My earliest memory of my father and I is him allowing me to drink out of a glass of beer with him and his mates while my mother was out. It was a big deal for all the guys that the "little man" drank so much. I think I was about 4 when this happened. My father and his friends were always drinking, and when they drank, they drank a lot.
The last time I saw my father alive I hadn't seen him in about 8 years. He was different. He was happy and full of life. He'd gotten sober. It was kind of annoying and embarrassing. I was a "cool" teenager who loved to drink and drug. He reminded me of some bible basher who was trying to convert me. My fathers message sounded a bit lame to my ears and as far as I was concerned it didn't apply to me.
We hadn't had a lot to do with each other in life, and him getting sober didn't change that. My parents had split when I was young, and aside from two periods of longer contact, we only ever saw each other randomly every few years when he appeared out of the blue.
A couple of years after I saw my father sober I was at home one Friday night and got the call that my father had died of heart attack. He was 42. I decided there and then that I wouldn't stop my substance misusing ways, as I was sure what had killed him so young was stopping drinking. In my mind, everyone who continued using, (including his father), hadn't died. I didn't think or talk much about my father after that, it was all too painful.
My own substance misuse took me to some dark places, and by my mid 30's I found recovery. Eventually I discovered years later that the reason my father had suffered his heart attacks is because he had gotten into drinking again and most likely the strain was too much for his body.
It would have been great to get know my father when he was alive, as I've learnt most of the things I know about him from other people. I can see from photos I look very similar to him, and I'm told we have shared behaviours. I really hope I don't go out like he did.