DEAR ABBY: I'm a 35-year-old woman whose father refuses to get along with me no matter how hard I try. Our relationship was always strained due to the alcoholism he has struggled with since my childhood, made worse by the fact that I became an addict. I've been in recovery for a while, and I'm clean and sober now.
He and my mother took guardianship of my two sons, ages 12 and 7, because my disease rendered me unable to care for them at that time. I have mentioned getting my kids back after I acquire more clean time; neither of my parents wants that. I know Dad resents me deeply, both because he has my kids and also because of my addiction.
If I can forgive him for what his alcoholism has put me through, why can't he forgive me? I don't understand why he has to hate me. Believe me, he hates me! I just want him to treat me the same way he treats my older brother and sister. I need help with this situation. Counseling is not an option; I know he will refuse. -- HURTING IN MICHIGAN
DEAR HURTING: A predisposition to addiction can run in families. I suspect that the person your father hates is himself, and that he saw a lot of himself in you while you were using. That you are now sober is a constant reminder of what a failure he is, which may be why he treats you the way he does.
While counseling for him may be out, it doesn't mean that you couldn't benefit from it. Please consider it. Although it won't make your father love you, it may help you to handle his unpleasantness more effectively. Once you have accumulated more clean time, regaining custody of your children may become a viable option, and something to discuss with a lawyer at that time.