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

Responses: 981


Updated September 22, 2012

Alcoholic dad

I've been dealing with an alcoholic dad my whole life. My earliest childhood memory was this one day when I was 5, my dad woke up and started drinking again. He had my mom make him breakfast and she burned something and he got violent and abusive. My mom ended up tuning out of the house and I remember running after het. She sat there under a tree crying while I was sitting there watching. That's the only kind of childhood memories I have. It burns me inside when I think about them. I'm 25 now and married with a beautiful son but still whenever I'm around my dad my whole demenor changes. I'm in a bad mood, I font feel like doing anything. I thought that getting married and moving out would help me but it hadn't, sometimes I feel like its worse because I'm not there to protect my mom if anything does happen. My life would literally hr perfect if my dad didn't drink. I having loving parents and my dads the best when he's sober!
—Guest jenn

Is it bad I'm relived he's dead?

I had a normal happy childhood till my dad started drinking when I was six. He was a really heavy drinker and at his worst would litraly drink several bottles of straight vodka a day, he used to hide them all round the house. I remember he was never usualy abusive or violent, he just used to lie on the floor vomiting and ranting. I didn't even realize untill I was 7 I thought he was just ill.When hois drinking got worse I began withdrawing from my friends and became super shy and a loner. When I was 8 dad got really angry and smashed the TV ect, mum called the police on him, and he was arrested for the night, then we got a restraining order on him. I always loved my dad and I was devistated when he died, but looking back it's probebly better that he did.. All throughout my dad's drinking my mum did her best to protect us and for that I'm really greatfulll. I'm a bit awkward and weird but I would of been far more dysfunctional without mum's support.
—Guest Han

Still not coping

My mums been an alcoholic for as long as I can remember. My dad and brother rarely drink and I only drink socially but only to the point where i finally feel comfy in my own skin. My mum was always there emotionally and physically and was a great parent despite the drink but it caused huge arguments with my dad who eventually ended up having an affair. They didnt divorce but it made mum worse. Until recently I'd been living on my own in a different country for 13 yrs but came home cuz my dad got a job abroad and mum was alone and I worried about her. Some days are ok but I notice her getting steadily worse and now she's becoming emotionally abusive towards me calling me ungrateful and saying I dont appreciate anything she did for me growing up and still don't. She hates her job and her life and is depressed but won't do anything about it. I want to leave so badly right now but I'm worried she'll get hurt. Luckily my bf is very supportive but he's working abroad atm so I'm all alone.
—Guest Ari


To MG1918, I was deeply moved by your post. The things you experienced as a kid should not have been seen and experienced by an adult. My heart breaks for you. But, I'm happy that you trust is our Lord for strengh. I did not have the expereinces that you endured but they were bad and for many years they haunted me. But, through the help of our Lord I have moved on and have forgiven my parents for their human weaknesses. I will be remembering you and many of my ACoC family in my prayers. There is hope folks. I'm a living breathing example of it.
—Guest Rick

You Feel Flattened

I grew up with three alcoholics in my family. My mother, my brother, and my step-father. I like to blame it all on my step-father, because it wasn't until he arrived that I noticed my mother's drinking. I know now that that's not the case. One doesn't become an alcoholic simply because her spouse refills the wine glass. She picked him precisely because he encouraged her to drink to excess. I'm approaching middle-age now, and I can still feel the hurt from those early years. I spoke to my mother the other day. Even though she has breast cancer, she has started to drink again; her speech was slurred at 1pm. It still has the power to pierce my heart. And I remember, all over again, the defensiveness and the lies that she would tell if I ever confronted her about the drinking. When you grow up with alcoholic parents, you censor, you blame yourself, you feel flattened and frustrated beyond believe. Most of all, you feel hurt and angry.

I still can't handle rejection

I am 60, married for 39 years, seven beautiful children. Full time Mom and artist. I have forgiven my father and mother for abuse and alcohol. What I can't let go is the verbal abuse and manipulation of my late mother-in-law, who was the child of an alcoholic. My spouse, whom she described as, "The perfect child", did not have the ability to stick up for me and she treated me like I was the smudge in his life. In fact, I sense that it was a relief to him that I was the recipient of her negative attention instead of him. What I have not been able to do is forgive him. A good man and father. I am batteling hating both of us. I am tired of years of counselors. Every time that I feel like I am becoming strong again and willing to try to enjoy life, enjoy something, any rejection or manipulation from him and others spirals me into a self loathing full of hate, wishing that I were dead. Feeling like I fail at everything I touch, which is the state that I am in today. Just die!

My life so far.

