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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


I've picked up the habit of not wanting to disappoint people. I hate being wrong or I hate it when I let people down. Being blamed for all of her problems has made me very needy, I guess you could say. I want affection and will go out of my way to please anyone. I'm still young and I've only been out of her house for a year but I'm hoping that some how my mind set will change. I'm hoping that in time what I am will be enough. Not for everyone else but for myself. As a child I was so mad that she blamed me but she was my mother so I wanted that comfort you are supposed to get. I want to let her go but I can't find it in myself to shed it all. Because I've seen the mother she can be when she was sober, I just need to give up on it.
—Guest Arin

What is normal?

Growing up I felt like it was normal that my mom woke up at 6 and started drinking. I thought it was normal for her to pass out cold on the couch in the middle of the day. No one told me different. I didn't know it wasn't normal until I turned 16. When I realized the amount of alcohol she consumed in a day was what you saw in movies. Now I watch in complete shock as she continues to drink as she always has...worried she won't be there to see me get married or have kids. Watching her fade away and feeling overwhelming fear of losing my mother.
—Guest Niki

Sharing helps

When I first read these posts, they brought back memories (as I blogged) and my nightmares returned after about 10 years of not having them. However, I have nothing to hide so I came back here. After a few months of reading these, I can say it helps to "get it out". Big Surprise to BuddyT who started this site. He knew that would happen. Thank you. In the words of a certain TV Doctor "this is a soft place to fall". God bless us all to have open eyes and go forward Every aspect of our lives will not be wonderful. But practice makes improvement.
—Guest fish

Very large alcoholic family

I was born close to the bottom of a very large family, my father was the alcoholic and my mother the enabler. Image was everything, still is. I was extremely unhappy growing up. Found solace in my brother's room where we would talk about music and literature and paintings and just laugh together. I used to sneak in there after bedtime so no one knew I was there. I hated being in the house and only came back to eat and sleep from about the age of 7 or 8 because I wanted to free myself from the atmosphere of ever present fear and what if thought process. I never knew what was around the corner. Whether my dad would be sober or drunk. How happy I used to feel when I saw my dad down the hall in a morning sober and how much pain I felt when he got dressed and cleaned up only to go and drink himself stupid again. I am 35 now and still never feel good enough, worthy of love, capable of loving. The healing process is worth it though. Can't be any worse than never looking for help.
—Guest dolphin

Childhood was sad

Growing up with alcoholic parent(s) is sad. That's why I appreciate this website. It is an opportunity to unburden ourselves. It doesn't mean my life is now hopeless, but if your loved one is still an alcoholic it has some aspects of sadness until the day they recover. The first half of my life was sad too. Until I realized they were making life bad and it doesn't have to be that way. This particular subject will always be colored by sadness for those who will not quit drinking and for the people who against all odds truly still love them. Keep sharing everyone someone else may need to hear your story. God bless us all and many thanks as always to BuddyT who realizes sharing is healing.
—Guest fish

A Little Hope, please

I lived the sad stories similar to the postings here. I went through Al-Anon, some counseling. I learned it wasn't my fault: as a child, I narcissistically believed if my father was out of control, it was my fault. A lot of the traits of children of alcoholics I still have, but I see them more as a plus these days. I dote on my wife, and have a happy and affectionate marriage. I believe I'm uniquely able to appreciate the fundamentals such as love for my wife. It is better than I've ever imagined. The first half of my life sucked, now it feels like heaven. Best wishes to you all.
—Guest Bill

Still recovering

As the adult child of an alcoholic father, and the oldest I went through a lot as a child. The biggest issue was the fact that I have constantly be quiet approval addictive, seeking the approval of others for love. Although I have figured it all out, this issues effect your life for ever. After going to Al-Anon for 11 years I have realized that love is not earned, you don't have to do anything to get it especially forfeit yourself for anyone. When you lose yourself for another person, you lose your identity for someone that is sick, and that is not gonna change no matter what you do. You become who they want you to be, eventually losing yourself, and happiness that you deserve. Therefore I will no longer become mentally, and emotionally exhausted for anyone, for any reason. Never losing hope in my Higer Power, who is God, as I understand him.. Lose youreself for no one but God, he's the only one that will love you forever, just the way you are, with no conditons. Peace Amigos
—Guest SamaritanaArmada


Both my parents drink, sometimes days at a time. I and my two brothers would have to fend for ourselves from childhood to adulthood. We all have self esteem problems among other things. Childhood was not a happy time.
—Guest Sandara


To me the biggest hurdle to overcome was the secrets. My lifelong training was to suppress, deny and ignore. Stating "everyone loves me sober but hates me drunk" is a convenient excuse. Blame the alcohol not the alcoholic. I had to separate myself from my family members who "act out" each night. When I drove 600 miles to see them, one had locked the other out of the house and the ensuing madness caused the police to come. One had spray painted the other and said "that was fun" Never again. To me it is unbearably sad.
—Guest fish

Never had a childhood!

None of us born to an alcoholic parent ever were allowed a childhood. We were the parent, emotionally. We had to worry, worry and worry. While our friends worried about, I have no clue? We worried,worried and worried.
—Guest Little E

I keep saying 'This is me'

My father was alcoholic, a family friend was abusive; I am currently 28 and a smart, pretty, successful doctor. My personal life is another story, I seek out relationships with men that make me feel inadequate, that leave me lonely, that are cruel and cold. I am currently leaving a man that I have been with over a year who has OCD and spent the last year telling me he would rather be alone, that I talk too much, he cheated on me during the holidays, he refused to introduce me to friends or family, he refused affection, he controlled everything we did. So I left and found someone else, he then begged for me back, and I left a good man for this sick situation. I trap myself time and again even after I make the break. And one day, I woke up and said, this man is my father... so I left him, but I've been crying for days and feel rejected even though I was miserable. I keep feeling like there is something wrong with me and that's why he didn't care for me. I know it's not true but...
—Guest jenna

My own struggles with alcohol!

At the age of 50, my children almost raised, I am still dealing with the effects of my father's alcoholism And I am also dealing with my own problems with alcohol. Funny? Ironic? It happens to a majority of us. My children did not have my "childhood." They had a true childhood. They do not carry around the baggage of my childhood. I may not have saved myself, but at least I saved my children.

Son of a Single Mother

My mother was a very secretive and thus fake individual who managed to raise me and sister in sunny Laguna Beach, California. She never allowed me to live with my father, even when I started showing signs of rebellion. I took the downward path, entering the realm of drugs and alcohol. My mother never taught me how to feel, care, etc. She would ignore me when I would ask her to help with homework. She never had time to interact with us on her level, always into her own thing. Her extremes are what really scarred me. I am just now trying to fix my life, at age 20, and wow, it's a very hard thing to do. But I am living with my father, who is a rather practical fellow, and he is helping me a lot, with the assistance of a very good counselor.
—Guest David

growing up with an alcoholic

I haven't accepted the fact that I'm grown up yet (50 year old lady), but I'm in a place in my life with people who understand me, I feel, finally. So, I'm still growing and am very much aware of my feelings for once in my life, so surely it's never too late to "grow up."
—Guest darlene


When I talked to my mother about her quitting drinking her response was "I'm going to pickle myself". Then she went to the liquor store. I returned home hundreds of miles away (by choice) to my son, who I do not allow to be around her. That's the way it is.
—Guest fish
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