20 April 2012

My Dads

I have been accused of making my family look perfect.  Making my life a "dream".
In reality, I just try to forget the less-than-pleasant experiences that were part of my molding.
Dwelling on the negative things in life accomplish nothing, so why tire myself out reliving things?

My birth father, overall, was a good person.  He had his demons, as anyone does, but he fought them all my life. He struggled daily to stay on top of his disease, and he took a lot of blows in the process.  He was rejected by plenty, for his demons, through no fault of his own.  He caged his demons, with strong medications, that changed who he was, but he accepted that change, and he relearned who he was, and he came to almost thrive in his new being.  He fought, tooth and nail, against prejudice and discrimination, to be a good person, and good citizen.
There were times when he had to chose between feeding himself or medicating himself, and mostly, he chose medicating, except when my hunger was at stake.  At those times, his other side, his darker side, showed through.  And each time that happened, it was a struggle for him to return his control, and go back.  He  didn't need to explain much, I saw enough to kind of figure it out.  But it wasn't until his final months that I finally had a name for his demons.
My father was a Bipolar Schizophrenic.  By the time I came into his world, he had almost 2 decades of war raging within.  He had been diagnosed in college, and subsequently dropped out.  In those days, mental illness made you a social pariah.  His family was of the belief that drugs (not the legal kind) were the answer to his issues.  Several months later he was arrested for almost killing someone.  Paranoid delusions and a drug trip in a bad combination.
He was entered into a program, and subsequently put on medications that would define his life.
Being of above-average intelligence, he knew these medications were the answer, even if he was a completely different person, he was willing to accept that to pacify his mind.
He met my birth mother, a "reformed" thief and pathological liar, in a program years later.
She was a believer in recreational drugs, and thought him odd to never indulge in the play.
She preferred him off his meds, and thought him a boring specimen when medicated.  After several attempts take away his meds, they had a violent argument, and it was about that time that she decided to leave the "damaged goods" (including my brother and I) and go find a better life.
Ironically enough, my biological brother ended up being diagnosed with a Muscular Distrophy (BMD).... as did one of my half siblings, from her second family.  So much for being "perfect"

My dad (my adoptive father) has his share of demons too.  He is an alcoholic.  I am also an alcoholic, but I've learned from it, and can drink responsibly, and also only drink when I'm with my wife or family.
My parents have been in a strained relationship for years.  My dad has started hanging out with folks that also drink, instead of going back home right after work.  His opinion on the matter is having worked all his life, he deserves to enjoy himself.  He is getting older, not able to work like he used to, after a back injury several years ago that almost required emergency surgery.  He has a devastating family history of Alzheimers and Dementia.  He's trying to "enjoy" his time.
He is the son of alcoholics.  His father was a violent alcoholic, his mother an alcoholic to drown out the troubles in her marriage.  My dad isn't a violent alcoholic, though he has had outbursts several times.  He knows its better to take anger out on objects, rather than people, though.
He is what I would call a functioning alcoholic.  He goes to work M-F, sober.  He doesn't drink before noon on weekends either.  We came to an understanding, last time I was home, that he would not drive home after driving, and he has been good about that.  He'll either drive home after work and be picked up, or will walk (about a mile).
He is an adult.  I know I can't control what he does or doesn't do, but I can try.
I know that when I'm home, he drinks less, if at all.  I feel some guilt for not being able to be home, at that.  When I (or my sister/BIL) are home, we are usually working on some project, and he seems to enjoy things, keeping his mind off the drinking.
His drinking is more a substitute for socialization than anything else.
Wife and I have talked about bringing him out to live with us, but until my parents divorce and my mom does what she will do, I feel better knowing that neither of them is living on the farm alone....

1 comment:

  1. It takes a strong & determined person to recognize & work to prevent the continuation of that kind of cycle. Good for you! Hope it works out well when things get settled between your parents.


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