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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

So tired of feeling this way.

I grew up being the oldest of 3 girls and went from being a child to an adult literally overnight. My dad left that night and never heard from until 2 years later only after he'd been remarried with his excuse being that he couldnt take my mother's drunkenness anymore. I struggled so hard to raise my sisters and from keeping us from being "taken away" from Children's Aid that I completely lost who I was and still am not able to figure my way about being an adult. I now have 2 young sons and it affects my ability to being a Mom. Tasks like Socializing, getting a job, and dealing with living life feeling like I'm always pretending to be normal is exhausting. I hope that one day I can find where I fit in and finally be at peace with who I am. I wish I didn't grow up an ACOA.
—Guest Patricia

She followed through...

I remember when I was in my room doing homework and I heard crashing outside. I went out there to find my mom trying to pull out of the driveway and she kept running into the house. I yelled "What the hell do you think you're doing?" She said she was going for more rum. I told her to get her butt back in the house. She told me she was going to drink herself to death and drove away. I was 16. When I was 19 she died. I was the adult since age 10. There was nothing I could do about it. Sometimes I think it's my fault since I was supposedly in charge. But I know logically that it's not. It just feels that way. Us kids did so much to try and stay together and we ended up separated anyways. I guess I didn't do such a good job.
—Guest Karin


I've grown in some ways in spite of it and find myself still drawn to its patterns even at 46. I have to always be aware and open to evaluating my behavior and how it is a by product of my childhood. It's like an appendage I think I will carry forever. I hope to always grow and learn from it so my children aren't affected.
—Guest Blanca


My dad's alcoholism had a heavy impact on my life; still is...he's the kind who stays sober for a while, has a relapse, sobers, relapse, etc...being the eldest of 3, i had to grow up pretty fast. I took up most of the responsibilities & it overwhelmed me, trying to help mom & siblings...Now i'm 19, & i'm starting to be more 'normal', but i don't know how long it's going to be before I can get out of the pain...i'm not even sure whether it'll go away, but...I have to try, anyway...I just hope for a good future for my family...
—Guest Li

In pain

My dad...I thought he had stopped a few years back...he had, actually. But now, he has relapsed. I'm in college, 19 yrs...i thought it would be ok since he had stopped. But now, he's started again, but in secret. I saw the bag of alcohol. It's like he doesn't care for my mum or me & my siblings, anymore. I've literally spiraled downhill, & only barely managed in my life because of my mum, who's been our support & our bread-winner all these years. It hurts to even think that his nonsense will never stop. Right now, i have nothing but anger & pain. My uncles & teachers have been better fathers to me than he has. He had so much to offer life, & he's just wasting it all. He doesn't care about us...growing up with him was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. y only hope now is to save my mum & siblings from him - nothing else...I didn't have much of a childhood, but now i have a 9 yr old sis, as well..I won't let him ruin her childhood; I just won't...
—Guest Eliza

How I feel growing up with an alcoholic

I am 20. My mother became an alcoholic around 4 years ago. (i live with her) I feel angry and resentful towards her. My only sanity comes from my father (lives an hour away) who has incredibly been sober 12 years and knows what I'm going through and how hard it is watching my mother who I looked up to my whole life throw her entire life away for a bottle of gin and knowing there's not a damn thing I can do about it. It makes me sick to my stomach every time I look at her. Its ruining our relationship drastically. (I don't drink). It hurts that she doesn't remember anything I tell her and asks me the same questions day after day as the alcohol kills her brain cells. If I make a comment about her drinking she will make an excuse. "I don't get sick often because the alcohol kills all the bad germs" and I replied "it's also killing you". Then she'll be sad for a minute and resume chugging. I know being 20 I should be building my life but I can't help but worry what will happen when I'mgon
—Guest E92

Loving but dysfunctional household...

Thanks to counseling, I have just begun to learn how profoundly affected I am, as an adult, from my childhood up-bringing. I scored damn near 100% on the symtomology quiz for Adult Children of Alcoholics...which was an eye opener for me. My mother was the alcoholic, but was only a mean drunk to my father, never to me. She was supporting and loving to me, both when sober and drunk. My father, on the other hand, was quite a responsible social drinker and though he no doubt loved me, rarely expressed his love or support verbally to me (i.e., I now know that this was akin to emotional abandonment...but as a kid, I had no idea). I grew up witnessing the interplay between an alcoholic parent and an emotional abandoner, so it doesn't necessarily take a parent being a "mean or abusive" drunk to wreak havoc on a child.
—Guest hunter

sibling rivarily

Growig up in an alcoholic family has created adult sibling that fight, argue, lie, blame one another, just constant petty immature drama,over time you learn to isolate yourself from them for your own sanity on the other hand you are craving and longing to be a close- knit loving family but nothing ever changes! Anyone have that too?
—Guest anne

Growing up in alcoholic home.

