I was a tornado, ripping through the lives of everyone I came in contact with. I left my family behind in complete ruins as I was led off, into the trenches, by my ravishing addiction. I became a slave to addiction and I was willing to destroy anyone/anything that stood in the way of my beloved opiates. My mother passed away, and that’s when my life truly became unmanageable. I was ignorant to the stark nature of what I was up against. My father was grieving the unexpected loss of his wife and utterly powerless over his daughter’s crippling disease.
“This is only going to end one of three ways Trish: jail, institutions, or death.” By this time, CPS was involved and custody over my 4-year-old son was at risk. My father was consumed with fear of not only losing his daughter but his grandson as well. I remember my father desperately pleading his cause on what seemed like any another chaotic Saturday. Per usual, my father was right. I was arrested an hour later, while en route to meet my local drug dealer. It wasn’t until I was detoxing from opiates, on the unforgiving jail cell floor, that reality hit me. I can only imagine the sheer panic and terror my father felt, thousands of miles away, knowing he had zero control of the fate that lay before his baby girl.
My addiction was never your fault. I look back to my earliest years and you were always there. You took me away from my biological mother because she struggled with this disease herself. Not many men would willingly take on full responsibility of being a single dad, but you did. In fact, you never spoke a negative word about my mother.
You spent most of my life, sheltering me from the painful memories of the past. You did everything in your power to ensure I never ventured down the painful road that you and my mother did. Yet still, this disease was lurking in the shadows of my DNA, waiting to devour me. Eventually, I gave in. I want you to know, it was never your fault.
Throughout my addiction, I was awfully defiant. I rebelled against any advice you offered. In fact, I almost always chose to do the opposite of anything you suggested. I remember you painfully begging me to heed your advice. I also remember the utter frustration that became you when I chose to do things my way, ultimately ending in self-propelled misery. You engrained the definition of insanity, into my head, throughout my entire childhood. I was a rebellious, addicted teen. I was too young and naive to understand the method to your madness. Insanity became me. Turns out, you were right all along. (And you still are.)
I want you to know, I never hated you. I know I told you otherwise, more times than I can count. You are the one person in the world, that has never turned your back on me. Through the best of times, through the worst of times… you’ve always been there. I was incapable of receiving love because I hated who I became. I became everything I swore I never would be. You taught me that integrity, My addiction had me fully convinced I was inadequate, unlovable, disgusting, shameful, and condemned. Shackled, to a disease I knew nothing about, I felt unworthy of any love. My addiction was never your fault.
I will never forget the day you came into town and met me and Liam at Waffle House. CPS was involved, and I cannot recall a time that I’ve ever seen you more fearful. I was covered in sores, emaciated, and completely delusional. I will never forget the terror and pain in your eyes as you asked “Trish is everything really OK? You know you can tell me anything?” You convinced me, from a very young age, that you would always know when I was lying. I can say, today, that you always have. You’ve always had a discerning connection with me. I was sick and choosing to suffer in silence. Truth be told, I couldn’t get finished with breakfast soon enough, to ask you for money, and revel in isolation again. I always hated when you came into town because your unconditional love convicted even the darkest parts of my disease.
My fondest memories of you are singing “Butterfly Kisses” to me (tears filling your eyes), tirelessly scaring me while laughing hysterically, and your relentless love that pursued me even into the gates of insanity. You always made sure I had everything I ever needed. My addiction stole every ounce of willpower that I thought I had. I was enslaved to opiates and the power of choice was nonexistent. I can’t help but think of the parable of The Prodigal Son. You came to court, the day I was released from jail and stood on my behalf. Despite all of my offenses, you held my hand the entire way through. Tough love is necessary love for a woman like me.
My addiction was never your fault. You constantly reminded me how loved I was. You were the happiest when your family was happy. I never wanted for anything. You taught me to always choose integrity. From cleaning airplanes, at Delta, to operations manager…I watched you build a life, from the ground up. You taught me to fight for what is right, always. You instilled morals and principles that still exist within me and are now being carried onto my children today.
Generation to generation, none of it was in vain. I was lost Daddy and I’m so sorry for the pain I caused you and our family. I will spend the rest of my life making living amends to you by choosing life every day. Thank you for letting me find my way. Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for taking on the responsibility of Liam while I got sober. God has restored our relationship and established trust, while easing anxieties, and breaking the generational chains of addiction. I am most grateful for the amazing grace you continue to show me. Your resilience lives on in my recovery. If it weren’t for you, I don’t know where I would be.
I love you,
To the father reading this, please know you didn’t do anything wrong. Your daughter is sick but she loves you very much. Guilt and shame have prevented her from showing. I know you are afraid, she is too. Please know that you cannot save her. She must experience utter desperation in order to experience true freedom. Never give up on her but let her find her way. Most importantly, never blame yourself. You are an amazing father.