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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

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

7 Years of Vodka

Even as I'm writing this, I hear my dad screaming at my mom downstairs. I'm 15, and I love my dad when he's sober, hate every fiber of him when he is drunk. Total of 6 months in rehab on 3 occasions. I've called the cops on him three times, watched him get arrested for violating a protective order which my mom put on my siblings and I. He started drinking when I was 8, and now all I can remember is the bad things. I cry myself to sleep some nights. I tend to attach myself to people and trust too easily. His drinking has come down to about once a week opposed to every day, which it was while I was 8,9,10,11,12. On the one or so day he is drunk, all hell breaks loose. None of my friends know. Nobody does. And it's just here, bottled up inside of me. I'm just so tired. My mom doesn't know, nor my dad. I'm so tired of yelling, of having to sniff my dad's water bottle, having to find empty vodka bottles hidden. I'm tired of growing up so fast. I'm tired of him. I feel so hopeless and done.
—Guest Annon.

I am my father's daughter

I have spent 22 years as a daughter of an extreme alcoholic. My father is the greatest, smartest man I have ever met. He can fix anything but a broken heart. However, when he drinks he is another person. His eyes go black and I hate everything about him. In 22 years I have been screamed at, I have been woke up in the middle of the night to be screamed at, I have watched my mother be abused, I have called the cops on my dad twice, watched him be arrested for a DUI once, lived to see him get a total of 3 DUI's, been chased with a knife and had my tires shot out once. At the end of the day the man is still my father. When he wakes up in the morning, he is no longer that demonic man. I know his addiction will one day kill him and I also know that all of that man's knowledge will one day go away. It is a daily struggle to continue such a relationship but I have a wonderful support group and I take each day one step at a time.
—Guest Emily

Its hard to forgive, easier to forget

I grew up with my alcoholic dad and (sadly) denying mother on a council estate in Herts. My first memory is seeing my mum cry and always sensing a sadness in the house, I became very shy and untrusting of others. We were lucky to be part of a good community and I know for a fact that the neighbours kept a fair eye on me but once behind closed doors, it's a different story. There were times I wasn't fed or clothed adequately because we simply had no money, yet dad always managed to have a bottle of scotch by his chair each night. He still worked (as a lorry driver no less!!) So there were blissful times he worked away from home but when he was about, the oppression was immense. He "disciplined" me when I would accidentally wake him (he would sleep on the sofa some days when too drunk to go to bed), mother would melt away, we were both scared of him, he was physically a big guy with a temper to match. Weirdly enough,he's been dead 5 yrs & I tend to remember the (rare) good times we had..
—Guest S

How do I forgive??

My dad is an alcoholic..growing up there were good times and he always provided for his family but I remember the bad things, the things I have nightmares about. I watched him terrorize my mom for years, he still does, just in a different way. When my siblings and I were little he would hit her.. I remember one Easter we had family over and he was in the house beating her and nobody did anything. Why didn't they do anything..I have nightmares about that day, I don't remember how old i was, maybe 7…I'm now 29. My father is now in rehab for the first time, not court-ordered or anything, he went on his own without anybody asking him to even. Makes me think he might really quit drinking but he gets out this weekend and all I can think of is how can I forgive him? How do you forgive a person who terrorized the people you love for so long. I know I need to let it go for my own sake at least but I just don't know how..
—Guest J

I'm an adult and i fear my parents

My Dad is an alcoholic, I'm 39 years old. He is very scary and violent when drunk, even in front of my young son. I grew up with so much violence, anger and hate. My Mother used to be a promiscuous drunk also. Now she's old no one wants her. My dad thinks because he has money and assets he is somebody, and he believes that those material things prove that he doesn't have a problem. I no longer love my parents, I pity them. I live a couple of thousand miles away, I keep contact minimum. But they still ring and this irritates me. When I have an opinion about life that they don't agree with, I am spoken to so inhumanely, I am yelled at and intimidated, told that I will fail. I get scared to follow my interests because their negative voices ring in my ears. I promised myself when I was 6 that I would never let them hurt me when I got older but they still manage to do so. I hate them, and can't wait to see them in the ground.

Scared to Speak up.

I love my Dad more than anything in the world, but seeing him drink about 15 Budweiser beer cans a day, makes me cry every night before I go to bed. He's been drinking for 26 years straight, my mom tried leaving him many times before, but my dad loves her to much. He's a wonderful husband, but when the beer cans gets opened, I don't even know who my dad is anymore. I'm too afraid to speak up to him about his problem, but I'm afraid that if I don't speak up, heart failure or something bad may take his life. My dad is never really physically abusive, never hits me or my sister. But yells and argues at us for every single little problem. Its his way or the highway basically. I don't know what to do.. I'm heartbroken, because I love my dad more than anything, but I'm afraid to see him get hurt. Alcohol is tearing my family apart, I just don't know what to do.
—Guest Guest Mim

Before I was even born

For as long as I remember my dad has been an alcoholic. I'm grateful for my mother trying to hide it from me and my brother when we were children. But its such a sad reality when you grow up to see the truth. I'm 18 now, as the years have gone on he's gotten worse from rehab to rehab.Not going to work, not even calling to tell them he wasn't coming. Being drunk in his room on our birthdays, missing my graduations, and award ceremonies. Blaming us, verbally abusing us. I guess I'm lucky because I never had to deal with the physical. But the worst part is having to watch someone whose supposed to protect you, hurt themselves. My doctor told us the other day just how serious it was, who knows how much longer i'll even have father. But the one thing I did learn is how to fight my own, I'll never be afraid to be alone, and I will NEVER make his mistakes or put my kids threw what he put me, my brother and my mom threw. Stay strong, live goes on.
—Guest Mackenzie

