A Dad Versus A Father
By: Dr Darby
This week we celebrated Father’s Day. Webster defines both “Dad” and “Father” as a male parent. I see the terms as distinctly different. To me, a Father is someone who provided sperm to create a child or one whose name is on a birth certificate. A Dad is someone present for their child/children, physically, emotionally, mentally, etc. This holiday has always been one of discontent for me. Growing up, my biological father was in
and out of my life. As a child, I didn’t understand why he was never present. I can remember a handful of occasions when I spent time with him. There were countless Christmas’, birthdays,’ major life events that he said that would be present for but never attended.
You see, my father was a drug addict and struggled with using drugs his entire life. I wasn’t aware of his drug abuse until I was an adult. My mother never spoke ill of him, which today I am grateful for because I was able to develop my thoughts about him based on his actions. In my 30’s I decided to give him one more chance to become present for both my son and me because what wasn’t going to happen was him being inconsistent for my son. He agreed to become an active dad. That lasted for about a month, and from then on, I was done with him! I didn’t speak to him for about five years. He died in 2019. I didn’t think that it would affect me, but it did, but not in the way one might think. I did not regret not speaking to him for that time, because I did not allow him to hurt me anymore. I was sad because the hope of him changing his behavior permanently was now gone. His inconsistent behavior caused a great deal of trauma for me. Some ways I was aware of the trauma, and in other ways, I was not aware.
While I applaud many dads, like my husband, who has been there for our sons since day one, he is very present, active, loving, etc. My father-in-law, who passed in 2017, was what I call a dad. He was beyond supportive and someone I could
call whenever I needed to. I miss him, dearly! If you are blessed enough to have or have had a great dad, that is amazing! I ask that you keep in mind those who had absentee dads and the effect(s) it has on them.
Having loved ones who have addictions can beyond difficult. Many individuals have these people in their lives and deal with them in different ways. This type of trauma is life-altering and can affect people in various ways. It can affect decision making, dating, relationships, etc. Engaging in counseling can help with working through the trauma. If you have loved ones dealing with addiction, I encourage you to get them into treatment, and you engage in counseling as well.