Fri | Mar 24, 2023

The tale of a father with substance abuse

Published:Sunday | May 17, 2020 | 12:06 AM
Child abuse and violence
Child abuse and violence

It was a despondent and somewhat surrendered Sophia* who shared the story of how she believed her father to be unsavable.

Speaking with Family & Religion, the 20-odd-year-old woman apologised for what she described as her grim statement but went on to explain the logic behind it.

“My younger years saw my very ambitious father working an extremely good job and providing for his family. Before that, even, his mother, my grandmother, was an esteemed woman with a great societal position back in the days, and they were sort of among the highest of the middle-income echelon. So Daddy was one of the few people who was privileged to get a university education back then. Naturally, he landed a great job,” she shared.

Sophia explained that somewhere along the lines of his life, her father meddled in substance abuse, and things took a plunge into what she described as an irredeemable sea of doom.

According to her, “He was abusive to my mother, so we left. He later left his job, and things just kept getting worse. We couldn’t get support to go to school, and, I don’t know, but he was just different. He kept using, and though he’d hide it from me, I knew every time when he was under the influence.

“He always shared his big dreams, and I was always in support of them, but now, I realise that maybe I could have done more.”

A tearful Sophia went on to share that she had endured much watching her father waste away what could have been a good life and that she now is trying to convince herself that it isn’t her fault.

“I keep wondering if there is something that I could have done to steer him back to life. This began when I was about three years old, and I’ve had to watch it worsen all the days of my life since. I try to tell myself that I was too young to help and that by the time I got to an age where I could make sensible decisions, that he was too far gone.

“But what if…,” she questioned as her voice trailed off.

The Christian woman told Family & Religion that she often prays for her father and holds on to faith that God will work upon what seems like an impossible situation.

“Simply put, his life is literally in shambles right now. He’s not healthy enough to work, nor does he have anyone he can really depend on. I try my best to do what I can do, but it’s really a depressing situation all around.

“Others have tried to encourage me, saying he chose the life he wanted and I shouldn’t be blaming myself, but every time I think about it, it puts me in a sad mood,” Sophia said.

She continued, “My reason for sharing, really, is, even though I’m yet to overcome whatever this is, I know there are others who may be faced with the same or a similar situation. We are not our parents’ keeper. We do not have to carry their burdens, and their sins will not be on our shoulders. My advice is, do the best you can for them, continue in prayer, and hope that they will be willing enough to help themselves get up and get out.”

*Name changed.