It was caotic. Hell on earth. Never had amoment peace and I grew up hating myself. The experience has negatively effected my entire life.
—Guest Josh

I thought I beat it!

This is the saddest part of my story. My big brother, who supported us financially, who carried scars on his face because he stepped between my dad and us kids, who sat awake all night to guard my rm. Who taught us the only way he knew how, to keep the beatings short, by hiding our fear "look him in the eye, take the hit and never, ever shed one dam tear, he his bigger, but you are stronger, it will never end if he can taunt your fear, this is how he taught us to protected ourselves from his abuses... That night was the last straw for my brother, before I passed out, I remember my brother face, his eyes became like a devil possessed, and what he said, Today Uncle Sam gave me a one way ticket to hell, but tonight your gonna go!" he almost beat my father to death before police came. Dad found AA, and sober his last 2 yrs. My bro. served in Veit -nam, made Army carrier he never saw Dad sober. A year ago my brother died at 62 due to alcoholism, the only one of 7 siblings that drank!
—Guest Avangi

I thought I beat it!

My father was an alcoholic. When I was 7 child welfare finally stepped in, mom was forced to make a choice. In that day and time there was few arrest for alcohol related offences, a fight got them a night in jail, DWI, if the cops knew them, dad was well known, they'ed drive him home hand the keys to my mom, tell her to "keep him in or he goes to jail." This is when the fights began, their serverity depened on how drunk he was. Very drunk mom could subdue him, with a knock on the head, then tie him in bed with a sheet. But many times he was cusp-drunk, belligerent stupor. Just how he was the last night he lived with us, pushing, shoving mom trying to bully the keys. Then he started to beat my older sister, my bro. pulled him off, then he thew his lighter at mom it hit my baby sis. He then cut his hand in an attempt to cut wire to start the car, that pissed him off, and with his drunken aim he sailed that knife across the rm. unintentionally the knife went 4in deep into my thigh.
—Guest Avangi

This is what i think

I love my parents more than anything else in the world.
—Guest Anonymous

I'm now an overachiever ;-)

My Mum and Dad were both heavy drinkers when I was a kid. My Mum then started running a pub and her 'I won't drink before 7' became 6 then 3 then mid day... you get the idea. My Dad is still 'just' a heavy drinker. Mum is an alcoholic (although she prefers to call it 'alcohol dependence'.) As a result I'm a high achiever, perfect 'never upset the applecart' type that really struggles with close relationships. I'm constantly filled with anxiety and actually prefer to have drama and chaos to 'normal' life as I feel more comfortable. When I was a teenager my mum and I moved in with an alcoholic. He was lovely with me as I was so 'well behaved' but he dragged Mum around the house by her hair, raped her , threw us both out of the house in the middle of the night, and knocked her teeth out. I've been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and in 2010 I was diagnosed as bi-polar as I display the same 'alcoholic' behaviours...... So yup it's affected me... and no I'm not over it! :-(
—Guest Sasha

I don't know how to feel.

It has changed me a lot. The feelings are indescribable. My father died this month from alcoholism. He let the alcohol get the best of him. My mother never liked drinking but she started and drank with my father. I remember a few times when I was younger and my parents yelling at each other in the middle of the night and they started fighting. They were never abusive physically but emotionally, yes. I have a younger sister and an older sister. We are all still in school and none of us have graduated high school yet. It definitely has taken its toll on us three especially. Since my fathers passing, my mother stopped drinking and plans to never drink ever again. This has affected me by wanting to raise awareness about alcoholism and about children who have parent/s who are drinkers. I know I will never ever drink alcohol. I've seen what it can do to you.
—Guest Tayler

It gets better

Oh dear its a sad mandate, I was abondened my father and he lived with a detached person, she never bothered about my sister and I, I married an drunk, and stayed for 13 years, I joined Alanon and remarried after 5 years on my own he is a sweet considerate man,my father and most of my family suffer from terrablie anxiety and I have let go of the anger and forgiven but I am not involved with them my HP is my father.mother guidance and I love life.
—Guest sernity

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

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