As a kid I viewed my dad as a superhero, desperately seeking his approval. Unreasonably or unfairly glorifying others is a common theme or weakness of mine. My father is a great man whom I adore, when I OD’d bad in 2014 he didn’t leave my side while I was comatose, but he and I are two vastly different people. Only now do I realize how inherently detrimental Idolizing a parent as a superhero was to our relationship. Detrimental because it allows no room for growth. You minimalize the shortcomings of the individual while exaggerating their desirable traits. I wish I had spent more time letting my dad just be my dad. I wish he’d spent more time talking to me. We often times have had a contentious relationship. Out of genuine misunderstanding, frustration from confusion more than a fundamental disagreement. It seems paradoxical to say but being able to recognize our differences has allowed me to better extenuate and develop our similarities. My dad doesn’t talk much about what growing up for him was like. I hope to talk with him more about life from his perspective when he’s comfortable with the discussion when I find the words to direct such dialogue.
What I do know is my grandfather, Grandpa Nick, was an alcoholic. There were four first gen Kastros boys: Coz, Nick, John, and Pete. Pete was killed in a car accident, driving drunk (the sole reason my Dad is named Pete not Nick, legend has it this pissed off folks entrenched in the old tradition of the family) Nick and John were both lifelong alcoholics and dead. Coz, still spry at age 92 the time at which I’m writing this, was the eldest. Strangely enough, he’s the only brother alive. Uncoincidentally he was the only brother to not drink himself into oblivion. You couldn’t argue against addiction being engrained in the Kastros DNA. While my dad had the commendable willpower to not let it overtake him internally the theme of addiction has haunted him all his life. A piece of advice to anyone who knows one of their parents grew up with an alcoholic or addict parent. Do yourself a favor and research. Familiarize yourself with their tendencies and insecurities. I can all but guarantee you’ll find at least one nugget on the perspective beneficial.