talked to him about some problems my boyfriend and I had been having, and at the time of that conversation things weren't looking to good.  Well lets just say the secret didn't stay with him, despite him saying I could trust him. Things between my boyfriend and I have since been fixed and everything is great.

The first phone call he discovered I was indeed still with my boyfriend. That did not go over well. And the main issue is my boyfriend's face/religion. He is Lebanese and Muslim. I am American and  Christian. It's proven to be a touchy subject for some so far. However, my boyfriend regardless of which race or creed is amazing. He's one of the most awesome people I've ever had the pleasure of having in my life. And has been there for me in ways that not many have. "Angry" was not a good side of my dad to be talking to about this. Needless to say it ended badly, and completely ruined my night. And I was even more pissed because of how upset I was and that I LET it ruin my night. I should know better.

Skip to the next day. The whole incident was heavy on my mind the whole day. I was thinking and hoping/dreading; Hoping he wouldn't be drunk, and dreading that he probably was. But I had to try and make things better. I literally started my phone call with " I was calling to see if maybe we could start over". And I immediately regretted it. I knew right away he had been drinking. I should have just waited until the next morning. At first we talked about his cancer, he explained he was seeing a new doctor, and had a different procedure planned and things looked much more optimistic. far so good. Wait maybe not. The subject of my boyfriend came up. I explained to him again what I had tried to explain the night before, making sure to leave nothing out. I should know better by now to think that details mattered when "angry" was beginning to show.  At the end of my speech, I stepped off of my soapbox and said, "Dad, I know you worry about me, and you have every right to, you're my dad, and I understand, but I'm 26, I'm smart and I'm a strong woman". I spent even more time defending my self and my boyfriend, trying to explain my boyfriend and "his kind". I was incredibly offended. I am not and never will be one to generalize a single person into a "kind".

I have learned so much about the Lebanese and Muslim culture, and I am lucky to have had the opportunity to learn part of what makes our world so awesome. The world we ALL occupy.  I digress. Conversation goes on and completely goes to shit. All hope of salvaging the conversation at this point  was decimated.  The subject had been changed and the one we were on came to a head and the words out of his mouth caused me to end the conversation immediately. I practically hung up. Well I said "bye" but not much more than that...Oh and "I cant talk to you anymore".

"Sarah If you're so f***in' strong then why did you need to borrow money, If you're so strong then why don't you have two jobs, If you're so strong then why do you struggle..." I stopped him there.  I was crushed.  "ANGRY" should not be saying anything about being strong ( strong man would never have abandoned his family in the way that he did.) But it was his disease right? His Alcoholism?  I felt torn down, like all the times he told me I was doing a great job, and that I was going to be ok, if I ever needed anything let him know. Maybe that was the alcohol talking too. 

The voicemail I got after I pseudo hung up on him, said "I didn't give a f*** about him, and not to EVER call him again. NOT EVER" Pretty clear to me. But it was the alcohol talking right? I wasn't real dad, it was "angry". I do not know how many times in my 26 years that I have said that it wasn't him. I was the alcohol talking. Well you know what? I'd officially like to say "F*** you alcohol!" In the spirit of facing my demons and making changes, I'm going to promise to myself that alcohol is no longer an excuse I am accepting. I have learned through this that the reason why his words still cut me like a knife, is because I love him, and all I've so desperately wanted my whole life was a relationship with my FATHER. Not the alcohol. My DADDY. Not "angry". And until alcohol is no longer in the picture, a real, ans significant, trusting relationship with my father will be impossible. I cannot let him too far into my heart, and this has been one of the toughest revelations of all.

And then comes the I am giving up on him or something. I mean, is it true that in order for someone to be helped they have to WANT to help themselves? He has so many opportunities. All with his whole family backing him. My mom for over 20 years. Hand fulls of wake up calls, many runs through AA, some more successful than others. And the alcohol years later and with cancer still has its grips on him. It's the only thing he knows. 

I don't know if I'm going to call my dad. As of right now the answer is no, not yet. Definitely not yet. At first it was not EVER. Even though deep down in my heart I should and will eventually. I would not be able to live with myself knowing that if something happened to him I didn't try to talk to him. This is something that has and will be on my mind for a while...or until I grow the balls to call him... When he's sober, and try talking to him then... I'm going to have to learn how to talk to him when he's sober. Problem is my dad doesn't even know how to talk about these issues sober. 

But I can still try right?


Kerri said...

Expectations can help us and hurt us. It is not your responsibility to get him to see how things are supposed to be. It is his responsibility to change and be your daddy.
YOU ARE STRONG! You live every day never knowing which you're gonna get..."Angry" or "Daddy".
You're also kind of amazing...just sayin.
It's all HIS loss. He is missing out, BIG TIME...i mean HUGE!
Deep breaths foot in front of the day at a time. You are doing just fine.{{Hugs}}

MommyLovesStilettos said...

