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

Responses: 596


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

It's the worst it's been

6 years ago my father died of cancer, my mother was broken, she couldnt function without her pain killers. she was addicted to them for two years then finally got a hold of herself. she ended up meeting someone else and eloping. they moved my sister and i to a different town and they divorced. i started doing drugs and contemplating suicide every night, i never told any one, i had no friends or family that i could talk to. my sister moved to a different state and i was left with my mom, as she started drinking heavily every night. she found someone 1,000 miles away and moved me here with her 8 months ago. hes an alcoholic too, and they beat each other up every night. when i wake up its like nothing ever happened and its tearing me apart. im worse than ever been. depressed, underweight, suicidal, and forgotten. shes better than this, she doesnt know. and my boyfriend of 4 years, they hate him, i havent seen him in six months. im hurting and wont care. ive been keeping everything a secret
—Guest sydney

Bad parents

I have been trying to deal with my life ever since I was 6. My mom and father were the best until they divorced when I was 6. After that my mother started drinking a lot and partying leaving me with my grandparents. Then she became an alcoholic. My dad moved off after the divorce and changed, he never saw me but once every 2 years. After awhile he was bad himself and cared about no one but himself. I didnt see him no more after I had enough of his bullshit. All the while my mother drank herself silly and worsened after her father died. She started doing drugs and was an alcoholic. I didnt know what to do. She was my only family. I had no friends, no partner. I was alone. The only person who was there for me was Jesus Christ. And he said to me that he would make my life the best life I could ask for when I was 14. Since then I love my life...havent had to even see my parents if I didnt want to. For the most part, I didnt.
—Guest dontwannakno

Ready to get away.

Since I was eight, or possibly earlier, my mother has been compulsively drinking. My dad has told me several times that he'll make her stop, and that he shouldn't have married her, but he has never taken any action to protect me. She has hit me several times, and the lock on my bedroom door is broken from her screaming and breaking it open so often. I'm sixteen now, and I've suffered from eating disorders, self harm, and diagnosed OCD for years. I've been sneaking out since I was 14 to partake in self destructive behaviors. I am ashamed. The laundry list describes me perfectly. I love my boyfriend with all of my heart, but I fear that I am attracted to his brokenness. Reading that part of this article really shocked me. I never thought I would confuse love and pity. I hide my relationship from my parents, and I have issues with intimacy and feeling joy. These are characteristics that will follow me relentlessly for the rest of my life. I am now seeking help.
—Guest Anon

My father the bastard

My father is an alcoholic, he emotionally abused me throughout my teen years. when he was drunk he would cuss us out and say mean things. It was confusing because the person he was at night was totally different than how he was in the morning. It was defently a emotional roller coaster. You never knew when he was going to be persentable or when he wasn't. I feel throughout my teen years calling me awful names on school nights made my self Esteam drop low the next day. On a positive note because of the emotinal scars he left on me I don't drink. I stay away from all alcohol because of his abusive behavior. He ruined my family and my teen years. And I never want to be like him.
—Guest Guest name

Too much

I'm 20 years old and I live with my parents. We are a family of 5 consisting Father, Mother , 2 Elder sisters and me the youngest. I have an alcoholic father who drinks and smokes (Wacky things too) every day and night. Broken so many things at home that we lost count. Just yesterday night he had started to scream out loud as a drunk person would but swear while screaming. Mind you he had been in jail for 8 years even though he got sentence for 5.4 years but did extra till 8 years for no reason at all. I am STILL growing as a human being and having troubles with my daily life. It's Horrible. He's mentally disturbed us so much that we don't even want to be near him any more. When we're not near him or talking to him he'll say no one loves him. Well can you blame us for the Drunk and High outrages you throw at us and break things in the house that we'd have to pay for at the end of the day, EVEN THE BOOZE we'd have to pay for and not even have barely any money to pay for necessities.
—Guest Guest Anon8


Im 17 and I grew up with an alcoholic father. Hes hit me before but it was not a usual thing. He drank himself to sleep every night with a bottle of Nyquil. He abused prescription drugs like there was no tomorrow. It truly did ruin my life and I still to this day have not found a way to help myself. He has gone through alcoholic anonymous and hes still in it to this day . He missed my sixteenth birthday so he could go to a bar and I believe that's when he realized he had an issue. It sucks having to cope with something so horrible. He never paid attention to me , only his 27 year old girlfriend. Hopefully I will get through this , the right way .

Dad drank my whole life and still is

I am 34 and should be well over what my father did to us. While he wasn't really physically abusive, the mental abuse was horrible. And, it still goes on. I am married and expecting my first child and he still drinks almost every day. He has destroyed every inch of my mothers self worth, caused my siblings to move states away and has no regrets for his actions. I have spent my life always being the 'serious' one, never truly feeling fun, and definitely splurging at times throughout my years in random sex. While I have never touched alcohol or drugs, I surely suffer from his disease. I feel withdrawn a lot, cannot relax around him and feel that it has affected me for life. I have spent a long time recreating myself and I feel stronger, I am married to the most amazing man, and I have accomplished so much in life. But the pain still lingers. He has killed the best parts of a family. And he will never change. The grave will be when he stops.
—Guest Melanie

