Recently a few events have led to me looking at some stuff - some stuff that had been swept by me back under the carpet - but the carpet was lifted, I could have just laid the carpet back down or swept the stuff further under a bit not lifted but I didn't this time. This is tough stuff for me. Some people talk about the onion of recovery, you peel of one layer only for another to be underneath needing peeling - I like the onion analogy as well since when I peel onions I cry - this stuff has a similar effect on me.
Firstly - my Dad. A couple of times recently relationships with fathers etc. have come up and caused me to look at my relationship with my Dad. My Dad retired early (in his late 50s) when the local dockyard was shut by the Tory govt in the 80s. He had worked there 42 years - gave his bloody life to the service of this country did my Dad. He had major issues with his hips through work stuff, he'd had a nasty fall when I was very little and I believe that gave him the problem. Anyway now retired and enjoying pottering about in the garden and his shed he went in to have one of them replaced. I saw him on the Friday night a couple of days after the op - he was happy, looking forward to coming home and planning to do stuff he'd been putting off. He was talking about possibly getting the other one, which wasn't as bad, done as well. He died the next morning in the hospital from a massive heart attack. I had just turned 22 years old. I bought my first house a few months later and was married less than a year after that day. My Dad never saw that house, the house I have now, the wedding, he never got to know my kids at all, never saw my career move on or anything I've achieved as an adult. In rehab I talked a lot about my Dad - but then out came that broom and back under the carpet it all went.
So recently I've been looking long and hard at this relationship with my Dad - he has been dead well over half my life now but still this huge presence. Why? Well for one I think I've spent a lot of my life dissatisfied because the one person who I wanted to make proud of my achievements wasn't there to acknoweldge them. People can say "Your Dad would have been proud" etc. but it isn't the same is it. Also my Mum passed away a few years back and I don't feel the same with her - why? Because my Mum wasn't the demanding one - in my perception. Frankly my Dad wasn't that pushy but I always felt he wanted me to do better for myself - but that "better" was never defined, hence this continual dilemma. I've got to another recent consideration on it. My son says we're middle class, due to income, financial position, education levels, blah blah. I refuse to acknowledge this, I'm working class. You know I've realized this is all because of my Dad - he was Labour through and through, union man, his father before him too in the 30s was on a national exec of a union. I can't move on to accept that I probably have done better for myself and should call myself part of middle Britain now - because, I don't know how my Dad would feel about it. Proud? Or ashamed a son of his had betrayed his heritage? Daft but there it is - the crux of my relationship with my Dad today.
Secondly - what I did to the family while drinking. Last weekend my daughter recounted the last days of my drinking and my wife joined in. I've heard this before from my wife - rightfully she has told me how I treated her. I've spoken with my son at times about issues from then - he is too ready to take too much of the responsibility onto his side but we are cool with it all I believe. My daughter however is an area I've not gone too deep into. She is now 16 - she has a right to tell me what I did to her. To be told how she locked herself in the bathroom whilst I was drunkenly raging and that her brother came to check she was ok was horrific. I never hit my daughter but some scars frankly hurt more than the physical ones don't they - it doesn't in my eyes make my abuse of her as a scared little 8 year old girl any better. It really fucking hurt when she told me this, she is relaxed about it, she is a pretty level headed young lady and I'm sure she has processed this all through. I know she is proud of my achievements in not drinking - she has had forthright conversations with peers of hers who have perhaps a more stereotypical tabloid views of what an alcoholic is as a testament to that.
I spoke to her about "the Promises" which are in the Alcoholics Anonymous big book about page 83 after the discussion on Step 9. In there it says "... we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it...". I'm only just ok with having that door back ajar in some instances as regards this stuff but the phrase"not regret"? Sadly for me I'm a long way from that as I do very much regret the past. However being told how my actions hurt others that I deeply care about is a huge incentive, probably bigger than the hatred I have myself for the old me, to continue trying to stay sober another day at a time. To me this is Step 9 - this is living it, there is no point me saying sorry and then still acting like an arsehole, drunk or sober, I have to live a better life and particularly treat those I hurt in a better manner day in day out. This is not something I can say that I've ever finished it has to be continual action and I have to learn more as I go along the road of recovery.