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Readers Respond: How Do You Feel Growing Up With an Alcoholic Parent Has Changed You?

Responses: 605


Updated October 09, 2014

The Drunk Mom

My mother (i really don't like calling her that) likes to get drunk almost everyday. An when she does she gets angry. She always yells at me for little stuff and gets more frustrated when I fight back. Sometimes I wish she would hit me so I have a reason to leave this hellhole. (btw I am 15) I usually keep things bottled up. sadly I resorted to self-harm and she asks me if I do and I say no. Because she is they reason why... I won't do anything and I get yelled at and cursed at and threatened. An she always uses the same excuse. "If I was you my mother would have slapped me by now." She doesn't get that she doesn't have to be like her mom, she can be kinder and nice. but she doesn't change. it got worse when my parents divorced when I was 7. All the anger from that was put on me and it's not right to do that to your child. It's been happening ever since. I have learned to keep quite till she leaves then ball my eyes out... My boyfriend can't wait for the day he gets me away from here
—Guest Broken Daughter

My father

I am 19 in college and towards the end of dealing with my father. It's sad that he can't stop drinking and everyone tells me to stop trying. But, hes my dad, hes my ride, and I am dependent on him. Just found out this ACoA and it defines what I need. I babysit my father and there is no other term I could use. He is a schizophrenic (diagnosed) who abused me and my mom and sister when we were young. He is a pot head and very very dumb. I dont know how to react, he used to beat me when I was a child and then I reacted by crying. He tried to beat me up last year and I attacked back and he learned he was mostly fat and lost. He later called the cops and I lost 300 dollars for not much. I didnt even hit him in the face, not saying its right just saying he did it a lot when I was a kid and I didnt think of calling the police. I feel terrible, I feel closed and I cant ignore it. I need him for stuff. So its not over. I cant just forget it but soon i will graduate college and leave. Hopefully..
—Guest Andrew


I grew up in a foster home where the foster parent, the mother drank a lot. when she would drink, she would throw bottles, pull guns on her husband, even though it was not loaded she did not know if it was or not. She would torture my poor Foster father especially when he came home from work. I know he hated to come home, because he never knew what he was going to find. I was always scared, because I did not know what was going to happen next. one night she was drunk basically all day, and it was time for me to go to bed, she climbed into bed with me I was only 9. I was too scared to tell the caseworker. when she requested for me to leave the foster home, she told them that I was too hard to handle; she put the blame on me, but what she did not do was tell them that she was an out of control alcoholic.
—Guest Tracie M. Staggers

Not Changed

The title of this article is not congruent with the question being asked. Being "affected" by something is not synonymous with the word, "change". Change is taking place now. The affects of growing up in an alcoholic family are still present. I am working on nullifying those affects. Change did not occur when I was being raised by alcoholics. They drank throughout my childhood; hence, no change. Growing in a dysfunctional family affected me, but it did not change me.
—Guest gfloyd

Hate him for what he did to me

My father was an alcoholic from the age of 17. He lives in the same town as me and I've had his address for years but I won't go see him. Every time I try to visit him and see that he's either drunk, or sick because of the fourty years of drinking that has taken it's toll on his body it makes me sick. I am angry because he's left me with the pain of seeing him deteriorate. He was in no position to ever have children because he couldn't even take care of himself and I hate him for having me.
—Guest Erin

My sister's keeper

I just found this website today, and it couldn't have been at a better time. I didn't grow up with an alcoholic in the house but my 6-year-old sister currently is. It's so sad to see her love her father but not knowing truly how bad he is. I have had my breaking points with her father (my step-father) but last night was really it. He got really drunk and pissed himself, right before that he told me my mother would never do better than him. I'm starting to despise him. And my mom is one of the strongest people I know, but it makes me so mad especially at her because I know she doesn't love or need him, but she puts up with it and I don't get why. My sister wouldn't even miss him if he left. My mom left my dad so why can't she leave my step-dad?
—Guest nicole

Still Dealing With It

My mom became an alcoholic when I was five, it could have been earlier but I can't remember. My childhood was filled with fear. Whether it be PTA meetings in grade school, or going to get dinner, or who she was going to date next. Some childhood memories that stand out to me are when, in fourth grade, I had to drive the car home from the passenger seat after getting fast food, or her peeing the couch during a nap on Christmas Eve. When I was young I would make deals with god every time we would get in the car. Eventually she lost custody and I moved back to my home state to live with my father (an OxyCotin addict) in 4th grade. She eventually followed me and moved, my middle school and high school years were plagued with physical fights between us, unstable drug-addicted boyfriends, and my own self-mutilation and depression. My silver lining came when I left for college, though I entered an unhealthy relationship and resorted to alcohol to pad my emotional distress. Now I am 20.
—Guest Alice

Trying to find my way...

I am 52 and I feel like or actually I do not know who I am. growing up was an unsure, chaotic, little house of horrors. from those experiences I am not really sure of what or who I am. I have been the caretaker of small children and grown messed up parents and whomever they brought into our lives. I feel like if I met you and you happen to be an addictive personality type person, well then if I put my all total being into helping you and loving you and being there for you through thick and thin, then I can save you. And when I find I can[t love you enough to stop the behavior, then I have failed. so my self esteem is no where to be found. I had such high expectations of what a real family should act like, I fell so short in my eyes, once again my self esteem goes down even further. Being told you are not good enough or smart enough does it again. I don't feel as if I ever will have a healthy attitude about myself. I will take care of others, but never myself, I am tired and sad . Crying.