I could have written this. This is JUST how my dad and I are. It sucks and I hate it. And now I only talk to him once a month or so because i just can't stand it. *HUGS* Don't feel guilty, it's not your fault. Remember that!

Jimmy said...

Hey Sarah,

Very powerful post, I am proud of you for allowing yourself to share this with us.

First thing in my opinion who you are seeing is a person who makes you happy, treats you well, and someone you are comfortable with, this is the type of person you will fall in Love with regardless of race, religion and so forth. As a parent I have my opinions but as long as someone is all of the above to one of my children then I dont care if they are purple and worship rocks, this old world is full of different cultures and people and we all breathe the same air we all have to learn to respect each other rather than hate.

Next thing is the Alcohol, I have been on the recieving end of Angry step dad and next morning sober step dad wanting to make ammends, you can only make ammends so many times and you have to be the one that makes the decision how many times this is, I shut the door on him and wrote him out of my life and now after his passing I wish I had left it partially open if for no one else but my little sister who dearly Loved him, It's hard and there is no clear answer but you can't argue with the alcohol as you know, My little brother has the same problem and I have invested a lot of money into him trying to help only to see alcohol take his dignity away again, the alcoholic has to be the one to make the decision as we can't do it for them but we need not be abused by it either.

I have two sons that I have lost contact with and coming from a parents view it hurts knowing that your child wont talk to you, and coming from the child who closed the door it hurts knowing you don't want to talk with that parent.

There is no clear answer other than do what you feel is best for you because that is the only right answer.

Great Post Sarah.

Cheryl said...

Wow. I am so sorry you're going through this. It must be tough to separate the man from the addiction. I don't you or any of the people involved, obviously (though I actually live in the next town!), but it seems to me you should confine yourself only to discussions about his cancer and treatment. It does not sound like he's in a place where he can be a real father to you, so why set yourself up for the torment?

Over from SITS..

The Drama Mama said...

Oh, my heart hurts for you. I totally understand where you are coming from. My dad did FINALLY give up the alcohol, after hitting rock bottom several years ago. The sad part is your dad probably won't stop until he hits rock bottom as well. I think you are very strong, and smart to not take part in his alcoholic behavior.

I learned something back around Valentine's DAy regarding my own father. He got extremely rude to me over text messaging simply because I wanted to know if he had planned anything special for my mom (because he was mad at my mom to begin with!). I realized that I am grown up now, with my own family, and removed from his abuse. If he hurts me now, it is 98% my own fault. Does that make sense? I told my mom about the incident and reminded her that I didn't have to put up with his abuse anymore, that I didn't have to be available for him to play these mind games on anymore, even if it meant separating my children from them both (which I didn't want to do because they are wild about their grandmother!). Sometimes, you have to take a stand to protect yourself. I would definitely still call him, and like Cheryl said, just keep it to a how are you doing type of conversation, and if you notice that he is drunk, whether it be the emotional drunk or the angry drunk, just say goodbye and tell him you'll only talk to him when he is sober.

Don't take anything he says when he is drunk seriously. I know that's hard, especially after a lifetime of it, but he doesn't realize what he is doing.

Lots of *hugs*

Natalie said...

I understand. More than I care to admit. You are SO strong to admit it and own what you're going through. You will inspire others to do the same.

Found you through Blog Flow and wanted to say hello.

Lourie said...

I am impressed you can talk to him. My Dad never has been approachable. Not even with his own family. I still don't get that. I am impressed by you on many levels.


Pat Tillett said...

I came here because I saw your link at Jimmy's blog. It was going to just be a "check it out" visit, but that seems kind of trite after reading your post. I promise you that the link I'm about to give you isn't a cheap attempt to get you to follow me. Read the poem and in your mind insert a him (for your dad) where ever there is a her (for my mom).

I really like what I've read here so far. If you don't mind, I'm going to tag along.

DrSoosie said...

I too know about angry alcoholics...there are no excuses. It is their responsibility not yours. It is their disease..even if you love is still theirs. If they choose alcohol over you than that says something...Something albeit painful but something profound nonetheless. You deserve to be treated with respect and honor...all people do. The rest is all an excuse. Change for anyone is has to come from a genuine place of fear and desperation and also a place of hope. I hope for you that one day your dad will change. It is possible. But if he doess not then the burden of guilt is his not yours. You are not responsible for your parent's bad behavior and you do not have to accept it as an adult. That does not mean you don't love your means you also love yourself and must protect yourself first.

ChiTown Girl said...

Hi Sarah, I just clicked over from He Who Laughs Last, and I'm glad I did.

Wow, this was a very powerful piece, and I imagine I was difficult to write.

I wish you father well in his battle with cancer. My family has battled this demon far too many times, so I know what you're about to face. My prayer are with you and your family.

Allyson & Jere said...

This makes my heart hurt so much! Again, I just don't understand why some people have to suffer on so many levels. I'm sorry your Dad has this struggle, but more sorry that you've had to be hurt by it for so long. Good for you for saying NO and not calling. You need time to heal a little and figure things out. Good luck and stay strong.

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