His pain is my pain

My dad has been a "weekend-drinker" for the last 10 years or so, and I am now 18. I have to older brothers, but they didn't grow up with him being an alcoholic. That leads to a question I ask myself everyday: Is it my fault that he is drinking? He has problems, but he has me, my brothers and my mother who loves him very much, and it hurts me to see what he's doing, especially to my mother. I think she's paralyzed in this situation, and doesn't really know how to help him. His drinking has lead to our relationship being broken, a lot of yelling, a horrible atmosphere at the house and even christmas and other holidays being destroyed. I have a really hard time talking about it, because I immediately tear up, and I have to make up dumb excuses to my friends on why we can't hang out at my house in the weekends. I really hope that he will realize what his drinking does to the family, not for my sake, but for my mom's, who has to live with him alone after I've moved out.
—Guest July

Daddys lil girl know matter what

Growing up and watching my daddy drink has always put a toll on my sister and mom. People would aways say don't worry he will get better just give him time im now 23. I knew that wasn't the case he's been like that before me and my sis was born. To this day its still pretty tough he has been calling me a lot saying he wants to die he is tired of living in pain. It has been getting to me i have been stressing and even missing work over all this. I just wish the people who said he will change give him time was correct. Growing up with a alcoholic parent is very hard and as a child or young adult even as a 30 Year old it may never get any easier and im sorry you're not alone. And if you're fortunate enough and you're parent isn't drinking anymore congrats i can only imagine. And please enjoy it you don't know if tomorrow or even a second can change that.
—Guest Anonymous

My father

I'm 13. My father comes home everyday after work drunk. He owns his own buisness so he can do whatever he wants. He brings home a 12 pack along with his drunk self. I hate it. I can't make plans to go to my friends house because i I'm scared that my dad will be drunk the day he'll have to take me. I'm scared to be embarrased. He started drinking a while ago, I don't remember what age because I didnt know what being drunk was. My family is also poor so I hate it that he spends his money on cigarettes and beer and not me or my brothers and sisters. I hate my dad being like this. I never confront him about how I feel about it because I'm sensitive and I don't want him to yell at me because I know I'll cry. I hate this life. I wish my dad wasnt like this.
—Guest anonymous


I'm the youngest of three sisters. My mum has been an alcoholic for a large part of my life, though my sisters protected me from it as long as they could. I feel very conflicted because during the day when she is sober, my mum is a funny, kind and intelligent woman who is really easy to get on with and I feel that I can talk to her about anything. However, come evening time, you have to walk on egg shells because you don't know what type of drunken mood she is in- is it the happy, loving drunken mood? the weepy, depressive mood? or the volatile, aggressive and angry mood? It's hard because I feel like she's two different people, one of them i love with all my heart, the other- i don't like to admit but i hate and resent. After years of wishing to break free and leave, I am now at university. I have been diagnosed with depression. My mum thinks i am just very homesick but what i can't tell her is that i'm definitely not homesick because i don't miss home at all.
—Guest Grace

Alcholic dad

Ever since my brother died my dad has been doing stuff like drugs and drinking a lot. My dad is mean to my mom he goes to the bar a lot and then my mom has a bad anxiety problem. No one ever said to me that im sorry for your loss or acknowledges it.
—Guest Brandon

How to make it stop

Honestly there are so many stories about alcoholic members but what I really want to know is how to make it stop. Because it is possible, I'm sure. My dad has been an alcoholic all my life.. and it has teetered from awful to semi awful all the time. However there have been several periods where HE REALLY DID want to stop. He went to Alcoholics Anonymous for like a week and then started drinking again. This year he went an incredible 3-4 months without drinking. The best few months of my entire life. My parents have kind of been kind of illegally separated because of his actions and habits. My mom, the most hard-headed woman I know, actually started talking to him regularly again, it all just felt so great that I FINALLY had a normal family. However I really don't know what it was.. he just began drinking suddenly and it went from probably a few drinks a week to alcohol abuse again. I need to figure out what I can do to get him back. He can't go backwards, this can't go on again.
—Guest Roe

Spouse of Alcoholic, mom of alcoholic

I applaud the bravery and resilience of those breaking the cycle and hold alcoholism has had on their life. Only in the last year have I finally admitted that my spouse had more than just a "drinking problem". Only in the last year since the death of his relative have I accepted it is a family disease closely hidden and protected. I was never physically abused however I finally had to admit that the ugly, mean, profanity laden tirades were abuse. I had preserved a cherished memory of my spouses care and attention soon after the birth of my first son and my re-hospitalization. It was as though I kept it under glass, shined and illuminated. All these years anytime I saw his angry face, heard his words I would just close my eyes and assure myself he was that wonderful man I married. I wanted to hope, I wanted and needed to believe good always can conquer ugly. While I know that is true I am also learning to adjust to the realization that you can't do that for someone else.


I grew up with an alcoholic aggressive father. Every week I would see my father kick my mother who was screaming in the floor, even when she was pregnant.As a grown up woman, I always felt attracted to the type of man who I , maybe unconsciously, knew would cause me suffering. I was wise to choose a different man. He is stable, sweet, kind, mentally strong, a good provider, a sweet loving husband who takes care of his health. He also happens to be very successful and handsome. It took a while to feel it was the right choice, but now I 'm feeling madly in love with him . I'm so happy I made the right choice. At 39, I know it would be horrible to be married to a man whom I could not rely on, or even worse, divorced with children. As a mother has been a real challenge to be the mother I want to be, but the challenge has brought great spiritual gifts. You have the choice to be different than your parents. Forgive.The purpose of this experience is to grow spiritually.They came to help you

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

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