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I’m the child of an alcoholic. Ask me anything.

45 replies

marryoneorbecomeone · 08/07/2018 16:45

I’m also in recovery.

OP posts:

Oly5 · 09/07/2018 22:15

Milkys, yes you’re doing the right thing. Sounds like it will only get worse. Does he even acknowledge he has a problem?
Tell your kids they can see his dad but he’s not coming back.
Well done you for protecting them.


Marryoneorbecomeone · 09/07/2018 22:16

Milkysmum yes absolutely you're doing the right thing. And not just for you and the kids, what you're doing is giving a consequence to his behaviour, and that's a kindness. Sadly anything less will be reframed as tacit approval I suspect. It also doesn't mean it's totally over. People can and do recover.

OP posts:

Marryoneorbecomeone · 09/07/2018 22:23

What is your relationship now with your father? It's ok actually. For a long time I had to fight hard to put boundaries in place - for example I loved abroad and he would call me at work in my office when he was shitfaced drunk (different timezone) and ramble and wail down the phone at me. It was terribly upsetting and I couldn't do anything about it and then he wouldn't even remember doing it. Now I will not be in his company at all if he's been drinking.

And with your mother? My mother is a narcissist. So it always struck me that she was far more bothered about keeping up appearances than she was about the effects of seeing my dad in some terrible states. And also to be fair to her, her dad was a drinker so none of it seemed too odd to her. (See my user name?)

If you are angry with them are you angrier with your dad for being the alcoholic, or your mum for not removing you from the situation? I'm angry with my mother for all sorts of reasons but I'm not sure this is that high on the list surprisingly. I think if she had let him years ago then he would have gone on a giant bender and then got his shit together. I think that one of the reasons he drinks is to put up with her, and it's something they have in common so it's the glue that keeps them together. She expects him, even now to "just have a couple." Total abstinence is for the likes of people who need a new liver, in her mind.

OP posts:

LetticeFortescue · 09/07/2018 22:27

Thank you MarryOne


thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter · 09/07/2018 22:41

Jesus, you writing stories like that and getting told off is so sad 😞

Massive respect that you’ve faced your demons Flowers . From the sounds of it I think we both grew up with similar families. From a young age I thought it was totally normal to see relatives lying in their own piss and knowing how to put someone into a recovery position to prevent choking on vomit and that shit loads of black coffee should be proffered and the shouting etc should be ignored. These are all people who were ‘functioning’ but it was so fucked up and I do feel angry sometimes that my non alcoholic parent didn’t do anything to shield me from it but again it’s hard when you love them and they were all suffering in one way or another.

Thanks to those who have had similar childhoods.


Marryoneorbecomeone · 09/07/2018 22:53

Thatwouldbe, I'm guessing from your username we are from similar cultures...

Alcohol alters your judgement, as we all know. But as a parent, it leads to huge inconsistencies. I remember being 15 and expected to close the last shift in the restaurant and settle up, and go to school the following day and wasn't that grand because I was such a grown up - the parents were out at a tasting/free pissup. And yet I was expected at 19 to be in the house for 11pm or hell would break lose, and what sort of person would be out this late etc etc, when actually they'd sold the restaurant and were relatively sober for a while. Utterly inconsistent. I had no idea where the boundaries lay. None. I was allowed to drink from a crazy early age and yet wasn't allowed out without their say so.

I got grounded for a MONTH one Christmas when I was home from college because I was half an hour late and couldn't get a taxi, and I was with my aunt and her friend, and yet was expected to do a 12 hour shift over New Year in their mate's restaurant. It was madness. And what a surprise, it left me feeling wrong footed in lots of other relationships too. I never knew what was coming.And I never really knew what was normal. I don't want that for my children.

OP posts:

Marryoneorbecomeone · 09/07/2018 22:58

Just thinking more about the neglect side, actually, in today's society there would have been loads of red flags. But nothing was picked up on.

We were always late for school, but more upsetting was they were very very often late to pick me up. This was back in the 80s when you just walked out of school at the end, so I would sit by the railings and just wait. My form teacher even walked past me to get his bus and asked me why I was there, but nothing was done, it wasn't seen as an issue. Then I'd be picked up about 3, and often the lunch service would have run over, there'd be a few boozy business types in there, chatting, and invariably my parents would hvae a drink with them. It wasn't every day but it was often enough for me to remember it.

OP posts:

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter · 09/07/2018 23:06

I'm guessing from your username we are from similar cultures...

Ha, yes I think so - without outing myself my family were in the catering trade as well. And yes to the inconsistencies!


