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

Responses: 580


Updated September 22, 2012

I'm beginning to understand my choices

My father was a Bible thumping alcoholic who targeted me with criticism and condemnation, and heaped praises on my sister. This still goes on. I have lately finally accepted that this will never end. It is difficult for me to think I am a decent person. I got all of dad's traits and drank alcoholically until I was 38, and found AA and stopped. I tried marriage, but was drinking, so part of the failure was mine. During my marriage I was unfaithful, and eventually chose women over men. I am now 52, and that choice has run its course. I know my father's example as a husband to my mother, and his dominance over me, pushed me into that choice of lifestyle for a number of years. I only went to AA for two years, and now I guess I am just a dry drunk. I isolate and am afraid of meeting people, thoough I want to very much. Don't know why I am even answering this, or posting a reply. I don't have any answers and feel very despondent in life, despite being very responsible.
—Guest Karen

It's so embarrassing

When I was a baby my dad started to drink I'm 11 now and he still drinks. He starts off one glass of whiskey to the third bottle. Once in awhile he throws up on the grass, it's so embarrassing. He always makes fun of me and if I'm hurt and crying he just laughs. I live with my mom my sister and my dad. I want my parents to get a divorce. I know that's not normal but its so hard growing up in the house where my dad drinks and makes fun of me. I'm afraid I'm going to grow up like him, although I promised myself I will never drink. I'm still afraid.
—Guest Imhurt

My dad...

My dad never drank at home. He always went "out" and before he'd leave he'd start a fight with my mom to "right" himself. I remember laying in bed and hearing the doorbell ring multiple times. My mom had locked the storm door and put the chain lock on. He banged on the door and she yelled at him through the door. I cried as I listened and asked God to please tell mommy to let daddy in the house. A lot for a 6 yr.old to endure.
—Guest s.ann.s

To: Traverette

Dear Traverette, You've been through a lot. I can understand some of your pain because I've been there. I don't know what happened when you were 10 but someone will believe you. Seek out help. Talk to a counslor or clergy. Someone cares and is interested in what happens to you and has happened to you. You're correct in avoiding your family too. Think about yourself and forget what your family thinks. Where were they when you needed them? God loves you too and he cares about you.
—Guest Rick

I can't believe I survived!

Looking back, I am lucky to be alive. My dad was drunk on the night I was born and had to be removed from the hospital. Mom lived in a fantasy world. We were not allowed to talk about what dad did at night. He would often drive fast and drunk. We would end up at the police station in a small town. Teachers often told me I wouldn't amount to anything but the town drunk like my father. I had work at the age of 15 because my father lost his driver's license and mom would dump us off to go to a Motel. We had to cook and clean since the age of five. Super responsible am I; while my brother did not fair so well (super irresponsible). I have a hard time trusting anyone. I can't tell what happen when I turned ten, no one would believe me. I am now 48, my parents still try to control my life with quilt trips. I finally have had enough with covering up for their actions. Family members are in shock that I refuse to have a relationship with them anyone.
—Guest traverette

Finally get it off my chest

My mother was an alcoholic/addict, never cared if I came home, I was embarrassed to bring friends home let alone a boyfriend. I would always daydream what it was like to live in a normal household where there was dinner made every night and your mother asked how your day was at school. I spent so much energy on working to cover up what was wrong at home, trying to act like I was overly happy because everything was great in my life. Truth is I was terrified some one was going to call DCF on my family. I had two little sisters I had to take care of. If it was just me I'd had called them myself to take me away. She was not a nurturing mother in fact I'm ashamed of some of the things she put me through, I hate her for that. I'm 26 now and have a hard time showing my feelings in a relationship, I can't let people in I'm so scared to let my guard down. I'm afraid to love because I'm so afraid of being disappointed again. I'll never even tell anyone I wrote this because I don't talk about my "real" feelings.
—Guest im ready for help


I'm 19 and completely consumed by my mother's alcoholism. Three years ago my auntie died having heavily drunk her whole life. I live in constant fear that my mum will shortly follow. She's unaware that I know where she hides her alcohol so I'm able to monitor it despite her secrecy. She can easily finish a liter bottle of vodka plus a bottle of wine a day, and she does so every day of the week. I've twice been unable to move from home and continue with my life without her. Whilst all my friends have moved away I remain at home due to anxiety and fear. I feel a responsibility to keep an eye on her. But it's ruined all the hopes and dreams I once had for my own future. I refuse to simply turn my back on her. She's my mum, I'll always love her no matter what. Yet I know being around her is completely destroying me. I don't think anyone other than those also affected by an alcoholic mother can ever understand how difficult it is to deal with the pain of such unrequited love
—Guest Ali

Parenting my parents

I was a parent to both dysfunctional parents. I used to sing: Cinderella, Cinderella, How come you don't have a fella? Cause you're always in the kitchen With your mom screaming and bitchin' No kidding. No childhood. Went on to become a caring mother of 3 sons.


