My dad is still a functioning alcoholic nearly 20 years later - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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Old 10-28-2017, 06:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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My dad is still a functioning alcoholic nearly 20 years later


Probably since I was about 6 years old my dad has been an alcoholic--I say from the birth of my youngest brother, but I'm not sure. He didn't beat us, but he did get physical a few times. Once threw the middle sibling on concrete and also lifted and pinned him by the neck, screaming in his face. Once nearly knocked me out of the parked car because he was mad about something about me going to Sunday school? I can't remember why he was ever mad, but I'm sure that it never made sense. As a kid I tried to make sense of it, but I know better now.

He got away with it and it was at its worst when my mom had really bad hours at work. She would work all weekend, so I loathed the weekends. It meant spending all weekend scared, feeling anxious. It meant having to spend it all with him, and I would be the mediator because I was the oldest. Our mom also worked from the time our dad got home until very late at night, so he could get drunk after work and do whatever he felt like. Drive drunk with us in it, tell us horrible stories, claim that he fed us dinner already and I would have to remind him that he didn't, etc.

Of course our mom must've suspected this for a long time but I guess she was too scared to ask her little kids "is something wrong with Dad?" But when we were much older and when I was naive enough to think that our dad was getting better, me and the middle brother had more honest conversations with her about it.

I was always close with my mom and spent many hours talking with her when she wasn't working. But I was also scared of her sometimes because she took out her anxiety and stress on us, and often put too much pressure on me. Growing up and being an adult now, I realise that she was just extremely unhappy with her life and had an endless ocean of bitterness towards our dad. She had moved away from her family when she married him and I never remember her having many friends growing up. I don't think she ever told her family about our dad--I think she was too embarrassed to let people find out what was happening at home. I think all of us thought that if we just didn't talk about it, it wasn't really happening.

When I finally moved away from home for school I felt a deep guilt to leave my younger brothers. I felt like I was their protector and I was abandoning them. Being further away did make me less aware of how bad the situation remained at home, but it didn't help any of the leftover baggage I had. I've realised I have trust issues--big surprise, since my dad to this day has never admitted to me that he has a drinking problem. I also have a nagging guilt over being disgusted by my dad, and also wanting to pretend that reality is not reality and he is fine. Even when I think everything is the most fine at home--when I go back home to visit, he always puts on a good act for me, the guest--I can't act normal with him. I want to constantly tax him for what he's done to our family. We've never been allowed to be normal. My little brother shouldn't have take away his keys because he's too drunk to drive to the bank. More than angry for what he's done to me, I'm angry for how he's destroyed his relationships with his sons and for what he's done to our mother, his wife. Sometimes I wish she would just leave him--but it terrifies me, because then it would be real.

For a long time I not only decided for myself to never drink, I demanded those around me to feel the same. I even broke up with a boyfriend over him drinking two beers--we were underage, but of course that's a ridiculous expectation to have of another human being; that they should carry your baggage too. I felt physically nauseous and ill whenever I was around guys drinking, and it wasn't until I was finally convinced by some friends to try socially drinking for myself did I realise that humans can actually enjoy and be normal when drinking. Since my mom was too scared to ever have alcohol in the house (of course our dad sneaked it in all the time,) I never was around adults drinking in a typical way. That was a pretty big break through for me, and I've slowly been able to accept what is and is not normal behaviour regarding alcohol.

I'm not sure exactly why I'm writing this, but I already feel better having done so. I've never written down what I really think, or this story of ours at all. Only scribbled "I HATE YOU!!!!!"s all over my childhood notebooks, screaming for him to care. The saga is still ongoing--just tonight I had to have a video call with my mom interrupted by "drunk dad". But of course, he will claim later that our mom somehow had prevented him from being a part of the call--he is the most paranoid and manipulative person I've ever known. I'm sick of this being what is hurting our family and stunting us. But it still scares me to death that this is a reality we must all face. I wish I could make it all go away for my family, but it won't and we have to deal with the consequences.

