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Hi there, I am 17 years old girl. I am not comfortable writing this thing but I decided to do so nevertheless. My father is an alcoholic. The only good thing is that he is always trying to be good to my mother. He is not abusive or anything. He is trying hard to be a good parent but problem is that he barely can take care of himself. I am not sure what the question here is; I just wanted to write this down.

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Hello, I know what you mean. I know how your father and you must be feeling. I was an alcoholic myself and I almost lost my family because of damn thing. I am sober for 5 years now. This is not a miracle really. If I could make it, everybody can. Your father just has to believe in himself and his family has to stand by him in these hard times for him. Before "12 steps program" I thought that I can't do anything against it but it seems that I wasn't powerless after all. I will never touch alcohol again because my family is most important thing for me. I wish your father good luck.
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I understand what it is like to have an alcoholic parent. My father is an alcoholic, although he has been sober for over 5 years, you don’t stop being an alcoholic, you’re an alcoholic for life. It’s a disease. (I'm not saying at all that that makes it ok, but it is something that you need to understand) I know what it is like to come home, walk through the front door and not know what kind of situation you are going into, I understand the yelling, the fighting, the smashing of plates on walls, smashing windows, the alcohol hidden around the house and garden, the having no money because Dad spent it all again at the pub or bottle store, driving Dad home from the pub at night because he was too drunk, lying to my friends about why I couldn’t go to the movies because we couldn’t afford it, holes punched in walls covered up with pictures, crying siblings (I'm the oldest) crying mother and that total feeling of uncertainty. I know what that’s like. Its awful! The one thing that I am so thankful for is that my father was never physically abusive to my mother or us kids, he always said that he couldn’t hurt himself, he didn’t want to devastate my mother and us kids by killing himself. He might have said the odd horrible thing, but most of his anger was a result of ‘the straw that broke the camels back’ it would be one tiny thing that added up with all the stresses of the week/month that would break him. Again I'm not saying that this behaviour is ok, because its not. When I was 17 my father hit what me, my Mum and my sisters thought was rock bottom, while it was a horrible sight to see my father distraught at the way he had behaved and at the way he had treated us, (especially my sister who at the time was about 15, she bore the brunt of that monumental breakdown, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time). Me and my sister went to boarding school about 30 minutes away, it was the last day of the holidays and also my youngest sisters 6th birthday. My other sister was doing her holiday homework in her room, because as usual she had left it to the last minute. She came out of her room to ask Mum a question about her homework. I wasn’t standing in the hall at the time; I was in my room packing up my stuff to go back to school when I heard yelling. Now this was not an uncommon occurrence in my house, but there was something different about this. All of a sudden my youngest sister came running into my room, (which was off the lounge) absolutely terrified. I sat her on my bed and tried to busy her with helping me pack up my stuff (it worked for a while) all the while the yelling had moved from the hall to the lounge. I can’t remember exactly who was yelling, I didn’t have a proper door at the time (just some curtains) so I could hear everything. It went quiet for a couple of seconds then sound of video cassettes being thrown at the wall between my room and the lounge sounded, then the dinner plates that we sitting on the kitchen bench started smashing on the floor, then the door slammed and all the glass in the door broke. I walked out of my room, leaving my sister in there doing some meaningless little job (it took her mind off being frightened) and ventured into the lounge, surveyed the chaos and my mother frantically pulling sheets, towels etc out of the linen cupboard, (I remember thinking to myself, ‘damn, I'm going to have to clean that up’). As it tuned out my Mum had hidden the keys to the fast car in there and was all of a sudden trying to find them. Dad had gone out to get in the car and found the keys gone, he had come back to get them. Eventually she persuaded him that if he was going for a drive he should take the truck (not so fast, less chance of killing himself). He left, I started to clean up the mess, the phone rang and it was dad who was sitting in the car at the bottom of the driveway. All he said was ‘Bring me the dog’ so the dog (a dog gives unconditional love no matter what) was taken down to him and he left, I didn’t see him till next weekend when I came home from school. He spent the night on top of a hill called Mt penis (fitting I thought) with the dog. When I got home that Friday Dad sat us down and apologised for the way he had behaved, it was one of the hardest things I have ever been through, to see my father weeping, absolutely distraught at what he had put us through. He is such a tough man, and to see him completely break down like that was heartbreaking. It was also really great in a way because we all thought, ‘this is rock bottom, it can only get better from here’. It wasn’t the case. There were a couple more episodes. Finally just before my 18th birthday, dad sat us down and told us that he was going to Rehab for 3 months. I wasn’t sure if I should believe him, things like this had been said before, but to be honest, this was the first time rehab had been mentioned. A wave of emotions consumed me at this point, I was ecstatic, totally afraid, guilty, worried, anxious. I was scared for my Mum, I had made plans to go to Australia for the next year, I was going to live a little. I was guilty that I would not be there to help when things got rough (as I knew they would) but I had to get on with my life.
