How Do You Forgive What Still Hurts?

         It is past midnight making it officially August 2nd. It is my father’s birthday. I am quite impressed with the birthday card I picked out. It’s very sweet and thoughtful. It says everything you’d want a birthday card to say.
                   
         As many stories and poems I’ve written I’ve often stated that my father is a drug addict. I went from denial, where I lived for many years, to hurt, and anger. I’m still angry, but far more hurt. I am now in a place where I want to forgive, but how do I do that when I’m still hurt and no one seems to acknowledge that pain? I love this card, but I feel it speaks to the man my father used to be. He was the best father a girl could ever have, but the key word is “was”. The man I looked up to no longer exists. I look at this card and it says everything I want to say, but yet it feels like lies. Part of me would like to think that when I give him something like this it’ll awaken a drive in him to be better. I only set myself up for disappointment with that one. It won’t happen. He won’t get better. He doesn’t want it as bad as I do.
        I look at my father and I see someone that is lost. I see someone that doesn’t understand how he got to a low point in his life. I understand depression. As much as I understand it I still don’t get the individuals that drown that pain with drugs and alcohol. I don’t understand that addiction. I don’t understand allowing a substance to control everything that you are. I can look at him and understand that feeling of hopelessness, while at the same time not understanding him at all. I have battled depression for many years and sadly can only relate to how I handle it and how others similar handle it. I can feel like no one cares, but in the back of my mind know that’s not true. I can feel like I’m unworthy and know that’s not true. I can feel ugly and know that’s not true. I can feel all of these horrible things and still at the end of the day know that I’m going to make it out of that state of mind. There will be moments (or longer) where I’m stuck in my own thoughts and want to curl into a ball for days. I still could never imagine diving into an addiction. I feel that once you go down that road not only are you hurting yourself, you hurt the others that care. You make them go through the same hurt, pain, and anger that fills me. An addiction can ruin a family’s structure, finances, trust, etc. My college fund was blown on drugs. My mother is almost 60 and works 10-12 hour days to pay almost every bill in the household. Everyone is in debt to their ears. Everyone is stressed to the max and drugs is the main cause of this. We are all affected by one person’s actions. I couldn’t do that. When I sink into a depression the only pain I cause is not helping out to make my mother’s workload easier. That’s when I try my best to snap out of it. I can’t have her work like a dog then come home to work more. That’s not fair to her. It is also not fair for us to want better for our lives only to be weighed down by one person.
        As much as I want to be sympathetic to my father’s addiction I just cannot do it. I want to be at place to be able to forgive before it’s too late. I think I can only get to that place of forgiveness if there’s an acknowledgement on his part of the hurt he has caused. With him being an addict and stubborn I don’t see that happening. I can only forgive once he sees the destruction he’s caused his family. I can only forgive once he forgives himself. I have curbed my anger, but my pain still exists. Most likely after he is gone that pain and anger will still remain. I can only hope for the best. I can only hope that one day he’ll want to take charge of his life. I have to remember that I can’t force him to do that. That drives comes from within. I don’t know what it will take to kick start that drive, but the girl who had the best father ever can only hope.

-Asia Aneka Anderson

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