Thank you for reading, and I guess I'm really just wondering who all can relate to these things and what happened to you? I've been impressed with the wisdom and understanding from the posts here. I hope that you all find some peace.
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Old 10-28-2017, 07:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi, 749.
Welcome to SR and for sharing your story.
I can certainly understand your anger and lack of trust.
My dad was a drinker, and weekends could be tough.
We learned to stay away from him as much as we could.
My younger sib is alcohol addicted. He lives with my mother.
He is just like my father when he’s drunk.
All I can tell you is, you are not your father.
Or your mother.
You are you, and you are more than enough.
One thing that helps me make sense of the past is to journal in longhand.
It clears my head and helps me with insights.
Al-Anon is a good, supportive group that has helped a lot of people.
You might want to check out a meeting.
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Old 10-29-2017, 06:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Maudcat, thank you very much for reaching out and also sharing briefly your story. I think maybe I could start journalling about all of this, but I've never felt the urge to even write about it until last night. I wonder if it might help like you said.

Do they have international meetings? Unfortunately, I work outside of the US. But maybe sometime when I go back to visit I could give it a try.
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Old 10-29-2017, 07:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Al-Anon is global, and there is online support as well.
Good luck.
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Old 10-29-2017, 12:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I can relate.
I grew up with an violent, abusive, drunk father. He used to beat my mother up when he was drunk and we spent most of our childhood trying to tiptoe around him trying not to upset him. I am one of three children and my two brothers have nothing to do with him, I am the only one who is in contact with him now.
Unlike you, my parents are no longer married and I suppose because he is my father, that is the only reason I still bother with him.
But to this day, he takes no responsibility for his past behaviour and I realise that I can't pretend any longer with him.
Like you, I am so angry and I don't really understand why now, why the anger hasn't materialised sooner. In fact it isn't even anger it's pure rage and hate towards him.
I feel real guilt about it but I have decided to stop all contact with him now, I am walking away for good this time.
I wrote down my feelings in a letter to him but I didn't send it, then I ripped it into as many pieces as I could. It helped, that and talking about it to people who do care about me.
You need to let the anger out, otherwise it just eats away at you.
I feel for you, I really do. It will not be so easy for you to walk away because of your family.
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Old 10-29-2017, 02:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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... Do they have international meetings? ...
Here is the link to Al-Anon

https://al-anon.org/

On the menu bar near the top of the page, hover over the "Al-Anon Meetings". It will show you a link to "Worlwide Al-Anon", as well as "Virtual Meetings" that can be done over the web or even by telephone.

Mike
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Old 10-30-2017, 12:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You need to let the anger out, otherwise it just eats away at you.
I feel for you, I really do. It will not be so easy for you to walk away because of your family.
Thank you Culture, for sharing. I wish you peace, I'm glad you've been able to take steps that you think are best for you.

I think I've always been angry at my dad, but I was able to suppress it. Even now, I'm still struggling to look back and believe what's really happened to my family. I want to do what's best to keep the largest part of my family happy and I think that means supporting my mom and brothers who still have to put up with my dad on a daily basis. Whatever they choose to do, is up to them but I need to learn to not always take on unnecessary responsibility/guilt and try and be mediator always. I'm allowed to have my own moments to express how I feel. I think you're right that I need to give myself an outlet for this anger or it will get worse. Thank you for your thoughts.
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Old 10-30-2017, 12:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Here is the link to Al-Anon
Thank you Mike, unfortunately they do not have physical meetings within a close enough distance to me but I will consider virtual meetings instead. Thanks for the link.
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Old 10-31-2017, 01:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Your post really resonated me, I think because I have similar relationships with my family members where the trauma was never fully addressed. I hope you can heal. sending you internet hugs!
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Old 10-31-2017, 08:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Your post really resonated me, I think because I have similar relationships with my family members where the trauma was never fully addressed. I hope you can heal. sending you internet hugs!
Thank you nsyap, I hope you'll be able to heal as well!
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Old 11-01-2017, 01:54 AM   #11 (permalink)
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How are you today?
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