My dad is an alcoholic of the hopeless variety. I was about 14 when he got “dry” and he never truly entered into recovery. He went to a treatment centre in Kingston for two months that was run by the military. My mother gave him an ultimatum, either stop drinking or she was leaving with my brother and I. That night was pretty traumatic, he didn’t believe that we were serious and the fight that ensued was pretty horrific. I remember leaving the house before it got too out of control. I went and spent a few hours at a friends house and when I got back things had settled down a bit and he agreed to go get help. This started the process of him getting dry. I can’t use the term “sober” to describe him. He never ever really entered recovery, he just stopped drinking and never dealt with any of his shit. He didn’t even truly stop drinking, he spent years drinking that near beer. He obsessed over it the same way that he did when he was drinking real beer. I refuse to touch the stuff. I have had family offer me the same stuff, or even de-alcoholized wine or sparkling wine. I have to politely decline these things, as I just don’t want to even pretend that I am drinking. I don’t need to have a non-alcoholic beverage to feel like I am part of an occasion. I just need to be there and be present.
Dad got out of the hospital and came home and things seemed pretty good for a while. he went to a couple of meetings and then suddenly stopped. He also quit smoking when he came home and told us that the smoking really bothered him at meetings. In those days all AA meetings allowed smoking. He used that as his excuse to not attend them. But he managed to stay dry for quite a few years, right up until about the summer of 2000. I remember that I was about to graduate from college. I was starting a new job in Toronto and getting ready to go full “adult”. He went away on course for work down at and American army base. When he got home I came home from classes in college and found him sitting on the back step of the house smoking a cigar and drinking beer. My heart almost stopped. What in the fuck is going on? This seemed like a major fucking deal, but he was happy as hell (looking back he was drunk I guess) and Mom seemed to be okay with it. She just said that he was going through something with his impending retirement. She left it at that. A short while later they left for a weekend trip to visit family in London and on the way home on the Sunday he told her that he was leaving her. He was retiring from the military and was going to be moving in with a women he met online to Dartmouth, NS. Later I found out that he had actually been involved with this woman for a long time. In fact he had not been faithful to my mother and had been with this woman a few times.
What stands out for me from this time was that this was one of the first times in my life that my anxiety became completely overwhelming and unmanageable. I shut down in both mind and body. I was barely able to function as I was being pulled into too many directions and flooded with too many emotions. I lost the ability to eat, I couldn’t sleep and I was barely making it too work. Mare was pressuring me to move out of my parents house into a place with her. I was being forced to face the real possibility that I was going to have to do this adult thing….(job, car payments, move out) my parents marriage was over and mom was not doing well. It was just too much for me too handle. I found out years later that I was prescribed an anti depressant during this time. I don’t remember that happening, but it did. And funny enough it’s the same one that I am on right now.
Fast forward many years now, Dad has been living in Dartmouth, it appears as though he has built himself a decent life. He is married a nice lady named Pam; she has a really nice family that I got along with pretty well. At this point we’ve all been out to visit and seen his new life. We have done the touristy stuff, visited all the sites. Made friends with the family and life is feeling pretty good. I mean not exactly as I expected but good. Dad was drinking the whole time. I was under the impression that Pam was keeping a tight reign on his consumption. But he is an alcoholic. Those fuckers can be sneaky…I should know. He was hiding out in the garage and consuming a lot of beer and whiskey. He was always saying it’s where he went to smoke and read his books. But what happens with alcoholics that don’t stick to a moral and spiritual program is that they rapidly degrade in both physical and spiritual condition. He began to consumer more and more which began to lead to black outs. My brother Pat and I took a trip out there to visit and Dad planned all these site seeing excursions. One of which was a trip down to Port Royal in the southern part of the province. He told us that he had planned a hotel down there as it was a really long trip but was totally worth the effort. Okay, so we hop in the car and cruise down there. It’s less than a two hour drive……ummm….Dad? WTF?
He arranged for us to stay in some shitty motel in this tiny little town with one restaurant. They didn’t even have a Tim Horton’s that I recall. But they did have a liquor store. So we go and stock up on supplies and head to the motel. Pat and I rent some bikes from the place and take an amazing ride up along the coast. It was really beautiful, the scenery down there is quite breathtaking. We rode along taking in all the beauty of the coast line and the ocean, meanwhile Dad was back in the room….alone. We came back and he had made his way through a bottle of whiskey and 6 or 8 beers. He was pretty shit faced. We each had a few beer and then Dad started talking. He told us a story about when he was in Amsterdam after he and Mom got married. (I will sum this story up quickly as the telling of it was pretty “sloppy”) He was drunk…surprise…..and decided to visit the red light district. He bought a dildo that he claims was going to be a gift for Mom. (GROSS) Then he took a walk through the area and hit some bars. He decided that a trip to see a hooker was in order. This is where he claims that he had the dildo in a bag and the hooker was doing his thing and took the dildo out of the bag and jammed it into her. At this point he breaks down into fits of laughter. Then in short order passes out and proceeds to snore like a dump truck.
We were both at a loss as to what to do. I don’t think that we said 6 words between us on the drive home. Pat and I were in shock the rest of the trip. Dad of course acted as if nothing happened; because he couldn’t remember that anything had in fact happened. When we left to drive back to Ontario we finally had the conversation about what we should do. Do we talk to Pam about what happened and about how much he was drinking? Do we do nothing? We both made the assumption that Pam was not a stupid lady and she probably knew what was going on. So we left it.
I don’t remember how long after, it could be a few years, but I was sitting on our patio with my laptop and reading some emails and I get one from Dad with the subject: Shocking News. He tells me in the message that he has been drinking to black outs and has been arrested for sexual interference of a minor. Pam has kicked him out, he no longer has a job and he has left Nova Scotia to go live with his mother in Winnipeg. He tells us that he is being “framed” by Mandy, Pam’s daughter. Dad had been babysitting Pam’s grand daughters a fair bit as he wasn’t working. This was only in the evening as they were both of school age, and I don’t think he minded because it gave him an excuse to stay in the house and drink. He claims to have no memory of any incidents that involved the girls and that Mandy has a history of making up stories. Mandy has gone to the police about the incident and Dad was arrested. He has a court date in Nova Scotia, he has a conviction in Nova Scotia and also has a lengthy jail sentence in Nova Scotia. East Coast Lifestyle, this story runs through my mind each time I sea one of those tee shirts or sweaters.
Yes, my father is a registered sex offender. FML
I have many more things to write about this subject, this is just the tip of the iceberg. A large shitty iceberg.