Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day?

Father's Day can bring mixed feelings for many of us in recovery. Some of us had good relationships with our fathers and children. Others not so good.

I was one who had a terrible relationship with my biological father, a raging alcoholic. And because he was so brutal, I felt nothing when he fell dead at 60 years old from alcoholism. I hadn't spoken to him during the last 15 years of his life.

The stepfather who replaced him faced a real challenge. Because my brother and I had awful experiences with our real father it took years  for us to trust. And it was only after we were adults that we learned to honor the man who had volunteered to help raise us.

And while I was never physically abusive to my children I was a poor father to my two oldest. Because I was in a love affair with alcohol and drugs that started in my early teens I had no business being a father. In their early years I was always somewhere else – usually pursuing drugs or spending time as a guest of the State of California. I missed most of their first 15 years. Once in a while I would pop in and be Santa Claus, then disappear again.

And because my two older children were raised in a drug environment by their alcoholic/addict mother - and several stepfathers – it took a few years into my recovery before we arrived at the fairly decent relationship we have today. On some level though, they still carry emotional scar tissue because I wasn't there for them during critical years.

I've never seen a situation where mixing alcohol and drugs with parenting brings a good result.