‘I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.’ So said Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. Whether you agree with Freud or not, a father’s role in a child’s development is profound. He helps to shape his daughter’s or son’s identity, values, interests, self-worth and relationships throughout life.
To celebrate Father’s Day, we want to say a big thank you to dads from all walks of life. Your contribution to the health, happiness and security of your children is so valuable. In this post, we’ll also draw inspiration from famous recovering addicts – men who have experienced the ravages of addiction and lived to tell the tale. What do they say about their fathers and their own experience of fatherhood?
On Father’s Day, Thank You
To all of the loving dads – thank you for supporting and inspiring your kids.
To the working fathers, determined to provide a home – thank you for your commitment.
To the stay-at-home Dads, caring for your babies and toddlers – thank you for your energy.
To the foster fathers and adoptive dads, who are parenting children through trauma – thank you for going the extra mile.
From changing nappies to bottle feeding, teaching your daughter to play the guitar, reading to your son at night, helping out with homework, giving driving lessons, listening and advising, encouraging and reassuring – thank you for being there for the people who need you most.
And to the fathers whose children have long since grown and flown the nest, thank you for continuing to care, celebrating and sharing the ups and downs in life.
Happy Father’s Day.
Famous Recovering Addicts on Fatherhood
Robert Downey Jr: ‘Do I want to be a hero to my son. No.’
Celebrating the birth of his son in 2012, Robert Downey Jr said: ‘Do I want to be a hero to my son? No. I would like to be a very real human being. That’s hard enough. […] Hero to me is not applicable to the human experience.’
He also spoke about the uncertainties that many parents face, as they step up to the responsibilities of the role. ‘Does any new parent, even if not a first-time parent, ever really know what to do? Only thing you have to do, the only requirement, if you can hack it, is to not transfer your own discomfort in the moment to this fresh soul, right?’
Elton John: Fatherhood is ‘funny and inspiring’
Elton John and David Furnish have two sons, Zachary and Elijah. On Elijah’s arrival, Elton John said: ‘The birth of our second son completes our family in a most precious and perfect way. It is difficult to fully express how we are feeling at this time; we are just overwhelmed with happiness and excitement.’
John has often spoken about the joy he finds in the role. ‘I love every minute of fatherhood, staying up all night, changing nappies, kids crying. I find it really funny and inspiring. It connects you to the world in a new way.’
Elton John had a difficult relationship with his own father and mother, something he didn’t want to pass on to his children. ‘I always thought I might be really irritable with kids, but no way. Both my parents had tempers and it frightened the shit out of me. I don’t ever want to display that in front of the children. In the past, particularly when I was on drugs, there was a monstrous side to me, but I’m not really like that.’
Steven Tyler: ‘I didn’t stop [drugs] to the point of hurting my children’
Aerosmith lead singer, Steve Tyler, has known fame, fortune and controversy, admitting that addiction to drugs including cocaine, crystal meth, OxyContin and heroin had many consequences for his family. ‘I have an addictive personality so I found certain drugs I loved and I didn’t stop to the point of hurting my children, hurting my family, hurting my life,’ he said.
Tyler comes from a paternal line of musicians. His father was a classical pianist who played in Carnegie Hall and his grandfather was a cellist. Of his early musical influences, Tyler recalls: ‘There was a grand piano upstairs in the living room. I was put under the piano to fall asleep every night – I heard Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Debussy.’
On discovering a passion for the drums, Tyler said his dad set his on his way. ‘My father bought me a set of drums and I wound up playing drums in this band in the summertime. […] I got the blessings of my mum and dad to do rock n’ roll.’
David Bowie: ‘My son teaches me abundant enthusiasm’
A legend himself, David Bowie had also gone through a stage in life when he had to overcome addiction. ‘I spent well into my 20s doing that […] Taking drugs; being totally and completely and irresponsibly promiscuous…’
Speaking in 1987, David Bowie talked about what he had learned from his son, Duncan Zowie Jones. ‘My son has helped me grow up an incredible amount,’ Bowie said. ‘What he teaches me is abundant enthusiasm for everything that he approaches. It’s great when you’re that age that the world is so big and the horizon is so massive and everything’s possible. It’s a rejuvenating kind of thing.’
A successful film director, Duncan paid tribute to his late father in February 2017, when Bowie was posthumously awarded five Grammys. Tweeting a picture where he’s carrying his father in his arms, Jones said: ‘So proud of you dad! Would hold you up forever.’
Father’s Day in Addiction and Recovery
To all fathers in addiction recovery, keep doing what you’re doing to stay well. Whether you’re a day, a month, a year or more into your recovery, it’s a brilliant achievement. Your recovery is such a powerful gift to your children. Whether you’re feeling great or you’re struggling today – there is always help available, if you need it. From everyone at Addiction Helper, we’re cheering you on.
To addicted dads, and to your sons and daughters too, we hope you all have support and love around you. Father’s Day can be a wonderful, but also a very tough day for the whole family. You might be spending the day together or far apart. You might be on speaking terms or not. Please call Addiction Helper if you want to find out about addiction treatment. In recovery, people’s lives transform and it’s possible to start your life over.