Amber Adams: Not Like Other Dads


Amber Adams writes about growing up with a mother who was raised in the Caribbean.

Most memories I have with my dad involve going to the gas station or bar. On a Tuesday night, we head to the back of the gas station under the dingy lights. He grabs a 24pack and we head to the cash register. We pay and then set off for home. On the way, he impatiently opens one and takes a sip.

My father drank my whole life. He hasn’t stopped except for the occasional week where he said he would quit.

He began to consume alcohol in his teens. It became even worse when he went into the Navy. My mom figured he would stop by the time they had kids. 

He didn’t. 

The money from his paycheck went to beer every week. It put stress on our family and it didn’t help my mom and dad’s relationship.

My mom became my best friend. She made his addiction seem not as bad as it really grew into. She did not tell my brother or I, to protect us, but I knew that most dads did not act like him. I didn’t know that other families didn’t go through what my family and I experienced.

I was the last one picked up from my first-grade class. I didn’t know that he drank all day. I didn’t know he got drunk when he would take me to get a beer at the gas station every night. 

My weeks consisted of parties at his friends’ houses. We would go to the bar and have parties at our house. While he got inebriated, I made myself preoccupied in my room. I only came out to see if everyone had left.

My 12-year-old brother became used to it and didn’t become fazed by the constant alcohol our dad consumed and the arguments he had with our mom. Soon, it became normal for me and just something that our dysfunctional family did.

To this day, he will spend about half of his weekly paycheck on beer or liquor. Money isn’t as tight as when I was younger, but it’s still not the best it could be. 

As I became older, I resented him for how I had to grow up and how he caused so much unnecessary stress and pain in my life. It caused an unspoken awkwardness between us that can’t be taken away. Even after 20 plus years of his alcohol-driven nights, he still doesn’t admit that he has an addiction.

Even though most of my memories with my dad surround beer, I still love him. Even if he doesn’t show it back. I can’t hate him for an addiction he can’t control. I don’t blame him. His dad did the exact same, I just wish he didn’t follow the same footsteps.