“My father is an addict.
He has, in the past, lied, cheated and stolen from people in order to get his fix. Yet, if I ever made a comment, people would tell me to have sabr (patience) — ‘he’s your father.’
He would force me and my siblings to give him large sums of money, especially when we got our college grants. Once he told me that if I told my mother about the money I’d given him — they would get divorced and it would be on my head. My father still blames me to this day for their divorce.
I became consumed by the belief that what my father had said was true. I felt worthless, and even contemplated ending my life so as not to be a burden to those around me.
When I found out about his addiction I researched anonymous support groups and would accompany him each week. In hindsight, these trips were more likely to placate me than to demonstrate any resolve he had to change.
He would refuse my offers to buy him food or clean his apartment, and would tell me he wasn’t happy with me so I would never even smell Paradise.
I had a nervous breakdown and started having panic attacks. I became consumed by the belief that what my father had said was true. I felt worthless, and even contemplated ending my life so as not to be a burden to those around me.
Even now, the only time I really hear from him is if he wants money.
I gave birth and he didn’t even come and visit us in hospital. He called me up months later, saying he wanted to meet his first grandchild. He then asked me to ‘lend’ him some money. When I refused, he said he didn’t want to see us.
After years of this, I came to realize that I don’t need to be a constant physical presence in my father’s life to fulfill my duty to him as a Muslim daughter. I know now that my du’a (supplication) is the most significant and beneficial tool I have to help him.
The process is ongoing but I’m getting there — slowly with Allah’s (SWT) help.”