A story I wrote when I was 12 years old, and now I'm revising to share my story as a child raised in a household of addiction
The Crack in the Bathroom Door
He is an active addict and has been for all my life. However, I just now got around to meeting the addict when I just thought he was a father. Even though a father should be in his daughter's life, I thought it was normal that he wasn't in mine. But let me clarify, he was there physically. The other parts went down the drain. I classified him as the guy through the crack in the bathroom door because that's where the pieces started coming together and from this day I saw the truth.
Every day he would come home from work, say hello, hug me, kiss me on the head, and go right to the bathroom. Eventually, somehow I caught on and would sneak down the hallway. Sort of like this little spy who wanted to find the person that was the bad guy. My dad wasn't a bad guy, he was like me except for this disease that made him not my father. Every time I looked my heart fell to the floor.
Every time I expected him to not be using, he was. Every time I looked I wanted to scream and just tell him to stop. Why didn't I just look away? Why did I try to hide the fact that he was using? Why didn't I open that door and say "you're busted." Every time I looked through that tiny crack in the bathroom door I knew something that he thought he kept all to himself. Little did he know the person who looked up to him was watching with tears streaming down her face.
Wanting so bad to save him from this monster who ruined our relationship. I tried to find a way to beat this monster down. Being this little girl I thought I had the power to change him so he could love me more to finally quit. I couldn't compete strong enough because this monster that took him away every time won every time. It got the attention. I competed with a substance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and however many seconds.
The man through the crack of the bathroom door then came out and acted normal, acted as nothing happened, acted like he was himself.
You see, no matter how many times I tried to get it in my head that he was my father, at that moment he wasn't. In those times he used, he wasn't. He was someone who didn't know my age, what grade I was in, and never had any intention of listening to whatever I had to say. He was someone who couldn't even stand up straight and his eyes began closing for however many seconds.
He was someone I couldn't even look at, and I just prayed he went to sleep so I could not deal with the damage that I felt. That when he went to sleep I could repress my true feelings. I could "just be okay.. just feel safe" because he was "resting." I made myself believe that I was the problem, that since I wasn't good enough for him I couldn't make him change and that was on me.
Apart of me understands now that he was sick, and is still sick. But, I can never replace those feelings and I am learning that repressing those feelings are not anything. They are feelings that are a lot of work and have to be worked through.
I want kids to understand that if your Mother or Father is an active addict they will never BE there in your life even if they are in your home. They will be there but they won't be. They are sick people who need help.
It's the addiction who wants you to think that they don't love you. It makes you think by their action it's all your fault, and it's not. Know that they love you the best they can, even if you have anger or you get hurt over and over and over again.
I will always remember my father by the Crack in the Bathroom Door. I had a front-row seat of who not to be.
My advice to you is to have faith and be true to yourself. It is what you do with your life and how accepting, grieving, and realizing the things you couldn't have those other kids had, you can start to find growth, groundedness, and a life that gives you purpose to know you are breaking the chain. Somehow healing comes, and it just takes time to start to forgive. It takes hurting and the pain to find the strength to see that there was a purpose for everything.
I'm here to tell you will get through this. If I did, you can too.