It’s only natural that on father’s day I think about my dad and the lack of a relationship I had with him. There was a time I couldn’t mention him without feeling rising anger and fear.

He was an addict. Prescribed morphine twisted his mind along with anger from his sick upbringing. He abused alcohol and gambled, he had an obvious disliking for me that caused me to fear and resent. He grew up around sexual abuse and violence. He never wanted children. My brother and I were both accidents that he resented deeply.

My own abuse as a child was difficult to live with. I developed mental health problems as a result, and the anger I felt towards him just fuelled alcohol abuse from a young age. I blamed him for all my failings in life. My suppressed hatred almost destroyed me from the inside out. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder later in life. A behavioral disorder caused by trauma. His anger had become mine.

Becoming a dad was an opportunity to be a better man for my children

When I got sober I had to address, and face, my resentments. When I did I began to see him from a different angle. He was destroyed as a child. His father was a real bad man. My dad grew up without any loving guidance. He just grew up with deep emotional trauma and an inability to deal with stress. His addictions were his escapes, and he didn’t have the tools to be a stability in our lives.

I had taken the same path down a road of suppressed anger and addiction. Mental illness affected me as it had him. He was sick, and staying angry at a man who couldn’t control his anger was just insane. When I looked at the damaged life I had lived as a chronic alcoholic I had to give up my judgment. I had to let go of my anger.

I feel no more ill will towards him anymore. I was saved from my anger through an act of grace. I was eighteen the last time I saw him and he was in bad shape. My hope is that one day he discovered his own peace. Just as I had. And I give thanks to God that I was freed from anger before I became a dad myself. My children will know only love from me.

Becoming a dad was a big deal for me. It was a chance to be the man I always wanted to be as a father. I take my role very seriously, to be a dad is an honour. To be trusted with the life of another human being is the greatest responsibility I will ever have. And love and tolerance are principles I practice under my roof.

So, happy fathers day to all of you men reading this. Be the pillar of love and stability your children need and enjoy this day of recognition. X

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