I am growing up with it.

My father is a drunk. He and my mother got a divorce in 2010. He has called me fat, weak, a wimp, etc. I'm 14, and this has all greatly affected me. I think to myself how blind I was about this fact when I was younger, and as I look back, I can now see the truth. I thought he was being silly when he actually was drunk. He ruined my best friends family Fourth of July party, by getting angry at some fireworks, and firing them at things and driving over other fireworks. He usually gets angry and cries about the divorce when he is drunk. But my mother divorced him because he needed help. He now will try to turn to my sister to get info on my mothers current relationship. He may take the fact that my mother takes us away when he is drunk, and tell it to court. My mother is trying to get an important job now, and our my mother and I and my sister will be forced to move because we won't be able to afford our home. I am feeling scared and sad. I wish my father could quit drinking.
—Guest David


I grew up with an alcoholic father. I am 24 years old now and have been attending Al Anon meetings for almost a year now. My father no longer drinks; however, the behavior is still very much active in my dysfunctional family. I never knew my family was dysfunctional until I reached my twenties. I only remember bad memories from my childhood. About how dad wouldn't come home from the bar until I was in bed. I would cry myself to sleep because I could hear my mom calling him at the bar telling him to come home and crying. I hated to hear her crying and to see her in pain. I remember spending a lot of nights playing outside or in my room by myself. It was hard for me to make friends and once I did, I felt like I could never let them go because for the first time, I finally felt loved. I hated my self for so long, took care of others but now I am taking care of me and starting to love myself by accepting God in my life and by forgiving myself and my parents.
—Guest Erica

Alcoholic Mother

Growing up with an alcoholic has affected me in many ways, good and bad. I am now 36 years old and my mother passed away 15 years ago, but the effects will be ever-lasting. I have trouble trusting intimate partners, I choose partners who are not emotionally available, who drink too much or abuse other drugs and I am extremely critical of myself. On the flip side, I decided long ago that I was not going to become addicted to any substances and I have kept that promise to myself. I have formed some amazing, life-long friendships, I completed a Master's degree and I have a good paying, fulfilling job and career. I am driven, hard working and enthusiastic about everything I choose to be a part of.
—Guest Kirsten

I Hate Who I Am

My alcoholic father and his enabler my mother taught me to hate myself. I have therefore isolated myself from family and deal with nagging shame. I married a workaholic. None of these people cared a lick about me except for what I could do for them. I am 61 years old and am only now realizing why I have felt like a weirdo all my life. I don't know why those two people decided to have children, because it would have been better had they not done so. Once when I was about eight years old, maybe younger, I went to town with my dad. He had to get something from the hardware store I think. Well, on the way home he pulled to the curb opened the car door and walked away. I remember hiding in the space under the dash forever until he returned. He opened the door and yelled at me for being stupid and weird hiding like that. Yep, that pretty much summed up the parenting that raised me. My husband was no better. Now I am finally alone and maybe can garner some peace with myself.
—Guest Judy61

Can't stand alcoholics!

I absolutely hated growing with with an alcoholic parent. My entire side of my mother's family are alcoholics. My mother had been drinking since she was 13 years old and has been drinking for nearly 40 years. I grew up not having a mother who I could depend on or trust. She was incredibly abusive and even attempted to kill me many times. She conveniently forgets all of the abuse I had to endure for 16 years. I am 26 now, and have a daughter of my own. It's incredibly difficult to manage the relationship I have with her. Due to lack of trust and her drug abuse I cannot let her see my daughter. She is incredibly child-like, inappropriate, petty and goes to the bottle for all of her answers. I just keep my distance and let time take its course. Prioritizing my family and seek support for being an ACoA are first. She can live the dream of being a worthless drunk, and I choose to make better choices than to repeat a cycle of dysfunction.
—Guest Nicole

Alcoholic Dad

My dad was an alcoholic from the time he was 20 to the time he was 48. He got married very young and had a lot of kids and felt trapped by everything around him. I guess the alcohol made him feel better, and honestly, from what I can remember, in the beginning he was kind of fun while he was drunk. He would play games with us and tell us funny stories. But after a while things changed, he started being really irritable when he wasn't drinking and when he did drink, he was like a zombie. He lost his job and once my mother stopped giving him money to buy liquor, he turned to crime to get his money. He would get arrested often and my mother would always bail him out. When I was about 14 he turned to crack as well and then my mother got scared because he was so violent and so involved in crime that he would get deported. She moved us all out of the house, and then my father really spiraled out of control. Eventually he ended up in prison for 2 years and finally got his life together.
—Guest anonymous

Ashamed of Alcoholic Father

My dad has been an alcoholic all of my life, but I never figured it out until after he got a DUI when I was 16. That's when everything came out, and so much made sense. It all seemed so normal to me until I realized that it wasn't. I recently found out he sexually abused two of my younger sisters, and I feel very guilty and ashamed. I feel guilty that I had no idea it was ever going on, and ashamed that he did that to them, all the while preaching to to his seven children that you should not control how many children you have, that God will provide everything you need, that you will go to hell if you have sex before marriage or if you live in sin, basically that anything sexual is a sin....and yet he sexually abused my sisters. He has since been kicked out of the house and lives in a half-way house. I keep it a secret that he lives here, very few people know, including my in-laws. I am so embarrassed and ashamed of him and the person that he has been all along.
—Guest Anon
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