Home Addiction Surviving the Loss of my Father

Surviving the Loss of my Father

by Matt Pappas

My dad had no business being a father. Growing up he lost his mom at 15 and then subsequently was kicked out of his house the following year when his dad remarried and his stepmom didn’t like him. He was on his own from here on out. I never met his father, he died when I was about 20 years old, he had Alzheimer’s, that’s about all I knew. I even call him my ‘dad’s dad’ because he was never anything to me.

So, as I said, my dad had no business being a good father himself, except at some point in his life he promised himself if he had kids he would be nothing like his own dad and he meant it. I am very grateful for that because I had a father who did everything a father should do. He supported me, he coached me in sports, we went to football games together, he taught me valuable life lessons that still ring in my head to this day. I also was exactly like him, inside and out, so we had a very special bond that is different than anything else I have had. Maybe he overcompensated sometimes because of what he didn’t have growing up, but I knew one thing, my dad loved me more than anything else in this world.

It was March 17, 2015, when I received a phone call from my mom that my dad had passed away. He had a heart attack while sleeping, his co-workers went to check up on him when he didn’t come in for work and wasn’t answering his phone and found him on his couch. At the time I was renting a room in South Florida, I had been isolating from everyone, especially my family for months in a row. I was caught in the worst depths of my addiction so when I received this news my life became an absolute, constant living nightmare.

I went to the service and spent the next two months crying myself to sleep every night. I had that didn’t want to live, didn’t want to die thing going big time and had no idea what to do to help myself. I vividly remember not believing that my reality was actual reality, I wanted to pinch myself and wake up to where things were only half as bad as they were, I would have taken that. Instead, I needed to find somewhere I could regain hope. I was blessed with the opportunity to get into detox and I was very grateful for that opportunity.

While overcoming drug use was a big worry in treatment, my biggest worry was how am I going to live without my father, who was my rock when he was alive and well. He was the man who always guided and gave me the pep talk I needed when I needed it. My first motivation I gained while in treatment was that I wanted to honor my father, I wanted to honor what he had taught me and what I had failed to do while he was alive. I knew it was the only way I could live with myself.

To carry on the way I was, was no option. I couldn’t live with myself knowing I had failed my dad and his time he spent on me was a waste. Once I made this realization it really lit me on fire for recovery. I had finally received the gift of desperation that is necessary to truly get sober if you ask me. It took a lot of pain and loss but I was finally ready to do anything to get sober.

I can’t stress enough how important it was for me to be willing to do absolutely anything to get sober. My past attempts were filled with me disagreeing with people and only doing what I wanted to do, I always went back out when I did that. This time, I stopped caring about my opinion on things and started taking guidance completely and working hard in every area of my life, just as my father had taught me. With this simple attitude, I was able to overcome a lot.

I overcame my hopelessness and my belief that I was a lost cause and would never amount to anything. I also amazingly overcame losing my father, do I still miss him? I miss him a ton, but now that I know he would be proud of me and that I am living a good, sober life, I am able to go through my day without guilt. I can look at the world in the eye and know that I am a productive member of society these days.

I still have many moments where I miss my dad, out of nowhere on any day I can start crying because of the simple fact I miss him, but I have a life now, one that he would be very proud of. I also still feel him with me in my heart and I still talk to him all the time, I can feel him out there somewhere. I look back on the past few years and can not believe what I have gotten through without him around, it’s coming up on four years that he has been gone and I have a lot to show for those four years. I also have a lot to thank for all he had taught me while he was alive, it’s why I was able to build a great life these past four years.

 

overcoming addiction - surviving my past

 

Daniel is a writer from South Florida who likes to share his experience, strength and hope to show that absolutely anyone can get sober no matter what provided they are ready to take action.

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