Dale My worst nightmare turned into my best friend

My alcoholic and drug-addicted stepfather

My stepfather Dale came into my life when I was around 3 years old. I hated him, he was the worst thing that could have happened at that moment, but to my mother Dale was everything. He was intruding on my life, my mother and on our relationship. Dale was 13 years older than my mother and far more experienced in the world, he had a dangerous lifestyle that we would soon be no stranger to. He already had 2 ex-wives and 3 daughters. Not only was this man who was not my father coming into my life but he was bringing ALL his baggage with him.

Dale was raised by his grandmother who had 14 kids. His father was a very violent man, the last time he saw his mother he was 10 years old when his father tried to kill her in front of him. His family was extremely religious and involved in the church, most were pastors. He hated the church, he was not keen on organized religion and tongue talking scared the shit out of him. He left home when he was 15 and began experimenting with drugs, but still had to be smart enough to survive. This was not easy for him, as he was not educated and could not read. Dale had a criminal rap sheet that needed its own file cabinet at the local courthouse, and it did not stop there.

Dale was a hiker, camper, adventurist, business owner, alcoholic, drug dealer and of course a drug addict. Looking back I am shocked that he was so functional with all of the illegal extracurricular activities he took part in. Dale made no excuse for drinking and doing drugs, it was simply a choice he made and he enjoyed. Reasoning and apologies would come after he drank or did drugs. He had a fierce temper that you never wanted to be on the receiving end of, but my mother happened to be on that receiving end very often.

Dale met his match when it came to me. I would never back down, bite my tongue or let my feeling go unknown to him and anyone around. Every chance I had I reminded him that he was not my father and I was not afraid of him the way my mother was. This led to him and I having a number of physical altercations along the way. During some of these altercations, I soon realized my mother priorities simply by watching her actions.

As I got older, people would say how much he and I were alike. Two smart asses with a bad temper. People did not believe that he was not my real father. We were the only two people who could calm each other down (if we weren’t fighting with each other) and the only two that could count on each other no matter what. We developed a level of respect and honesty over a 14-year span. Dale would always tell it to me straight and never sugar coated my questions. He became the most stable and dependable person in my life, he became my best friend.

Dale always made sure that I did my homework, that I knew how important school was. He would make me climb under the car and do oil changes, watch him for hours changing transmissions, engines, replacing radiators and gaskets, all so that I never had to “depend” on a man. He made sure that I knew he would be there no matter what the situation was or what time. I could go to him about anything. This was way more than I had from my biological father and he was more present then my mother.

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