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-   -   If your live with an Alcoholic and have children in the home. (https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/friends-family-alcoholics/248405-if-your-live-alcoholic-have-children-home.html)

Willybluedog 02-09-2012 12:55 PM

If your live with an Alcoholic and have children in the home.
 
There have been some posts of late by people that have felt mistreated by others on this board because of recommendations to leave your alcoholic for the sake of your children.

I keep reading statements of "there is not abuse", I am here to tell you as an ACOA, there may not be physical abuse, there may not be beatings, but there is a ton of research to back me up, your children will be or are being affected by this.

Will they grow up and become an alcoholic or drug addict, or grow up to marry one, the odds are that yes one of those will probably occur. Will they try to overcompensate or withdraw or act out, again the odds are yes.

I am sorry that you are offended by our experiences, I don't believe there is a person here who is here to intentionally hurt another, I believe we as a group are here to try and help ourselves and to help each other.

There are days when I just cannot climb that hill alone, so I reach out and someone grabs my hand and pulls me up, we don't let each other fall if we can do anything at all to help it.

I am sitting here with tears in my eyes typing this because I am so sad for you and your situation, and I am sad for your children, I never want them to have to go through what I have gone through, what so many of us have gone through.

At Christmastime every year, they show Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and they get to The Island of Misfit Toys, and I would be so sad because that's where I felt I belonged, I knew even as a little kid that I was damaged goods and that nobody wanted me!:c021:

Again, I am sorry that you are hurt or offended, but that won't stop me from reaching out to you, praying for you and your children, and telling my story, you see I am a survivor and in spite of all that was done to me, I will go on.

To all my friends here, thank you so much for all you have done for me, my heart swells when I tell people about you guys and gals.:c011:

Big hugs,

Bill

inpieces314 02-09-2012 01:03 PM

My grandfather is an alcoholic, almost 4 years in recovery now. He drank my mother's entire childhood away, and she is very angry about it, and he is very avoidant about it, and they just don't discuss it. Things are better now than they were at one point when he was actively drinking. My mother refuses to talk about what he did to her and my grandmother and my uncle (both of them are dead now), which I guess makes me even angrier that A. I would be stupid enough to love an alcoholic because I know the damage it can cause, and B. that she seems to take my boyfriend's (ex?) side all the time, knowing that I have two children myself and they are doomed to live the same childhood she did if something doesn't change. I agree though, I can see it now in the 5 year old, he asks when daddy is coming home and why isn't he here and why is he sick and why is he in trouble and when is he going to the hospital to get better? I am starting to think I will go insane with all the questions. Children don't realize that they aren't at fault, especially when all they see is damage and destruction everywhere they look. And I will be the first to tell you, when I am screaming at my (ex) boyfriend about the drinking, I don't look to see who is listening. I guarantee my 5 year old is, every time. And it hurts me knowing I hurt him.

LaTeeDa 02-09-2012 01:07 PM

Thanks for posting this Bill. I feel the same way. I was raised in a alcoholic home and I'm still dealing with the fallout at the ripe old age of 49+! My father (the alcoholic) was not abusive and I rarely saw him drunk. My mother, on the other hand, was an angry codependent obsessed with my father and his drinking/whereabouts. I suffered way more at the hands of an absent/obsessed/frustrated/angry mom than I ever did at the hands of an alcoholic father.

I just shake my head when someone posts how they "protect' their kids from the truth. Or how he never drinks around them, or they never see him drunk. It affects them, whether you admit it or not.

L

whatamess 02-09-2012 01:08 PM

I can totally understand that kids are affected by living with an alcoholic but I am trying to find out more for my own children's sake. At what age do you become aware? When do you realise there is something wrong? How does the child behave or feel as a result?

LaTeeDa 02-09-2012 01:14 PM

Gosh, I have memories of something being wrong as early as 3. How I felt was unimportant. Everything in the home revolved around my dad. Behaviors I developed were perfectionism, stuffing my feelings, keeping to myself, fear of upsetting *either* of my parents.

