Drug Rehab 2021 Round 1 – My Dad: The Biggest Contributor to My Success

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My Dad: The Biggest Contributor to My Success

My Dad: The Biggest Contributor to My Success

After a long day of cooking, cleaning, and tending to my siblings, I stared at the pasty white ceiling and dozed off to sleep, only to be awakened two hours later to the sound of my father struggling to unlock the door. Climbing down the ladder of my shared bunk bed, I stumbled half-asleep to the door. I was no stranger to the phrases, “I missed the train” and “I met with a couple of friends after work,” but that didn’t make up for the disappointment I felt every time. As a nine-year-old, I never thought anything of my father having a couple beers. I soon learned, however, that a “couple” beers really meant twelve, and that this behavior was not normal. It was hard for me to accept that the man who had taught me how to blow bubbles and kick a soccer ball possessed any flaws in character. When I was younger, I greatly admired my father and I used to cry when he would leave me to play golf with his friends. As I started to get older, though, I watched my dad give in to his disease. Being the daughter of an alcoholic certainly doesn’t define me, although it did greatly impact the person I am today.

As per my parents’ custody agreement, my siblings and I would go to my dad’s apartment every other weekend, although he was rarely present. Every night I would put dinner on the table, clean, put my brother and sisters to bed, and then start my homework. I had to take on the responsibility of being the only “adult” present and do what was necessary. At my mom’s house, I also upheld a lot of responsibility because she worked a full-time job. While other girls were playing on the swings, I was folding laundry, making snacks, and helping my siblings with their homework. Attempting to redirect my focus from my troubling home life, I would study for hours on end or lose myself in a good book. At my father’s apartment, there were no rules – so I created my own. As a result, I became self-disciplined and resilient, establishing a work ethic that has helped me achieve many of my goals, including debate team captain, student body secretary, and first honor roll throughout high school. These past few years, I have worked harder than I ever thought I was capable of working and I guess I have my dad to thank for that. Through these experiences and others like it, I have learned two things. The first is that I cannot change the cards I was dealt. In the past, I have urged my father to go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and even went so far as to pour out his hidden stashes of alcohol, but that didn’t change anything. I realize now I cannot control my father’s behavior, but I can control how I react to the situation. The second thing I have learned is that I am my own person. Oftentimes, I have questioned if maybe I have the same disease as my father. Questions like “Would I succumb to the disease?” and “Would I drink myself to death?” plagued my mind. If I’ve learned anything from this experience, however, it is that each individual is responsible for their own actions.

Being the daughter of an alcoholic has given me the opportunity to develop the self-discipline that facilitates my success. I learned early on that I had to develop thick skin to cope with my father’s alcoholism. I deliberately painted on a mask and did as much as possible to cut him out of my life. Now, however, I embrace being the daughter of an alcoholic because this experience has turned me into the strong, independent person I am today. Thanks again, Dad.