I was ten when my dad went into rehab for a drug addiction. I remember the night my mom told me, it was the night before he left. The night when I found out, I didn’t text or call my dad. I avoided him the best I could. I think it was my mom who finally came into my room around 12 and handed me her phone, with my dad on the other end.
“Hey kiddo, I’m so glad to be talking” By the sound of his voice you could tell he had been crying, I couldn’t really blame him though, because I had been crying too.
“Yeah hey” My eyes burned, the aftermath of crying for a few hours straight. My nose was red and raw, but I sniffled, trying to hold myself back from crying again. Sure, I was being dramatic, but at the time I felt like all my trust with my dad had been broken.
“How are you?”
“I-I’m alright, I guess. But, how are you?”
“I’m ok for right now. I’m happy to be talking with you”
“Yeah…” My voice began to trail off. I didn’t know how to respond to him.
“Listen, I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you sooner-”
“You didn’t even tell me!” I cut him off. I was right though, he wasn’t even the one who told me, my step-dad was.
“I’m sorry Syd but I didn’t know how to tell you! How would you have wanted me to tell you!” He made a point. I don’t know how I would have wanted him to tell me. I don’t think I would have wanted him too. My breathing started to get heavy as I started to let the tears stream down my face.
“I don’t know! I don’t know! I don’t know…” I still remember the sound of my dad starting to cry on the other end of the phone. I’ve never heard or seen my dad cry before. I think hearing him break down made the whole situation even worse. For the rest of the conversation we just repeatedly told each other sorry, but I’m not too sure why.
When my step-dad told me I remember him just repeatedly saying, “Sydney, your dad is a drug addict”. I didn’t believe my dad was a drug addict at the time, my dad didn’t really think he was a drug addict at the time. He didn’t want to admit that he had a serious problem.
It was two weeks before I was allowed to go see my dad. I wasn’t actually allowed to go see him, my mom never really approved of me going in the first place. I still don’t know if she even knows that I went to go see him. My step-mom was the one to bring me to see him, she had visited him a couple times before and brought him some letters that I had written. I was on my way to my mom’s house when my step-mom told me we were going to visit my dad. I was ecstatic, at least I thought I was. I was excited to see him, but the thought of seeing him after I hadn’t talked to him for two weeks, was terrifying to me. Since I was only ten I didn’t really know how to handle the situation.
“He is really excited to see you Syd”
“I’m excited to see him too. I’m excited to see where he is too, you said it was a nice place right?”
Nancy nodded, “Yeah, Silver Hill is really nice, everyone there is really nice too”. I couldn’t help but feel a small smile creep across my face. I was happy that he was in a nice place, but I still wasn’t happy that he was away at all.
When we pulled in my body started shaking. I didn’t really think that I was as nervous as I really was, before we pulled in. Don’t get me wrong, everything looked super nice, but the fact that my dad was being kept in there and he couldn’t leave made me so upset and anxious to even be near the building. There was a long staircase leading up to the main entrance and a few doors to go though. I didn’t think there would be as much security as there actually was.
The inside was very very clean, like everything looked sparklingly clean to me. I’m sure once you spend time in that place for more than two days everything doesn’t look as clean. I remember the woman at the front desk asking us our names and who we were visiting. She smiled at us and was very soft spoken, she was a relief. I had had so much stress from this whole situation to see someone who was as calm as her gave me so much relief. She lead us down two hallways, the first one was to the left of where we were first standing and then straight down. My dad’s room was the fourth on the left side. He had a nurse sitting across the hall in a little office area. Even if I tried to forget all of the tiny details I remembered from that day I don’t think I ever could.
My dad’s room was not too big but not too small, it must have been a 11ft by 11ft room. He shared it with a roommate, so he had a twin bed on the left side of the room with a window above it and a lamp next to it. His roommate’s bed was placed across from my dad’s and he had a lamp next to his bed too. On the other side of their room was a small bathroom. Everything looked clean in his room too. As I looked round his room I saw the wall above his bed covered in the little letters I had written to him. Before I could say anything, my dad wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tight.
“I’m so happy to see you Sydney Bell” His voice shook as he spoke and I knew he was crying. I couldn’t blame him though I was crying too.
“I’m happy to see you too”. The nurse came in and introduced herself. She was nice too. I was starting to pick up on the fact that everyone who worked there was very nice, or at least had to be. My dad told me that his roommate would be coming back to their room soon, he said his roommate was nice but he wanted some time alone with us. He took us outside to a small sitting area out back. At the time my dad still had a really bad smoking habit, so he took out a cigarette, placed it in between his lips, and lit it.
“I used to go to the chapel back there but last night a tree fell on it and the whole thing collapsed”. I turned to look down a small path to see a small building, which did in fact have a tree laying across it. “It woke me up at night at like three, I had no idea what it was” My dad laughed. I was glad to see him happy. For the whole time I had been there I didn’t see the smile leave his face. Although I was surprised he went to the chapel, because he was never a very religious person before. I mean he had a religion but he never made an effort to go to church.
I could only stay for thirty minutes. Looking back I would have stayed longer if I could have but I had to get to my mom’s without her knowing I went to visit my dad. He hugged me goodbye and promised he would be out soon. He stayed in Silver Hill for three more weeks. I didn’t get to visit him again, although I wish I did. But things started to look up for my dad after he got out. He started going to meetings every week and he went back to school to get his degree. He is now a drug and alcohol abuse counselor and 1002 days clean. I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of someone in my life.