Just when I think I've got this... I've accepted dad's drinking for what it is.... boom, another late night, another drunken phone call. Only difference now, dad has a new bird. He's known this one since before he met my mother (which is nearly 30 years ago). Dad has gone back to hiding his drinking from everyone and the stupid thing about it - his siblings believe that he hasn't had a drink since mum's death. As if her death magically made him give it up. And, of course when I break that denial for them and highlight the reality, things go tits up for me. I am working with older clients (mental health and addiction) in my placement and truth be told, it's really really hard. I look at my clients with their symptoms and their backgrounds and I think of my dad. I see how my client’s life stages have been drastically changed and affected by substance use and think of my dad. I know I will never change him, but that doesn't stop me wishing I could. A few weeks ago I had to have a few dental things done. I am terrified of the dentist to the point that I avoided going for 20 years- at all costs. The night before my appointment I cried like a baby for my dad and then it hit me. Even if he had been there, he wouldn't have been able to be the father I needed. He has a heart of gold, he really does, but over the years his ability to 'care' for another being has been 'compromised.’ His solution would be to offer a drink to ease the fear. Realising that just reinforced what I've already known or felt- I'm my own parent- thanks to the drink.
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