Today, my 13-year old son discovered that I was a teenage alcoholic and drug user, and he seems to think that it is the cause of his troublemaking. I spent half the night painfully recapping everything that went on in my childhood starting from finding my father collapsed over a dresser in his bedroom all purple, only to have him die that night. And that was only the beginning. It got worse when my mother re-married and found I had a step-dad who ignored me, unless I turned my guitars up.
I had to go through all of this with Josh, and tell him that the only reason I did those things was not to feel good, but to stop feeling bad. I also told him that booze and drugs only make things worse as well. A lot more things go tangled in my life as I took more booze and more drugs. He also discovered that I had several suicide attempts as a kid, but was totally glad that I was unsuccessful. After all, he wouldn’t be there being totally glad. Neither would have his brothers and sisters.
It was hard to deal with Josh’s older brothers and sisters when they were young, only because I had no idea what a father figure was supposed to be back then. I managed to figure things out a lot better these days after being saved and discovering, or should I say re-discovering, God and how he cares for us, and how we should care for our kids in a similar manner. I do find that I want to be a better father to Josh than I was to his siblings. I also know that the window of opportunity is still there, and I need to grab it while I can.
Although I find I’m better than I used to be, sometimes, going back gives me some degree of pain. And I don’t feel like re-living it anymore. I’m hoping that this will be the last time I ever have to go through it with Josh. Plus, I’m hoping that he realizes what he goes through has nothing to do with what I went through. After all, at this point, he still has both of his parents around that love him very much and are there for him in every way they can be.