SecretSquirreller · 10/07/2018 13:59

Thank you for answering my questions. Really good to get an insight as to what it was like for you as a child of an alcoholic. I am married to a 'functional' alcoholic. Our marriage is on the rocks due to his drinking and the way he treats me. He is just starting a programme and is going to AA. He wants me to give us a chance to see if we can repair our relationship after he is sober. We have as 6yo daughter who I do not want growing up in this household the way it is now. Will he stay sober? (I know you can't really answer this)
Why is it said children of alcoholics marry one or become one? How can I stop this happening to my DD?


Marryoneorbecomeone · 10/07/2018 16:02

Secretsquirreller if he does the 12 steps and gets a sponsor then there’s a good chance he will.

But, there will be a function that alcohol serves for him, and you may find that the person he is when he finds sobriety is completely different. It alters your life, how you socialise, your idea of self. A lot of marriages break down AFTER the drinker finds sobriety, which is no ones fault.

OP posts:

Marryoneorbecomeone · 10/07/2018 16:06

The children of alcoholics either marry one or become one because alcohol and disordered drinking is normalised. By removing that from her life then she has a better chance of making normal decisions.

OP posts:

MakeMineATwin2 · 10/07/2018 16:16

Hi op my father was an alcoholic too. I used to feel sad for him but since I've become a parent myself I can't help but think how selfish he was.

Was you embarrassed to tell your friends your dad was an alcoholic when you were younger ?


NeonK · 10/07/2018 16:18

"The children of alcoholics either become one or marry one" (sorry, don't know how to quote on app).

May be largely true but a sweeping generalisation. I'm the child of an alcoholic lone parent and neither became nor married one. Nor am I teetotal.

Wishing you well in your recovery


Marryoneorbecomeone · 10/07/2018 17:21

Makemineatwin2 I was often embarrassed, but at the time I didn’t necessarily put it down to his drinking. I just thought he was being a dickhead, which he was, but I think he would have been far less dickish if he’d been sober.

I think what was most painful was that he couldn’t own how awful he had been, and how inconsistent and confusing. He’d promise the earth when drunk and then backtrack when he’d sobered up. As a child I just came to think that most people couldn’t be trusted to be reliable.

He would also use me as an emotional dumping ground, again he would have no recollection of telling me things I shouldn’t have known, like how long it’d been since he’d had sex with my mum, and how a lot of things were my fault, which actually had nothing to do with me at all.

My mum did the same though, and would tell me what a bastard he was, how mean and unfair, how much she was embarrassed of him. That used to upset me terribly, because, well, he wa still my dad and I didn’t want to hear from her what a twat he had been, just because she felt like venting her spleen.

My friends knew, but were as powerless as me.

OP posts:

Marryoneorbecomeone · 10/07/2018 17:22

NeonK I’m v pleased to hear you’re not a part of the generalisation. I still think it’s useful though as a way of understanding why generation after generation of families may have issues with drink when others simply don’t.

OP posts:

Tara336 · 10/07/2018 19:31

My brother is an alcoholic I have had to go NC as I just can’t cope with his lies and behaviour anymore. I deeply worry about my niece (who I do see) who is now 13. I just don’t know what to say to her about his drinking (his behaviour towards her is awful at times) she hides things as she knows we all get angry when we hear what he’s done next. How can I help her?


Marryoneorbecomeone · 10/07/2018 20:42

Tara, one of the biggest problems is the secrecy around alcoholism, so I’d be minded to explain to her how it is, that he’s her dad and he loves her but he also has an addiction. Name the elephant in the room. Alanon ans Alcoa are two organisations that might be able to help. You’re in a difficult position because even though she might sound off to you, the second you criticise him she will back him.

I feel for you, keep your own boundaries safe so that she knows she has somewhere to go and a sounding board to make sense of what she’s going through. Do you feel you need to speak to social services?

OP posts:

SecretSquirreller · 10/07/2018 22:57

Thanks again Marryone and NeonK.
Is it true that there is a genetic disposition to addiction / alcoholism? I'm worried for my DD!


Marryoneorbecomeone · 10/07/2018 23:24

I don’t know if there’s a genetic predisposition as such. There might be. What I do know is that alcohol affects me in a weird way in so far as one glass is too many and one bottle isn’t enough. It sets off a terrific craving.
I also really like cheese, but I’ve never had a problem with my cheese consumption, never scoffed an entire Edam, never mineswept other people’s brie. It’s like an allergy somehow, a reaction.

Whether that’s a genetic thing, I don’t know. The fact you’re able to identify problem drinking and are modelling something different, stands her in very good stead I reckon. X

OP posts:

SecretSquirreller · 11/07/2018 05:49

Thank you, loving the cheese comparison Grin

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