Brutal – 

Dec. 5, 2020 – He missed so many things that were important to us. Before he knew it, we grew up. All three of us. My brothers moved out, moved away, moved on. One joined the Navy, and the other ran to Vermont for university.

After a few years of constant drinking, spending, arguing and chaos, my mom couldn’t take it anymore, and eventually their marriage crumbled. She left him to preserve her heart, and I couldn’t blame her.

Wives can leave, but what about daughters? He’s the only father I have.

So, I stayed. By his side. No matter how bad his alcoholism got, I was his ally. His constant. I knew I couldn’t love him out of his addiction, but I also knew setting a boundary to preserve myself could mean a death sentence for him.

Was I still entitled to that boundary anyway? Yes. Of course.

But he’s my father and I love him, so I let myself keep hurting so I could stay. I don’t know if it was the right decision, but it’s the decision I made.

The years that followed can only be described as hell on earth. My father lost his job. Drank all those expensive bottles of wine he’d spent so long collecting. Lost our childhood home. Lost his license. DUIs. Jail cells. Ambulance rides. Frenzied calls to local hospitals when I couldn’t find him. Sleepless nights spent awake, sitting on the floor next to the couch, holding ice packs on his face when he fell and got a black eye or a split lip. Quietly collecting the laundry when he threw up, so I could wash and fold it and return it to his dresser. Screaming matches about the whole thing when he was sober enough to argue.

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