I'm still a child. As long as I can remember family holidays have been wrecked by my mothers drinking and depression. My dad was and still is abusive towards her. I have older half siblings but they live their own lives, so I'm practically an only child. An only child stuck in an abusive, alcoholic home. About two years ago, when I was ten, my mum crashed the car, fracturing her spine. She was charged with drink driving, and fined £700. She also lost her job. She's still unemployed.
—Guest Me

Losing my Dad

How do you cope with watching your parent slowly kill themself, binge drinking and taking a rainbow of narcotics even when they cannot walk, talk, or function? I don't know. I'm 20, in college, expected to finish my classes in the next two weeks and continue leading our school's writing center despite finding my dad nearly dead this Thanksgiving break. His skin was hanging off his bones, he couldn't walk, and his speech was incoherent slurs of babbling; when the paramedics got there they had to knock him unconscious and 'bag him', pumping air into his lungs from a bag because he could not breathe on his own. He's in the ICU now and I'm going to see him tonight, on top of preparing for my final exam in a senior synthesis course and a 15-page paper that is due tomorrow. At least by reading these posts I have realized that I'm not the only one who feels that I'm supposed to carry the weight of the collapsing world on my shoulders while trying to act like I'm just another "normal" person.
—Guest Katy

A state of Confusion to this day

Never knew who was right or wrong and to this day may never know. The show Mommie Dearest, spoke volumes on my childhood, from the dinner table to the bathroom and closet scenes, so to this day, not sure why things were done to me as a child, can reconcile it, but still confused whenever someone is nice to me? Can't turn back time, but life is all about learning, and I still have lots to learn. The verbal abuse has made me an overachiever and very critical of anyone not approving of me. Happy one day, sick the next day, but yet my parents had the time to go to the American Legion for a few beers, I had to hide in bed before they got home, so as to not get in any discussions. Cleaned house, cooked dinner, did yard work, and yet got criticized for not dusting a room??? Woke up at 2 a.m. to finish the laundry and dishes then go to bed only to get up to go to school. Yes, I have lots of confusion in my supposed childhood. Hope no one ever goes through what I had to. Very SAD
—Guest charles

Is this alcoholism?

My mum is in denial, she's recently lost her job over alcohol but has convinced herself its to do with another health problem. I live with her and Im in second year of University studying for a Law degree. Living with her is having a serious effect on my studies and well being but if I leave I'm afraid she'll commit suicide. She walks around the house talking to herself, crying, saying shes gunna kill herself, shes abusive and says horrible things (only whilst drunk). I don't like to leave her in the house alone, she lies, hides spirits, goes off wandering around our area drunk. Refuses to admit she has a problem as she still manages to keep a tidy house and she doesn't drink on a daily basis. Which is true but she gets paralytic on her own like five days of the week, so is this alcoholism ?
—Guest Rebecca


Thats how i feel. My mom was an alcoholic who drank while she was pregnant with me. I was born with a heart defect that 31 years, 3 open heart surgeries and 2 pacemakers later has given me a lifetime of health problems. I dont know who my father is and my mom was too busy getting drunk to be much of a mom to me. I dont know how to recognize love when i see it. I become intensely angry if i feel disrespected or slighted in any way. Then i realized anger made stress and stress caused more heart troubles. So i learned how to become emotionally untouchable. I dont know whats worse, being angry or not feeling anything. I have two kids who are beautiful, loving and amazing. Many days i find myself becoming angry and jealous at their freedom and happiness. ISNT THAT CRAZY?! I provide a life for them so they can be happy and carefree! I should be proud of myself...but i am angry because i see them and i wish it was me with a healthy heart and a lifetime of possibility...whats wrong with me
—Guest TeflonDiva


I am currently in counseling for PTSD. My life reads like a horror movie where the author seeks to totally destroy the main character. My mother was an alcoholic. She was married three times and her 3rd husband killed her right in front of me. My sister and I were adopted by an Aunt and Uncle where sexual, physical and emotional abuse took place frequently. I am 54 now and everything from my childhood still haunts me. The pain has been unbearable at times and if it hadn't been for my relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ, I would have ended my life years ago. Alcohol has never been a problem for me but I have all of the systems listed above. I am told that there is help, not to endure or simply understand what has happened or why, but help to overcome the pain, the guilt and the endless nightmares. I truly look forward to that day.

My Life is Horrible

Single parent, teenage pregnancy,lost my job,no family besides my alcoholic mother. No help or contact with my childs dad and my mother drinks every night for 5 to 6 hours. Talks to herself,cries, wakes me up to say stupid hurtful things about my parenting. I just dont want to go on. Im tired and life isnt looking up at all.
—Guest StillSuffering

Never Knew What Normal Was

I remember once in college, after growing up without a father and with an alcoholic mother (until about age 7), I was at my friends house and his father was talking kind of disrespectfully to his mom. At the time I actually remember thinking "so that is how men are supposed to treat women." I never knew my entire life how men really were supposed to treat women. My only experience with a family was what I saw on TV. Both of my best friends growing up had alcoholic parents too. I still have a lot of trouble with personal relationships. I feel like I have no idea how to behave in one. It has caused an immense amount of pain in my life.
—Guest Rob H.

You did your best

It's easy to blame ourselves for things that happened in childhood,but ask yourself how much control do young children really have?look at children around you and you will see they don't have much say in their up bringing,I was told for years it was my fault that I hadn't done enough and that I made my mother ill.she was ill she still is but it's not my fault.i was a good kid and I did my best living in a crazy home.my life is pretty good now,my children are happy and healthy but my mother is still drinking her self senseless everyday who's fault is that..it certainly isn't mine.stay strong.
—Guest Vicky

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

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