"Did you not love me, or did you love alcohol more than me? "
Philip writes a letter to his dad, Michael, who died due to alcohol in 1977.
I've wanted to say these things for a long time, but I’ve never felt emotionally or spiritually strong enough to write it until now.
Did you not love me, or did you love alcohol more than me? Did I do something wrong because it certainly felt that way. I was only four when you died and only have two memories of you. They’re not a lot but they would shape a huge chunk of my life.
I went through a lot of anger and tears, jealousy and frustration because of you. I grew up without you there and had to experience the cruel taunts of ‘yer da was an alkie’ and ‘at least my dad is still alive’. But I got the last laugh because I was going home to my Mum who had enough love for me, and the whole world.
Now I’d like to thank you and that is something I never thought I'd do. I became involved in addiction myself and your passing was the perfect excuse I had to continue for years. It wasn't until I had my kids that I began to understand you a lot more, and the times you let me down, because I was doing exactly the same to my girls. It wasn't because I didn't love them, it was the illness of addiction and the selfishness that comes with that lifestyle. I didn’t want my kids to go through what I did growing up, so I fought hard, and I’m still fighting, to stay in recovery. So, thank you for that.
Michael's death was preventable.
Philip's story shows the devastating impact the loss of a life to alcohol or drugs has on the family and friends left behind.
We have the power to create change, especially when we come together to take action. You can support this work by agreeing to the "See Beyond" pledge below.
“I pledge to be respectful and compassionate towards those affected by substance use, including the families and friends of those who have died from alcohol or drugs.
I will show respect by using kind and non-judgmental language about those affected by alcohol or drugs.
I will show compassion by reaching out to someone who has lost a loved one to alcohol or drugs and asking them how they are doing today.”
Thank you for making a difference.
We have compiled some resources to provide support to people who are affected by someone’s drug/alcohol use as well as those impacted by the death of a loved one due to drugs/alcohol.