I’m confident when I say that I have made a lot of bad choices in my life. In some ways, it feels like my life hasn’t been my own. It’s like my memories, my history, my substance has been part of a movie where have played the audience and my actions are that of someone else’s.
The reality, however, is much darker. I am (at the time of writing this) 38 years old. I have sold (and become addicted) to drugs numerous times. I have lost thousands through gambling. There are supermarkets in which I cannot go near from getting caught stealing from them. In my younger days, I stole cars and double-decker buses for the fun of it. It’s safe to say I have pissed off more people than I dare think about and more importantly, I’ve let down many that I have had the pleasure of calling a friend.
Four years ago I got the news that I was going to be a father. We had been trying for some time and in some ways, I felt pressured to have children. I wasn’t ready in the slightest. The relationship between me and my partner at the time was unsteady throughout. We were constantly arguing and I was consistently getting trashed as an escape from it all. I was lost!
When we were trying for a baby, I was dealing cocaine. I say dealing, it was more like along the lines (no pun intended) of getting wasted every night and every once in a while I would sell some. The rest? Up into my nose! Inevitably, this got me into a lot of debt.
Just before my daughter came along, I decided it was time to stop dealing. I got myself a job and initially, things were great. We were getting along OK and I was truly enjoying being a dad. However, the relationship between me and my ex started taking a turn for the worse and we eventually went our separate ways.
Although my job has presented itself with lots of opportunities to the point where it pays well, I am away a lot. In order to compensate for the loneliness, I drink a lot. When I drink, I gamble. This circle has continued throughout since we split. Oh, and I recently had to move out of my apartment so now I have no place to call home.
Now don’t get me wrong here. I’m not trying to play the victim. I am aware that these actions are my own and I have no-one else to blame but myself for where I am. I accept full responsibility.
In a few months time, my daughter will be celebrating her fourth birthday. I can’t help but get upset about that as I know that I have not been the best father to her up until this point. Even though the history I have put myself and everyone through, she sees me as her hero.
Whether she is playing with her friends or meeting new kids in the playground, I am nearly always the topic of initial conversation. In her eyes, I am her hero. It’s time I start becoming the person she needs me to be!
So this is my journey to become a better man and thus, a better father!