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

Responses: 1044


Updated September 22, 2012

Adult children of alcoholics are people who grew up in a home with at least one alcoholic parent and whose lives were likely profoundly affected by the experience. If you grew up in an alcoholic home, share how you think it affected you most. Post Your Answer

That's me to a T

I wish I had known 30 years ago how much work I would have to do to become healthy, after the horrible childhood I went through. Instead, at age 52, I just ruined the best relationship I've ever had with a wonderful woman who loves me very much, and who I love more than I have ever loved anybody except maybe my mother. When a minor event made her angry at me at a concert in San Francisco, I locked myself into a course of action that I was not able to clean up. I left her at the concert venue with her friends. I LEFT HER! How can I ever forgive myself for what I did, when she cannot forgive me? I feel like I will have to be in therapy for the rest of my life to try to ensure that I won't ruin all my relationships. And I might as well have the plague when it comes to dating again.
—Guest Andrew

I am so sick of my alcoholic mother

I'm 19 and my mother has been an alcoholic for 6 years now and living with her is unbearable because i'm living with her still and her boyfriend is also an alcoholic for 20 years now and she knows she has a drinking problem but she can't seem to stop drinking and it's all progressed to not having a relationship with her it's nonexistent and it hurts me because she puts no effort into trying to change that fact and she has no interest in me as her kid and she claims that she has more in common with her boyfriend which is ridiculous to me. I love her but it's come to a point where I feel so lonely and not interesting since she doesn't care about me and i don't feel loved and since both of my parents have never been encouraging and supportive i find it hard to motivate myself and also i've been depressed for a long time and I've gotten to a point where I hate my mom for not being there for me and i've tried to tell myself that I don't care if we don't have a relationship anymore but it do
—Guest Debbie

Harder each day

Since i was six my mum had a baby but before she had me and my sister she had two stillbirths when i was six she started drinking i was too young to notice but i can remember my dad pouring her drink out and her crying as i got older i starting doing things like writing her notes hiding her cans so it was easier for me because i did keep it a secret from my family but i had my dad to. Talk to last year my dad died so now i have to take charge and make sure my sister gets fed and bills repaid but my mum keeps on yelling and my dad isn't here to help so i don't know what to do in 16
—Guest the same

Changes who you are

The talk show Dr. on television often says that parents write on the slate of who you are. It's much more than that. They basically leave you with no self-esteem or at best or nervous and afraid of everybody and trust no-one. I moved out of my home at 17 to find peace without a screaming alcoholic father and equally screaming (yet sober) mother. They fought physically and loudly for all the neighbors to hear. I found peace in my grandmother's home and later an apartment alone but always live with my guard up and an instinct to run as soon as the yelling starts. I'm 62 and it still haunts me. I pray for peace and the ability to forgive my father for what he did to us. He died at age 48 from what he did to himself.
—Guest changedforlife

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

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

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