Hurt and forgiving

When I was younger my mom was sick, and right before I turned 14, she passed away, my older brother then got custody of me. Sadly nine months later he couldn't afford to take care of a teenage girl and contacted my father who i had yet to have met. I learn that he was a bad alcoholic and had other drug problems. He took spells where he would disappear for a week, then come home and try to be a decent parent for a day or two. This made it to where I crave attention, and I depend on one person (my boyfriend) more than I should. I question everything, and have to force myself not to show my trust issues, and abandonment issues. I'm afraid to lose someone, but I crave love. My father try's, yet I can't forget him for the abuse, and neglect... Even if one day he gets better and becomes a civilized person. I hate drunks and druggies..
—Guest Bree Clark

How to cope with life now

Hi. I grew up with a father who abused several over-the-counter and prescriptive medicines. He had a very volatile temper & alternately drugged himself to sleep all the time. Along with the temper was a mean side that put down anyone in his line of sight - including me. The last decade of his life he was becoming even paranoid. A paranoia that worsened the last couple of years. Again, the same mental habit of not trusting anyone - his children, his doctors. He isolated himself & me along with his illnesses. Now that he has passed away, i'm coping with the loss of a dad that i feel like i had to be the emotional parent. I've always felt so old even though i potentially have another five decades. I hold on to the random acts of kindness in my life - from the people i see in the street to the cafes and grocery stores. i feel unlike my dad in that i believe that people are essentially good at heart. when you see a smile on the street remember it's yours for the heart healing.
—Guest michigan


I choose men who are clearly emotionally unavailable. Even if they tell me they are not ready for a relationship from the start, I don't internalize it and keep lying to myself thinking I can make someone else feel something they don't want to. I invest all my time and energy into that one person, and get hurt when they don't do the same for me. I struggle to have a life outside of that person, make their needs more important than my own. The time I spend with the person is never enough, and my fear of abandonment leads me to not want to say goodbye, even if I know it's for a short time. I go in and out of bouts of depression when I am not with the person or don't have plans with the person, and this is because I feel unhealthily dependent on the person. After spending significant time with the emotionally unavailable guy, I feel devastated that their minds haven't changed about wanting a relationship. I also set boundaries, but don't keep them for fear of hurting the other person.
—Guest Hurting

If I Were Me

Although not specifically from an alcoholic family, I had a parent who relied on anti-depressants, and I relate strongly to what so many express here, in addition to the "Laundry List". Not being good at anything they gave out trophies for, I grew up with virtually no peer acceptance, and in retrospect my parents were poorly equipped to deal with it. Hoping I would eventually outgrow my difficulties, I basically had to 'go it alone'. Now in my 50's, I feel more like an 'old child' rather than an adult. I question my own motives, even those that result in good deeds, and am terrified of not being liked by everyone. I'm preoccupied with a desire to return to the past and I have been prone to limerant obsessions about people I wish I could 'be' during most of my adulthood. But still I thank God for keeping my sense of humor in tact and placing good people in my life. In spite of everything I do feel hopeful. I wish everyone here strength and success.
—Guest bob


Mother became alcoholic in my mid/late teens after meeting alcoholic partner. Only child. Good father, who so sadly recently died. Many awful situations occurred, too many to mention. Many problems caused with my own partner by putting up with ,and trying to deal with mother. She has now stopped drinking, but behaviors still emerge. When i recognize these patterns i become jittery and nervous. Find it hard to cut off my relationship with her completely through guilt and her sadness, yet cannot function properly myself. I think i have situational anxiety perhaps. Manipulative and recurring angst. The situational cycle continues. I now have my own child, but my own relationship with partner is deeply affected. Mother has anxiety problems ,manipulative and self pitying and controlling tendencies, i have guilt and nerves. Even though she has stopped drinking, i am still very affected by past and recurring cycles of behaviour. . .Now trying to understand what is best for me not her. Its hard
—Guest Arac

Im Crying

My dad has started drinking 2 years ago and now he is in my room and wants to knock down my door I snuck to a friends house and he drove me home and is now yelling at me banging on my door I called my aunt for help and that just made my dad worse now I don't know what to do help I'm 12
—Guest Stan

While I am typing right now she is drunk

My mother has been an alcoholic since as long as I can remember and she isn't exactly responsible either. When I was little I always got lost when I was in my mothers care and my little brother has gotten severely injured because she didn't watch us when she took us outside. She was also violent towards my father and one of my earliest memories were her throwing beer bottles at him while I was watching. She drinks every single day and I am sad to say that Ive rarely seen her sober and when she is drunk she would try to insult me and make me sad. She actually used to hit me when she was drunk for little reason and praise my brother non stop saying hes better than me and I'm just a spoiled brat and would just try to bring me down constantly and that was the time I was being bullied in school and she said it was my fault for being bullied. I felt like I could never get a break and went into depression (I was only 11 at the time). Now I'm 15 and I cant wait until I'm 18 to finally move out
—Guest Emily

It is who you are

You can't help it, but alcoholic parents are your genetic make up. They have completely ruined all that you desire in a family. It will never happen. Even if they get sober, they have hurt you enough that it doesn't matter. Maybe to them it makes it easier, but you will go your whole life trying to make up for their short comings. It sucks on both ends. Not going to sugar coat it. Good luck, we all need it.
—Guest Dawn Slicer

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

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