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Adult Children of Alcoholic Parents

(124 Posts)
hogmanure Fri 28-Dec-12 14:01:14

I had an alcoholic mother who steadily drank herself into oblivion over 30 years. I did not suffer any abuse and actually had a very happy early childhood provided by my very forward thinking generous parents who also provided me with a good education and nice home.
Thing started to become difficult in my preteen and teenage years with lots of secret drinking by my mother going on with bottles hidden around the house, daytime naps and lots of drinks parties. My mum didn't have any particular mental health issues but just drank to excess and carried on. and on. and on.
No one spoke about it. No one went to the GP about it.
Later on when I was in my 20s she drank more and more losing her memory and her health. I tackled her about it several times and she said she would try to stop, but wouldn't go to the GP or detox or go to counselling.
As we were all wondering if she had cancer and what to do my father collapsed and had a cardiac arrest at home while my mum was busy drinking in the utility room.
Passers by tried to revive him and called an ambulance but he could not be resuscitated and died at the hospital that day.
Following this my mum went on a huge grief driven binge and had to be hospitalised although she kept self discharging or refused to let people in the house and eventually she was put under section for treatment... sadly although she survived she had extensive brain damage by now due to the alcohol and has never recovered.

This is just my story. Everyone with an alcoholic parent will have their own story and history, but some things we may all have in common.
There are difficulties that Adult children tend to have... not necessarily all of the ones described by NACOA. In my case I mainly lack social confidence and feel empty and lonely sometimes. However I think therapy might help me and I intend to look into this
I'd like to hear from anyone in a similar position so we can have a space to express ourselves.
There are particular issues many children of alcoholics face ... the deceit, the lies, the knowledge something isn't right, the selfishness of addiction, the choice of alcohol over loved ones and children, the grandiose gestures and false laughter, the smell of alcohol in the morning, the dirty dishes, the stubborn insistence of drinking despite everything, the safety / fire issues, the lack of security, the haphazard driving, the shame, the inability to put something right that can't be fixed as it is a choice and coming to terms with that.

[I would prefer it if those ACOA who are themselves addicted do not join this thread as I have too much anger inside me to tolerate and help alcoholics [sorry]]

goodenuffmum Tue 01-Jan-13 23:11:21

RedRosie I am so Happy jealous that your dad took the opportunity to apologise. I once tried to tell my parents how bad my childhood had stated he couldn't remember anything (his drinking brought on life threatening stokes) and mum called me a liar, a bitch and jealous of her great life. I gave up sad

I'm working through a lot of their legacy...the one thing I don't think I'll get over is the sadness I feel when I see mums and daughters out together laughing and having a great time.

hogmanyay Tue 01-Jan-13 23:21:23

I agree, but It feels bloody brilliant to do that with my own daughter as I did this week when she was home from uni.. We had a great time a meal out and boyfriend / putting world to rights chat.

Also, I went to visit her in uni two months ago, she was so worried about me getting to my hotel and back home ( no need ) but I have never had that feeling of being worried about, it warmed the cockles of my heart.
The cycle can be broken.

ilovewoody Tue 01-Jan-13 23:28:36

I survived the night. F was drunk and did try to pick a fight but I didn't rise to it and don't feel as wound up as I usually would after spending time with him.

As to the whole disease/ lifestyle choice debate..... I definetly believe in a genetic predisposition. My paternal grandfather and my dads 2 brothers and 2 sisters were all alcoholics. But there is definetly a choice to be made about whether to give in to it or battle against it. I read the Brave Babes thread on here for a different perspective and that thread exists because of people who want to do something about their behaviour and the impact they are having on their families. I greatly admire that.......admitting you have a problem and trying to do something about it is to be commended.

However, it seems that many of us here have been the victims of those who have little desire to change

We are allowed to be angry but we cannot let it define our lives

hogmanyay Tue 01-Jan-13 23:47:11

Glad it went ok ilovewoody

We all make mistakes and can suffer problems, and should have adequate medical and psychological support.

I am beyond the worry and largely beyond the anger, but I don't have much sympathy for long term addicts I admit. Going thru what I have has diminished my pool of hope and sympathy.

Now my interest lies in assertiveness training increasing social confidence and talking thru why I feel less positive and less empathetic than I did. When lots of bad things happen, you eventually lose your idealism and happy outlook. I want to refind my inner child.

AlmostHadItAll Tue 01-Jan-13 23:55:13

My dad was an alcoholic. He died young when I was only 21. His death certificate said "chronic alcoholism"

singalong your post is me ((hugs to you)) I'm quiet. Very rarely speak up for myself. I've gone on to have a good career and have a lovely DH and 2 children. But my marriage has gone through difficult times because of my inability to show emotion. Throughout my whole childhood I was never able to show sadness because I was being strong for my mum.