Just a tip of the iceberg. Google Adult Children of Alcoholics for more info.....

L

NeedHappiness 02-09-2012 01:26 PM

Thank you for your post Bill..... sometimes the truth is not always what we WANT to hear..... thus the saying "Take what you want and leave the rest". I'm sure there are many of us who "vaguely" remember that something was wrong when we were young. I doubt there is a magic age where kids know what's wrong.... you just KNOW something ins't right.

lillamy 02-09-2012 01:54 PM

Children may learn from the sober parent and become perfect little codependents who completely wipe out their own wishes and desires and sees it as their role in life to make sure everyone else is happy. I have one of those.

Children may learn from the drinking parent and become bullies who use their anger and put-downs to get what they want, and to put their wishes and desires ahead of everyone and anyone else's, regardless of how miserable it makes the people they love. I have one of those.

Mine are not yet of dating or substance-abusing age, so I don't yet know what choices they will make there, based on their early life experience. They've been diagnosed with PTSD. They're in therapy. It will be with them their entire lives. That, I know.

As for when they start noticing? An infant notices being screamed at or lifted roughly or ignored. And after that it only gets worse.

LaTeeDa 02-09-2012 01:55 PM

To this day, mine thinks she is the perfect mother as well. How I find compassion for her is in knowing that she was raised by someone exactly like herself. Her behavior was learned, not intentionally cruel. Even so, I can still only stomach very limited contact with her.

L

nodaybut2day 02-09-2012 02:08 PM

You have echoed my feelings exactly Bill, and I thank you for the straight-forwardness of your post.

I too tend to be a bit...passionate in my assertions that when there are children in these insane situations, they need to be our first and foremost focus. I know full well how horribly terrifying it is to leave a situation where there is addiction or abuse, but then I can't help but think of the little ones, who deserve at least one happy parent and a sane and SAFE home.

Even though I left when DD was only 15 months old, I still wonder if her current behaviour is the result of the first 20 something months of her life being so tumultuous, and of course, I feel terrible guilt so not leaving when I was pregnant. I only hope that posting my story gives someone the NEWSFLASH HP granted me, which helped me get moving and get out the door.

skippernlilg 02-09-2012 02:24 PM

Bill, I remember the Island of Misfit Toys, and I also thought I belonged there!! You and I have had much of the same experience. I, too, may come across very passionately about this subject, and I wish I could apologize for my passion on this, but I just can't.

Denial never got my family anywhere. Either then or now.

Willybluedog 02-09-2012 02:32 PM

whatamess,

I remember distinctly being 5, my bedroom was on the other end of the house from the bathroom, I had to cross thorugh the living room (where my dad, the enabler, & physical abuser) was trying to watch the news, by the kitchen where my mother would stand and drink and crab at my father. This was a mine field of epic proportions, I would wait untol I was about to pee my pants and try and ninja my way through without being noticed, never failed, mom would set dad off, they would start arguing and I would be right in the crossfire, soon it was my fault, often either a beating, a swift kick in the pants, or some nasty comment would follow, stupid, not good enough, too noisy, too moody, it did not matter, it could be my fault that vietnam was going bad that day or the sun was too bright. I tried to stay outside as long as I could, I hated winter because I would be forced in by dark or cold, I had a little tree in my yard that I sat in, I could read, or dream about not being the cause of all our problems, it never really got better until I got old enough to work and drive.

Kids assume everything is their fault, telling them otherwise is pointless, the only thing you can do is model the best behavior you can, I don't know which is worse violent enbaler/co-dependent or acid tongued alcoholic, I would have gladly traded Monty Hall for what was behind door number 3.

Willybluedog 02-09-2012 02:37 PM

skipper,

As the victim of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, as well as severe bullying I will never ever apologize for my passion about protecting kids.

