My dad had been a growing alcoholic since before I was born, but he never let it affect his life. When I was about the age of eight, he tried crack for the first time. For the longest time, he kept it covered up and we really didn't notice any changes in him. As his addiction grew, it was harder for him to hide it. Eventually, money started disappearing; he'd stay out far too late and many other bad things happened.
I don't remember much of the first few years, but I remember the first time I noticed a change in him; it was six days before Christmas. My mom, my brother, my dad, my best friend and I were all watching TV in the den and we were talking and having a good time when it happened. Me and my friend, Brittany were having our own conversation, so I don't know exactly what was said, but the next thing we knew my dad and brother were nose to nose, screaming at each other. My brother was probably about 17 at the time, maybe 16, I can't exactly remember. Anyways, after that I noticed him being gone and breaking promises and a family friend talking to him outside. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but I know that was the first time I ever saw my dad cry.
Years passed and the family connections continued to deteriorate gradually. Certain things I'll keep to myself, because no one but my mom, brother, close friends, and I need to know, but our lives weren't easy at all. We lost cars, a house, got things turned off because we never had enough money because he'd take it for drugs. After a while, crack wasn't enough either so he moved on to more and more drugs. In all honesty, he probably tried every drug there is. In a month alone he consumed enough drugs that would kill anyone else, but for some reason it didn't kill him. He even went to rehab, but it didn't help.
His birthday was on Halloween, but this past year no one [except my mom] called him to wish him happy birthday. I think that could be one reason to why he decided to go drinking and find drugs that night, but we'll never know.
Around 2 am on Saturday November 1, 2008, he ran a stop light and was hit by a car going 50+ mph. He was taken to the hospital and was in a coma for a week when the doctor told us he'd never be more than a vegetable. On Thursday November 13, 2008, we took him off life support and waited. He finally passed on November 15, 2008.
From what I've mentioned and the many other terrible things he did, one might think of him as a bad person, but he really wasn't. Robert Griffin was a man of love, passion, hate, strength, intelligence, hopes, inspiration and many other things. My dad always knew how to make people smile and how to inspire one to be great. When he loved, he loved hard but when he hated, it was just as hard. My dad was the type to go off into the wild for hours and just walk; thinking, looking, living.
If there's one thing anyone can say about him it's that he was a man determined to live no matter what the cost. Up until his death, I never really thought about who he used to be, because I was blinded by what he had become. My father was a great man who made a mistake that he couldn't take back. No matter what you've read or what you might know about him, know he was the most amazing man and was a terrific father when he was sober.
Robert Griffin's name will no longer be tainted by the horrors my family and I remember, but of the breath-taking memories of someone who meant the world to us.
*R.I.P. daddy, you're greatly missed but we feel so safe having you watching us.*
When you look at an addict, your first thought is "What a pathetic person. Why should I waste my time on that?" Well, now I know that if people cared a little more, showed some compassion and love then maybe there would be fewer addicts in this world. My dad became an addict to block out his past because he could never get over it, no matter what anyone said. He never intended to become what he had and neither do any addicts. Their lives get hijacked by that one mistake and then they become the social failure, the outcast. So instead of turning a cold shoulder, offer a warm hand and at least an attempt at changing a life. You could be that one person’s last hope and you could save them from a terrible ending.
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