In the middle of the most awful screaming matchs between my mum and dad, my dad would shout upstairs for me to come down because 'I understood him' Baring in mind that I was 8 years old, it was 1am and I had school the next day! I used to sit on the sofa shivering with tiredness and listen to them shout at each other some more.

I have a fairly good relationship with my mum. But I've never gone to her for advice. She's never been a shoulder to cry on. I think because of all that I saw and heard as a child, I thought she was weak. I was the strong one. I've never needed anyone. My DH was the first person who allowed me to cry and tell the whole story. He cried when I told him too.

The things I saw, heard. No child should have to go through that. It's sad. I have extremely high expectations regarding my parenting. If DH as much as raises his voice to me in front of the kids, I have to walk away. He knows why. I avoid confrontations of any kind.

It's why I don't have the close relationship with my mum. How could she have stayed in such a destructive relationship? Where was her pride? How could she have done that to me? I would never, ever, ever, let my children go through what I did sad

hogmanyay Wed 02-Jan-13 00:03:31

I am so glad you have a lovely dh , imagine someone crying for you that is wonderful.

AlmostHadItAll Wed 02-Jan-13 00:07:16

I know hogmanyay we both bawled our eyes out then kissed smile I met DH the year my dad died. At the time I thought it was my dad doing one good deed for me. Sending me a 'good guy'

ChristmasNamechangeBridezilla Wed 02-Jan-13 00:13:52

JuliaScurr What you described is how I've felt for so much of my life.

Both my parents are alcoholics, my father slightly less so and more functioning than my mother who walked out on us and completely lost it for several years. She is married again now to a man who also has alcohol problems and while she holds down a job and doesn't drink every day anymore (due to him having sclerosis of the liver), when they do drink, they fight horribly as my mum and dad used to. She will often ring me and become abusive at any perceived slight just because she is drunk but when sober she is a lovely, very sensitive person.

My father was violent and abusive in drink, not to me but to my mother and he cheated on her a lot. They were constantly breaking up and getting back together although my dad has been married to someone else for several years and is better but still a conplete pain in the neck when he has had a drink. he has a sharp tongue which scares me to this day.

My homelife was actually very difficult at times but I don't seem to remember that side of it, perhaps I have detatched/blocked it out a little and I hate this "blame your problems on your parents" school of thought so I never really visit it of think about it a lot but I am a very unconfident person in a lot of ways.

I struggle with the enormities of my responsibilities (parenthood, job, mortgage etc) although I always live up to them, they seem huge to me and I married a man who is a fixer, who is willing and able to step in for me financially and emotionally and who makes it his business to solve all my problems (cheesy I know). Part of me loves this, part of me fights against it to keep an illusion of independence which seems to be important to me. I suffer from anxiety but have nevee really got help for it and spend a lot of time wishing I could be different or better when on the surface of things, I probably look as though I have it all. I don't like myself a lot of the time.

ChristmasNamechangeBridezilla Wed 02-Jan-13 00:19:13

Wow I have gone on about myself for a long time. grin

hogmanyay Wed 02-Jan-13 00:29:12

What an eloquent account Christmas , and well done for making such a success of your life.

I always felt Ihadn't been affected since I have a good career and did well at school etc and was always the good one, but just now am seeing therapy might help me. I always felt I lacked the resilience to cope with some of the bad things later life threw at me... I coped, but it has affected me.

I too cope with my responsibilities but I carry them heavily

I hope this thread will help

Beaverfeaver Wed 02-Jan-13 00:57:13

DF is alcoholic. Has been since before my parents were married over 35 years ago.
His parents were both alcoholics and both died in their early 50's from it, and I never knew them.

I love my DF and feel bad for him.
He is a highly respected and clever man.

I want him to be around to see his GC grow up and for him to be a good influence on them.

His drinking got really bad at one stage by which time I had already moved out, so all I knew of it was the upset phone calls I got from DM.

Unfortunatly my younger siblings still live at home and saw him at his worse and now one won't be I'm the same room as him.

I feel sorry for both of them, as he doesn't deserve that, but sibling shouldn't have had to see what they did.

He now is doing much better since the first GC came along.

hogmanyay Wed 02-Jan-13 01:07:16

I think the younger ones cn be more affected .. Could he seek help or could he leave while he gets it under control.

Beaverfeaver Wed 02-Jan-13 01:10:04

He isn't in the country a lot due to work. When he is back he has taken the trip to the odd AA meeting but hates it.