I am a firm believer that child molesters cannot be rehabilitated and should be executed, and child abusers derserve to be horse-whipped.

skippernlilg 02-09-2012 02:41 PM

I remember when I was 4 years old, my mom loading my brother, 2 years old, and me into the car with a bottle of vodka or gin in the back seat where she could reach it, and going out searching endlessly all over town late at night looking for my bio-dad.

He was usually found in a bar, and we would witness confrontation after confrontation.

My mom thought we were asleep (as well we should have been).

That is the most outstanding early memory, but I have thousands more.

The begging, the pleading, the crying. (my mother).

The silences, pregnant with tension.
The inability to ask a simple question of either parent at any given time, no matter our natural childish curiosity. The inability to wish for a Barbie or any toy because we could overhear our parents 'discussing' whether money should or should not be spent on liquor/beer.

Mom being so excited that Dad wasn't drinking and thinking that she had to reconnect with him, FINALLY, and pushing us aside once again.

Our entire focus was on the alcoholism. Everything was his way or the highway, just to keep peace, whether anyone 'said' it or not....we knew.

This lasted well through my 20s.

lillamy 02-09-2012 03:07 PM

The hardest part of the post-divorce journey for me has been seeing the effect of alcoholism on my children. These little people that I would die for in a heartbeat, and that I yet chose to not protect. That guilt will never go away.

My oldest (who is out of the home and alcohol and drug free and not dating because "relationships seem to just not be worth the problems they bring") said to me, "I know you wanted to protect us, but the fact is, you didn't. I know you couldn't. I don't blame you. But the effect on us children is the same. We know you love us and want the best for us. But the fact that you were an adult who could have prevented all that bullsh*t and you didn't is still there. I don't blame you for it. You did the best you could. But it will always hurt that your love for us wasn't bigger than your fear for so many years."

ColetteTocca 02-09-2012 03:18 PM

Hugs to you lilamy

tjp613 02-09-2012 03:27 PM


Originally Posted by lillamy (Post 3275569)
The hardest part of the post-divorce journey for me has been seeing the effect of alcoholism on my children. These little people that I would die for in a heartbeat, and that I yet chose to not protect. That guilt will never go away.

My oldest (who is out of the home and alcohol and drug free and not dating because "relationships seem to just not be worth the problems they bring") said to me, "I know you wanted to protect us, but the fact is, you didn't. I know you couldn't. I don't blame you. But the effect on us children is the same. We know you love us and want the best for us. But the fact that you were an adult who could have prevented all that bullsh*t and you didn't is still there. I don't blame you for it. You did the best you could. But it will always hurt that your love for us wasn't bigger than your fear for so many years."

ouch. :c020:

tjp613 02-09-2012 03:37 PM

I remember being 3 or 4, at home with my mom during the day...she was a great mom, but very distracted and obviously obsessed with trying to keep my alcoholic father happy so that he wouldn't verbally/emotionally abuse her or cheat on her (again). I remember the mood would shift abruptly when dad got home...we all walked on eggshells and on our very best behavior.

I was terrified of the dark. My dad knew this. He locked me in a dark room and held the door closed (as punishment for some horrible misdeed, I'm sure). I had to be very young -- I couldn't even reach the light switch. I just remember that it seemed like forever as I was wailing and pounding on the door--screaming at the top of my lungs and I couldn't breathe I was crying so hard. I was deathly afraid. I distinctly remember being so very confused & heartbroken that my mother didn't come rescue me. :( I remember that night like it was yesterday.

He died when I was 8.

Willybluedog 02-09-2012 03:53 PM

tjp613,

so sorry, I hope you will try EMDR therapy if you have not already, it has been a huge help to me in placing those type of memories in the drawer of a 4-5-6 year old where they belong.

lillamy 02-09-2012 03:58 PM

Thanks. I love and need hugs. :)
My oldest is right, though. Accepting that you've made choices that harmed those you love the most is something I have in common with all alcoholics. And to some extent, it helps me understand how hard it is for them to make amends. How painful it is for those who do get sober and choose recovery to live with that.


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