By: Marc McMahon
There is one thing that is for sure, recovery is definitely not for the faint of heart. I mean not the kind of recovery that is going to keep you sober for an extended period of time. Shoot, let me re-phrase. Not recovery that would keep me clean for any length of time. Can only speak for myself that's important. I say not any recovery because as I have learned this time that my recovery attempts although better over the years, and lasting a hair longer each time were far from where they needed to be. Far from where I am today in my recovery and that is the only basis I have to judge this on but the differences are drastic.
For instance, I read a post from a person online and she was sharing about how hard it can be at times being a single parent but especially when it comes to being the Father to her son that he does not have at the moment. To have to learn hands-on how to put racetracks together, and model rockets, and build things for ages 4 and up which we all know you need a darn Ph.D. at times to figure out how to assemble some of those toys. But a Mom who never had those experiences growing up, how is she supposed to know how to do that?
So she shared, and she also shared how the love she has for her son will ultimately cause her to figure it out on the fly and be all that her little boy needs her to be. Ahh, the resilience of all the moms of children left behind by us who shirked our parental responsibilities as Fathers due to our addiction and I must say pure selfishness, or I was anyway if I am honest. But the moms we left behind to raise our kids they should all be given props even if they did not do such a stellar job because who would I be to criticize, I wasn't even there! That is my truth! And sometimes the truth really sucks but I have learned unless I confront who I was in my addiction head on. Unless I see it and who I was in it for what I really was, then I stand no chance at long-term recovery.
The truth that I was a shitty Father is no secret to me and is something I have dealt with extensively over the years. It caused me to hate myself so much for so long that I tried killing myself because of it two times just because at least I knew that way I would not be able to hurt my son's heart any more. And that at the time as irrational as it sounds now really seemed like the best I could do. I am so glad I never succeeded.
With all that being said then, this post I read from this gal brought all those feelings, memories and emotions to the forefront of my mind. Not with a you worthless piece of crap comment like it used to enter the room of my mind with. But with an oh my God my heart breaks for these two and at that moment I realized I have an entire hearts worth of love dying to share with a young fatherless child like that, a plethora of love, all that a little boy could ever desire. All the love I wanted as a child from a father figure but never received only one problem.
My New Truth I Found
The problem is after failing as miserably as I have in life, with recovery in the past, and as a Father to my child, I have little confidence in my ability to be a dad again. Or maybe it's not that because I know I have the ability. I guess the thing is, is my self-confidence in that area is non-existent. Also, it is not a game to try the parenting thing again if given the opportunity. Not a game because a child's heart is on the line, I wish I would have seen that before with my son, I wish, I wish, I wish, so many things about that time in my life, but I can't change it just grow.
I guess my point is in writing this is what is a guy to do if he ever is given this chance to parent again, to love again? Part of me is dying for the opportunity to be that person for some young man, while the other part of me says you are way to big of a gamble Marc and you should just keep as far away from that as possible to make sure if you screw your life up again he won't be affected. And that is where I am with it, I am not sure if given the chance again I would do it simply because of that fear, and its a very warranted fear too I have to say.
You know you come into recovery broken, then recover, then self-esteem builds and you find yourself confident again so then what. Well time to grow again, so I challenge myself with something I failed at before in a past recovery attempt like school for instance. Its a new thing so need to build new confidence from the ground up no problem and eventually I will master that and tackle something new like writing a book or something which I actually started :).
But all those things I mentioned I would be or could be trying in that last paragraph all have one very important thing in common if you look. That is if I fail at any one of those only I can get hurt, disappointed, or broken-hearted. But to be a Dad again, especially after not having one and never been shown how to really be one I am not sure it is wise but my heart longs for it which kind of makes me sad in a way. It is difficult sometimes to look at your past through clear and objective lenses and not only realize but accept who you once were in all of its ugliness and then take it and grow. I guess that is sort of the definition of recovery.
All I can really say is this, is it is liberating for me to not only finally be able to see myself more clearly than I ever have but too not hide the fact that I was not a very good person in my addiction. To accept it own it and realize that
"I may not be what I want to be, and I may not be what I could be, but thank God I am not what I used to be."
About the Author: Marc is a 48-year-old Author, Speaker, and Soldier in a war to loosen the grasp that Substance Abuse has on our society. He is a Father, Son, and friend to all those seeking refuge from this incorrigible disease. Marc resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where he enjoys, writing, hiking, and kicking the disease of addiction in the teeth, every chance he gets. As Marc always likes to say, “be blessed, my friends!”