I’m pretty pumped about this post. It’s a first here for a couple reasons.
1) It’s from a Dad
2) It’s from someone who is recovering from addiction.
I met AJ in Grade 9, WAYYYY back in the day. We were fast friends. He was one of the first guys I ever felt comfortable being around because he was funny and easy to talk to. We were in musicals together, he attempted to teach me how to skateboard, went to shows and was even there when I tried my first (and only) cigarette.
Over the last 10 months, AJ has been working on getting sober. I’ve been following his journey and am so freaking inspired by him and what he is doing. PLEASE have a read, this is one that will really get you in the feels.
Today is my daughters 3rd birthday. I’m sitting in my living room finishing up wrapping her gifts, enjoying a coffee and wondering why the hell they cant just package things normally, in a box with flat sides. Do you know how long it took me to wrap a firetruck in a box that, for some reason, comes in a freakin’ polygon? I’m all out of scotch tape and somehow I’m sweating but I’m nothing but grateful this morning. I’m grateful that I’m able to give my kid the love she deserves today.
I’m going to admit something, this time last year I would have been hungover and miserable. I’m an alcoholic and an addict, I’ve been clean and sober for nearly a year. I’m sure people will have their own judgments when they read this but I can only be honest now. Honesty is paramount to my sobriety. For a long time, I wasn’t honest. Not with my family, my friends and certainly not myself. It took a very long time to finally face down my demons, it was terrifying and the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, so far. I’m not cured by any means but I have tools and I have a support system of people who I love and trust and as long as I use those things, I can be the person I know I was meant to be. A loving father and good co-parent.
If you ask most parents what the most important thing in their life is, they’ll undoubtedly tell you its their child. For me, I have to say its my recovery. If that sounds awful or selfish to you, I understand but just hear me out. If I don’t put my sobriety a little ahead of everything else in my life, then I fall apart. I wont be able to love her, i wont be able to provide for her and I further more I wont be around, because my disease will kill me dead. This isn’t just true for parents with addictions either. We all struggle on the inside right? Mental health issues run rampant in today’s society and its no joke. I need to get the help, I need to talk about it and I need to heal so I can teach my daughter how to heal. I can put on a brave face and go through the motions but then I’m not all there, I’m half a parent. The idea of a SuperMom or SuperDad is insane. We are human, BE HUMAN.
Most of all, ask for the help if you need it. I got sober in a 12 step program and Its worked wonders for me but there are TONS of options out there. If you feel stuck, believe me I’ve been there, but there is a way out, I promise. My daughter will be sitting in the front row next month when I recieve my 1 year medallion and I never thought in a million years that I’d be so blessed. So please, if addiction is something you struggle with, if you’re a parent or not, there is help and there is hope. You deserve to be the best version of yourself.
Follow AJ on Instagram at @ayjayayjayayjay
If you’re struggling with alcoholism or addiction, please reach out to your family doctor, a mental health professional or a local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. You don’t have to suffer alone. There is NO shame in seeking help.