I don’t want to paint a picture of my father as being a horrible person. He was a loving father, he was always there for us kids, took us to Hockey, came to every game, would even ref our games. A hard worker (we own a farm) would play games with us in the garden, took us eeling at night, he was great fun. He just had this horrible disease. It consumed him. As with a lot of alcoholics, mental illness goes hand in hand. As we all know alcohol is a depressant, so having a drink when you are depressed only exacerbates the problem. Your depressed so you have a drink, which makes you more depressed, so you have another drink, and so on and so an, Its a vicious circle. It saddens me that there are so many people out there who are suffering in silence. I told my friends what was happening when my father went to rehab. I asked him if he minded me telling my friends, and he said it was up to me. If he had said no, I don’t think I would have told anyone, but I would have sought out some way I could vent. My friends were so supportive. I thought that they would push me away, I thought that they would want to be associated with someone who’s Dad is an alcoholic. I should have had more faith in them; while they didn’t really understand, they were really great about it, really supportive and non judgemental. If I were to give any of you who have a parent who has a drinking problem any advice it would be to talk to someone about it, whether it be a friend, a counsellor, or even one of those phone in lines, its good to talk to someone. There are groups for people, I know Al-anon is a world wide group, I have been to some of these meetings, they are very good, its nice to know that you aren’t the only one who is going through this. I'm sure there are many other groups (I'm in little old New Zealand, I don’t know what other groups are available for people in other countries). Just remember, you are not the only one out there.
My Dad has now been sober for just over 5 years now, and while I wish I could go down to the pub and have a drink with him (I always thought that would be something that we would do together) his sobriety is so much better! And I am so proud of him. He is really good about me and my sister going out, he has said ever since he came out of treatment that he isn't the ‘alcohol police’ and he cant stop us from going out and drinking, we even had my sisters 21st at the house not so long ago. But he said that if he saw that we were going down the same path as him, he would do everything in his power to help us not have to go through what he had to. I have come to realise that I have many of the typical traits of a child of an alcoholic parent; I have battled with depression, anxiety and stress. I have self esteem issues, I had to be very responsible at a young age, eg, caring for younger siblings – I was looking after my 18 month old sister and my 12 year old sister by myself, all day long when I was 14, cooking for the whole family and cleaning the whole house from about the age of 11/12, because Mum had to work in town so she could put food on the table, and Dad was out on the farm. Looking back on things now, I don’t think I would change anything (I would have then). I think what I have been though has made ma a stronger person, a person who doesn’t buy into the stereotype of the nasty alcoholic, they aren’t always the horrible people you see in the movies (granted there are many people like that). A person, who thanks to seeing her father go through depression (because of his alcoholism), was able to recognise her own destructive behaviour, and stop it. The only way that my Dad was able to get the help he needed was for him to admit he needed help and the support that we gave him. Its very hard at the time, the Detox before going into treatment was horrible. To see this strong man completely breakdown is hard, but totally worth it. Its definitely not an easy road to travel down for the person getting treatment and also the family, but in the long run its totally worth it. That’s some of my story and if I can help anyone I would be honoured. Please, if you have any questions I would love to be able to help. I wish all the families of people that have a drinking problem the strength to help them get better, for me I would do it again in a heartbeat if I had to, its definitely worth it.
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I sympathise with your story, my Father is also an alcoholic. Since i was born. He has never wanted to change and has always chosen alcohol over caring for his three children. My Mam has always worked so hard to encourage us, educate us and provide a happy home for us even though it has always been a struggle. My Father has always been a character and I know he loves us very much, But he chose to live his life in denial and by doing so has lost out on so many vital and precious memories of his children growing up, his wife loving him and much more. I used to feel confused as to why he did'nt love us enough to stop. He has recently turned 70 years old and lives on his own, I have finished college and my two brothers live their lives. One of my brothers lives 10 minutes away from him and In comparison to my 100 miles away I visit my Dad more. He recieved birthday cards from friends and family but none from his two sons, fathers day the same. i feel guilty and sad every time I see him. I understand that my brothers need to be educated and talk about the situation to move on but I also understand that they have lived through it longer than I have and have memories of opening christmas presents wrapped in rice crispy cereal boxes as we had no money. It also saddens me that my children one day wont ever know of their grandfather the comic, but from pictures will just see a mans decline. I often wonder who will walk me down the isle all those kinda silly things. Anyway, Its good to hear other peoples stories on the subject, for that I am grateful.
Thanks
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Wow, it's really touching and moving to hear all of these stories. My heart goes out to all of you because i know that it can be very difficult living with a father like that or at least someone who is in your family who is not able to participate in the lives of his own kids. I hope that you all are coping well (it sounds like you are!) and that you'er all doing well. If anyone else has a story to share, it would be great to hear. Thanks again.
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I dont kno why im writing this either i guess just to get it off my chest. im 12 and my parents have been drinking for as long as i can remember. my siblings say they werent horrible when they actually got along. I dont mind that much when my dad drinks because even if hes stupid hes at least happy. on the other hand my mom just gets pissed off, stupid and doesnt consider my sibs or my feelings. She always says something along the lines of 'i can stop when i want to' or 'when my buisness is better' and she doesnt even when it is better on the contrary she drinks more. My sister when she is at home constantly gets into fights with mom. They dont physically abuse us it just hurts in a way. i dont wont to be like my parents and get drunk and if i dont like my husband im not going to use my kids as an excuse to not leave him.
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