It has been 1 year and 2 months since I left my father to either die of his prescription drug addiction or get help. I had spent the prior 18 months letting his disease almost kill me, literally and figuratively. He has been an addict ever since I can remember, certainly all of my 37 years. When I divorced, my father convinced me to move in with him, telling me he could help heal my wounds or at least give me a safe place to rest and gather my thoughts. My marriage had been 8 years of abuse in itself, I was belittled, beaten, and alone. What lies my father told me, his helping me was never his intent, but they were the words that I longed to hear, what I tried to make my mind believe. Needless to say, it never happened. The day I left, I barely made it out with my life. I had gone from being a newly divorced, beautiful, slightly emotionally out of kilter, to someone no one would recognize. My father stole my car title and used it to secure signature loans. He used every penny of my alimony, not to pay bills, I have no idea what he did with the money. He went through 17 jobs, most just lasting a matter of hours, not even days or weeks. He slept, controlled my every move, wrecked my car, never bathed, generally, he gave up on life. He began to treat me more as a wife than a daughter, there were numerous inappropriate actions, I guess if I am very honest, there was a touch of incest involved. My mother and sister had left him many years ago, as had 99% of his friends. They could no longer handle his lies, thievery, the cruelness, the unstable lifestyle. I stood by him however. I knew I had to escape, and for months I struggled with that word, escape, but when I left, that is exactly what I did. I begged him for over a week to take me to the bus station, I had found a domestic violence shelter that would take me in, but they would only save me a bed if I could get there by a certain day. I knew my dad would not let me go easily. I was his meal/drug ticket. I took care of everything. He threatened suicide, something I found out he had done in the past, his threats worked, how could a daughter leave her father when he was obviously so distraught. He tried to bribe me, all the empty promises, "I'll get a job", "Things will be better". I was lucky enough to see that he was using every manipulation tactic he could, I also knew in my heart, it was now or never, if I did not leave then, I never would and then both of us would fall down the rabbit hole. Then he took to bed and stopped eating. I called everyone that I could think of, begging for someone to intercede. It was too late, no one would touch him. The day I was to leave (I had decided on a bus ticket, in 18 months I had gone from having $3000 a month, a beautiful new car, being a gorgeous woman, to someone unrecognizable, broke, hungry, and aged at least 10 years), he was wasted, XANAX, too many pain pills to count, morphine, oxycotin, fentanyl, there were too many others too count, I put my 2 suitcases into his car, crying begging for a ride. I had no money for food, just for my bus ticket. The ride would take 23 hours, I was going half way across the country, determined that anyplace, anywhere other than where I was with my father would be better. After hours of crying, begging, assuring him I would return, he grudgingly got behind the wheel of the car and started to drive. I look back on the drive to the bus station, amazed we made it alive, he tried to drive us into on coming traffic several times, he yelled at me calling me names too painful to repeat. He dropped me off a few hundred yards from the bus station. I was weak physically, hunger was immense. He told me that if I did this I was out of his life forever. I knew that in my heart and that simple statement was the only thing that made me even more determined to never return, I wanted no more part of that hell. I somehow dragged those 2 heavy suitcases to the bus depot, crying, weak, but determined. I thought I was free. I felt like I had a new life, but then, as I had just purchased my ticket, my father appeared behind me. He begged me once again not to leave, I looked at him and saw him for what he was. He is a drug addict. He begged me for money, money I did not have. He wanted me to write him a check or give him my check book. He would forge something he said, "Don't worry", he said, I just need something to get me by. I said no. He told me that I had ruined his life. I was a horrible person and he wished I had never been born. Please know, I am sanitizing this at this point. I do recall tears falling out of my eyes but something else took over, it was the knowledge that I was out of there, I was out of his apartment, there were other people around me, he could try, but I was out of his control. I don't remember much else of the next 24 hours. I knew I was hungry, thirsty, cold, and very scared. But I also knew I was alive. I made it to the shelter exactly 27 hours from when I left. They began to help me help myself, to heal a bit. I had heard from the one member of my family I still talk to that my father was still alive. He had gone to a 3 week rehab, never admitted what he did to others or himself, just now saying it was really out of his hands the entire time, calling what he has a "disease", there is no taking responsibility there. He somehow found my new phone number, but not me. He left a rambling message, saying just how great he was, how happy I should be for him. Honestly, I ran to the bathroom and threw up when I heard that message. I changed my number, went back to therapy for a few months and am trying to heal. Life is better, I am better. I will survive, that is who I am. I can now feel some compassion, but not forgiveness and never , not ever will there be trust. I call myself an orphan now, I have no family save one terrific aunt. My mother is not well, she and I have been estranged for years. My family is now the people I allow in, the ones that love me and value me and for that I am forever and ever grateful. There is good out there, this has taught me that, there are things in life that are very very good. Thank you for listening.
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