My father was an addict all his life. He tried countless time to become sober, but he always went back to using. I thought for a long time that he didn't love me or need me in his life; I thought he was just refusing to quit. Only after his death did I accept the fact that being an addict is a disease. I always thought people chose to be an addict and wondered why my dad wouldn't choose me, his daughter, his flesh and blood, over drugs. I wasted a lot of time being mad at him instead of just loving him. I tried so many times to help him, I used to cry and beg him to quit. Several times I tried to contact him and could not. I would think the worst. I would imagine him dead on the couch and the phone ringing off the hook. But, he would always call me a few days later. In December of 2006, my biggest fear came true. I was calling him for almost a whole month and just couldn't get him. He and I lived across the country from each other at that time and I had my uncle who lived nearby check on him at a sober house he was living in. My uncle called me a day later and told me that my father had passed. My father had died approximately one month earlier and his body was found in his room only after my uncle went to look for him. He died only two weeks before his 46th birthday. The sober house residents puzzlingly did not even know he was dead in his room for a whole month. I felt so guilty for "letting" him die and leaving him to "rot" all that time. No one deserves that, not even a drug addict. I felt like I should have been there or I should have let him live with me so I could keep watch over him 24-7. It is now that I realize that anything I would have done wasn't going to stop the inevitable. The way his body was left there was his fault not mine. He chose this path. I love my dad with all my heart and always did. I tried my whole life to save him and felt like I failed when he died. But, now I know that all I had to do was just love him and accept him for what he was. I am not saying that you shouldn't try to help a loved one who has an addiction, what I am saying is to always make sure you let them know just how much you love them and don't waste the little time you have together being mad. No matter how much you want to believe that doing drugs is a choice, it's really is not, it's a sickness, it's a real disease. Never give up on them and try every day to make them better, but at the same time don't blame yourself if you can't fix them. I'm just so sorry that it took my dad passing for me to realize all of this.
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