My Dad is a Recovering Drug Addict. How Should I Move Forward With Our Relationship?
My father began using hard drugs when I was 3 and was in and out of jail, or on the streets, for the past 8 years. The last time I saw him I was 11 years old. I'm 16 years old now and he is recently out of prison and is going to a lot of meetings and is making more of an effort than I've ever seen him make.
We've talked a couple of times on the phone and we've both cried. I want to get to know him, I want to have a real father. I grew up seeing him rarely, and almost all those times he was drunk or high on something. Also, when I was young he told me stories and things that were inappropriate for a child to hear.
Now when we talk he's courteous and he seems to be thinking straight and I think he's on the right path. What my real question is; how fast should I take our father/ daughter relationship? If I forgive him now, would that be good or bad for him?
If you have any questions I can answer, I'm leaving a lot of details out because I don't want this to get too long but I have no problems talking about this.
Good question. If your father really has embraced the life of recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism
and is totally committed to a life of sobriety, that's wonderful news.
There is no definitive answer as to how quickly or not you should allow your relationship to develop, simply trust your instincts. Trust is something a person earns and should never simply be granted through words or promises, so if you can see for yourself that your father is changing and making a real effort to turn his life around, then be supportive of that.
Having said that though, it doesn't hurt to be a little cautious because your father still seems to be in the early stages of his recovery, so just be careful to manage your expectations of him and give your relationship time to develop.
But it is important to have a relationship with one's father if possible, and people do deserve a second chance if they are genuinely trying to change and turn their lives around, so go with this in whatever way feels comfortable and natural for you.
We should never hesitate to forgive someone for their past or for how they've hurt us. Because most importantly, forgiveness allows us to heal from the wounds that may have been caused us, so not to forgive hurts us more than anyone because it keeps us stuck in negativity and resentment.
Having said that though, forgiveness doesn't mean we have to forget, and like I said its a good idea to remain cautious and have someone regain our trust through their deeds over time, because actions ultimately speak much louder than words.
So hopefully this is the beginning of a great relationship between you and your father and means that he really has left a life of addiction (and whatever it is that landed him in jail) behind for good.
All the best to you both.