I'm 38 years old and recently found out about ACOA. I have been diagnosed with bi-polar, PTSD, and now ACOA, oh yeah psychosis too. I have always felt broken and unfixable, more like not worth fixing. My childhood was horrendous even before I was born. My father was an angry drunk and drank at least 2 pints of whiskey a day. While my mother was 7 months pregnant with me, my father shot her in the mouth. Well, luckily we lived, if you call that lucky, to grow in in a living Hell full of every kind of abuse and hate. I never heard 'love you' until I asked my mom when I was 14 standing next to the sink. My first thoughts of suicide began in 3rd or 4th grade and still remain. My mother always blamed the fights, beatings, holes in the walls, sleeping outside in the doghouse as being my fault. If I had only this or that, Daddy wouldn't have. I feel numb, lost, scattered, short-changed, angry, disappointed. I cannot say that I have truly been content or happy.

Not alone

This site is a good site. It's beneficial to read the posts and know that you're not alone. Sometime I wondered before I found this site. I'll be praying for you.
—Guest Rick

ACOA and didn't know it

I didn't realize how my father's drinking has affected my life. I was trying to understand why I want out of my marriage. I've had the feeling for years but would never confront it. The past 6 months have been the worst. I went to a social worker to find out why after 20 years, I need to leave. She gave me Dr. Jan's book. Wow! I couldn't stop reading it. That was my life in that book. Intimacy was never a strength in my marriage. I have friends but no one who is close. I'm beginning to understand. I need to share this with my siblings.
—Guest Confused

Can't forgive

My mum has been an alcoholic since I was born so I have known no different, we got taken from her when I was 5 and lived with grandparents. I'm the youngest of three and they remember her nice non-drunk mum and in a way I resent them for it. People say that I have to forgive but I can't. She blames me for her being like that and so do I. no matter what people say, I cant help but think that if she didn't have me then she would not have turned to drink and my two siblings could have had a normal life. I feel so guilty, and angry and sad all in one. My mam hates me, she always has, she just doesn't care anymore. I wish I had seen her before she drank, so I could have happy memories. It has made me aware of drinking, and I don't drink. But I think it's made me such a closed shy person. My siblings all have their own lives now, and we have never been a "hugging" type of family, but I wish I had someone just to hug and for them to tell me it's ok, but i don't. I don't know what to do, I feel so stuck.
—Guest louise

Eyes Open

I am so full of guilt and shame. After reading these articles I can't stand myself for not breaking the cycle. I am ACOA and alcoholic myself. I have been in quite a few detoxes, rehabs, AA, mental institutions to be evaluated, hospitals in shackles or for severe dehydration. I also have Hep C and all my children know I have been killing myself and it has been killing them. I have drank away my childhood for far too long (which was in a violent drunken home with sexual and physical abuse) . Totally denying what I have done to my children. They say it's never too late, but I feel like they will never be able to forgive me, and I can't blame them. The damage is done. I was planning to quit on the 1st of this month (Saturday) and ended up on a weekend binge. Bad! Hurt both my daughters hearts again! Thank God for leading me to these posts today. Today is my first day sober 10-3-2011. If I have to come back and read these posts daily, I will. Thank you all and may God forgive me and guide me.
—Guest KoKoSol

What helps me

It took me until I was in my 60s to recognize the damage the alcoholism in my family had done to my thinking. Through exposure to training as a counselor I learned about Al-Anon and that fellowship has brought about healthy healing and comfort to me. It focuses on the 12 steps as they apply to many of life's problems, especially those over which we are powerless.
—Guest jeanne

It started when I was 10

I'm a totally different person. It ruined my life, her drinking. It started when I was 10 years old. My parents were going through a divorce and it was a really hard time for all of us. It started with one beer a night to "unwind." But then it was two, three, four, and eventually the whole pack. Every night I had to deal with her drinking. Weather it was beer, whine, whiskey, and heck even vodka! I hated my life, I hated her, and I hated myself. The best decision I ever made was going to live with my dad. I would never let this effect my kids and hurt them the same way my mom hurt me. Never will I ever forgive her for what she did to me.
—Guest sayno2alcohol

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

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