Edited to add: When I say "an addiction," I mean other than tobacco.
I am ...
For a significant portion of my childhood, my father was ...
Married to or living with my mother
Not married to or living with my mother
Other, which I might or might not comment on below
For a significant portion of my childhood, my father ...
Had an addiction that was not satisfactorily treated
Had a mental illness that was not satisfactorily treated
Was completely absent from my life
Was abusive to me or others in my family
My father was ...
A great dad
A pretty good dad
A so-so dad
A nonentity as a dad
Absent or dead
I was talking to the mother of one of the kidlet's friends -- someone I feel a sort of unexplored kinship to, the way you do with some people for reasons you can't quite explain -- and she mentioned that her father had been suffering from untreated bipolar disorder throughout her childhood.
I haven't really explored this pattern in a while, but when I was in college, I counted up all the people that I felt closest to, and all of them, growing up, had had fathers who were either dead, addicted to something, mentally ill, or absent in a really profound way, far beyond what was becoming normal with divorce.
My father is still alive, still married to my mother, and quite a lot like me. He was about as active as fathers were in those days; he's a pretty good dad. So it isn't that I'm seeking out people whose experiences are like mine.
I said to my college roommate, "I wonder why I'm choosing all these radically fatherless people," and she said, "Maybe we're choosing you."
So I'm wondering what the pattern might be in this community.