I Miss Who You Are When You're Sober

Dear Jon,

It’s been 549 days or one year and six months since we last spoke. I thought for a very long time that I would never miss you, that I could never miss you, and yet I lie awake thinking about who you use to be.

It seems impossible to me that I once liked you more than I liked mom. It seems impossible that I once called you dad. It seems impossible to remember any happy moments we shared, but I do. I remember when you were sober.

I remember sitting on the roof just to watch you fix it. Walking through the woods and listening to you list off survival tips. Listening as you pointed out which constellations and planets could be seen at certain times of the year. Riding on your shoulders at rock concerts and after soccer games. However, I also remember the six years that you weren’t sober before we left.

I remember the exact sound of your teeth grinding when you were aggravated. Locking the bathroom door and listening to the sound of your breathing right outside the door, hoping you wouldn’t try to get in. Letting you pick pieces of me apart and tell me all the ways I wasn’t right. Pretending to be asleep whenever I would hear you stumbling down the hall at night. Learning to differentiate the sound of a settling house and the sound of footsteps growing near. Dreading the many nights when mom had to work and leave us alone together.

You were sober for ten years of my life and a full fledged alcoholic for the rest of it. I am only seventeen, and you were sober most of my life. I tend to remember the worst more than the better. Who wouldn’t? It’s hard to remember what your smile looks like when you have your hands on my throat and your voice is convincing me it would be easy for you to kill me. It’s very hard to remember the happier moments when you’re punching holes in the walls over absolutely nothing.

You gave me a deep depression that may never go away. I see you inside of dirt roads and forests. You gave me seasonal affective disorder that makes it a nightmare to get through the holidays, especially when I have to celebrate them without my whole family. I smell you when alcohol is anywhere near me. You gave me an addiction to self harm that I struggle with every single day. I hear you telling me i’m awful when I practice my singing. You gave me post traumatic stress disorder that hurts me every single day and makes me think of you way more than I ever wanted to. I see you in the mirror every single day. You gave me complete and total Hell.

I would forgive everything if you were sober. One of the greatest pains in my life recently is not having a father figure since I was ten years old, and if you were sober I would call you up in an instant. But you aren’t sober, and you never will be again. You know that. We all do. You’ll drink yourself to death, just like your father and just like his.

Vodka and bud light runs through your veins, not blood. You are no human, not anymore. Not with the memories I have of you. You are made of razor blades and grinding teeth, your eyes are ice and they match mine perfectly. You will never be sober.

I won’t be at your funeral. I won’t be at your deathbed. I refuse.

You won’t be at my graduation. You won’t be at my wedding. I refuse.

This is what I have left of you. I will never forgive you for that.


No longer your daughter, - Shae.

This poem is about: 
My family
Guide that inspired this poem: 


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