He is t-total (has been for about 6 months with just a few slip ups)

Younger sibling not at all forgiving

hogmanyay Wed 02-Jan-13 01:14:50

Ah I see, good on him for giving up ( depending on how bad we're the slip ups)
I am not forgiving either and I am the youngest. It's too much to expect to lose a parent, cope with trauma and then have to forgive and be the better person too.

hogmanyay Wed 02-Jan-13 01:16:02

I actually also feel my older siblings never listened and abandoned me too.

GeordieCherry Wed 02-Jan-13 23:09:22

We're off down to the DPs in a couple of weeks. Want to take my DF to a local Al-Anon meeting but no idea how to do that without telling DM. The fallout would be very unpleasant. For him. I know he'd get a lot of benefit though...
Might just go for myself as I'll miss my meeting with being at theirs. See if the mood is right for him to tag along

Hope everyone has peaceful Xmas & NYE stuff smile

hogmanyay Wed 02-Jan-13 23:36:18

Just bought the book Adult children of alcoholics on iPad kindle (smile)

hogmanyay Thu 03-Jan-13 22:52:18

Just deleted half of my 200 Facebook friends.. If I had not heard from them or they hadn't liked anything of mine for 3 months ( and weren't from the past such as school etc ) I have deleted.... It's all about control but in a good way

hogmanyay Fri 04-Jan-13 23:26:25

Sometimes I would like to shut down, get rid of all my possessions and be alone. This isn't practical or possible right but it feels attractive

domesticsloven Tue 05-Feb-13 23:54:36

How are things now hog?

alwaysaclown Thu 28-Feb-13 15:45:26

Hi everyone

Just wanted to say hi. I am so pleased I found this thread. I have been looking for a forum or chat room for al anon or similar but apart from one website that I can't look at on my ipad and another one thats a bit too "let's all thank the lord" for me, there isn't really much out there. Perhaps we should start our own?!

My mother was an alcoholic from when I was 10 years old (when my parents divorced) until 2009 when she 'apparently' gave up after having yet another breakdown & seeing counsellors etc. There were police incidents, I ran away from home, I helped her buy the alcohol, hid it, shouted, stopped contact, you name it, I've been there, as we all have by the sounds of it. Now, i'm approaching 40 & am married with a 3 year old son & what really really makes my blood boil at the moment is when she says to me "I wasn't a bad mother you know" !!!??!!! I am sooooo tempted to remind her of her "great mothering skills" when she got so drunk she ran out of our flat naked screaming at me, an 11 year old, & I ran to a neighbours terrified & the police got called out; or I want to remind her of the time I left school with a friend & we were walking down the local high street as 13 year olds & my mother & her revolting boyfriend were sitting on a bench in broad daylight drinking whiskey out of a bottle - I pretended I didn't know them; and so on & so on. But then I wonder who would really benefit from me reminding her of these incidents. She is obviously in denial.

Look forward to chatting with you all some more.

Take care xxxx

belagh Thu 28-Feb-13 17:21:03

My mother was an alcoholic. Took her years to kill herself but she did, slowly!
I found a draw of bottles... She stayed up all night drinking, then slept most of the day. I cring when I think of how many times she will have driven over the limit. Childhood was ok, although we were kind of left to our own devices and we ate at mad times at night.
Teens were horrible, would get back from being out with friends and she'd be slurring. She had a brain anyeurism (sic) in my early 20 and never recovered, 6 years later she died of cancer. She was in and out of hospital during that time... They had alcohol for her on the ward as it would have been worse to stop it.

I am angry with her still after all these years, she's missed out on so much

TweedSlacks Thu 28-Feb-13 20:15:03

My father was an alcoholic. He drank every day , mon - fri lunch at work in the pub , then in the club after work for an hour or so . we were left in the pub garden for hours , or in the back of the car . Got brought out cokes or crisps every half hour or so . Sat / Sun was pretty much an all dayer

He used to go out of his way to ruin special occaisions like birthdays or christmas. As kids we used to see him fall over alot , into the gutter or into hedges .

The amount of money he must have spent on alcohol must have been huge . We didnt have a car alot of the time either or even a colour tv.

He used to 'borrow' my bothers paper round money to buy beer . Mum constantly put up with him being drunk .I think it has effected my brothers ability to function with other people. Both brothers are permanently single, relatively successful . I think they have only ever had 1 short term relationship each and never mention g/f's.

We all used to walk on eggshells permanently and he used to fly into a rage over something insignificant . Poor Dm put up with him for years till he died , although its impossible to say whether alcohol was a factor in his death.

belagh Sat 02-Mar-13 10:54:13

Does anyone have any experience of al anon?

alwaysaclown Sat 02-Mar-13 11:49:29

hi belagh, i have never been to al anon but i have been advised to go. I'm not sure whether to or not though....where are you based?

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