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Alcoholism is a FAMILY disease.

Old 02-25-2002, 08:56 PM
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Post Alcoholism is a FAMILY disease.

Just had a few thoughts to add here...

My dad was not a violent, abusive drunk. I adored him. He had the greatest sense of humor and the greatest stories. I loved him deeply. My relationship with my mom on the other hand suffered greatly due to my dad's alcoholism.

I was the 6th of 6 kids. By the time I was born, my dad's alcoholism had escalated and my mom had become a depressed, angry, resentful woman. That's the person she was all the while I was growing up, but I don't think she started out that way. I think that's who she BECAME after years of emotional abuse (lack of affection and care from her husband), verbal abuse (she'd try to "fix" him by pointing out his alcoholsim which he always responded NEGATIVELY to), and having to be the sole-financial provider for our home because my dad saved "his" money for booze. This is a woman who only had an 8th grade education yet she was the only reason we had food on the table, a roof over our head and clothes on our backs.

My parents never divorced. My mom kept nagging, my dad kept drinking. She became more bitter, he drank more.

About 6 years ago, my dad got really sick. (He'd hadn't drank in over a year by then.) The diagnosis was lung cancer. Because my dad was a war veteran, he went to a Veteran's hospital about 6 hours from our home. He lived there for approximately 9 months during his chemo treatments and recuperation time. The doctors thought it would be better for his recuperation if he went home between sets of chemo treatments, but my mom didn't want him to come home. She said she didn't want to take care of him...it was too much stress for her to be around him constantly, so he stayed at the hospital alone for most of those 9 months.

Toward the end of his life, he requested to go home. He just wanted to go home. An aunt of mine decided he should get his last wish so she drove him all the way back home. He spent his last few weeks in a hospital not far from his home. He passed away 10 minutes before my mom and my nephew arrived to see him that last night. He died all alone.

I was so angry with my mom for not having any compassion, for not loving him, for not caring, for not taking care of him. I was angry but I never told her. I kept it all inside because as cold as my mom appeared to be, she really has a heart of gold and is super-sensitive to everything. I just think that a lifetime of living with an active alcoholic choked out every ounce of love and compassion she could have had for him.

I wish my mom had had the opportunity to go to Al-Anon and had a safe place to release all that hurt and anger. Things could have been so much better despite the alcoholism if she had been able to take care of her own needs. Instead she made sure everyone else's needs were taken care of...including the alcoholic's... and she grew to resent it and him.


Thanks for letting me share that.

Heels
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Old 02-26-2002, 02:12 AM
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Dear Heels,

I have a question. Isn't the relationship between a husband and wife their business and not the children's? Do the children have to carry that burden? I know that their relationship affects the children, but when and where do they let go?

I was battered by my children's father. There are so many horrible things that happened between us that I will never let my children know about. Am I wrong? I have never demeaned their father to them.

Help!

Love, Pickle

PS

Looks like more than one question!

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Old 02-26-2002, 04:23 AM
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I do find myself getting bitter and resentful at times but I NEVER say this to our son. I have been as compassionate as possible to H since his relapse 4 years ago- visiting him in the detoxes (he is a veteran also and went to the VA), visiting him in the residential treatment program, taking care of the million details of running a house/selling a house (at that time we were selling another house we had), full emotional support for him, etc. I do love him and when he is his loving self he makes my heart all warm and fuzzy. I do try to take care of myself too- I work out (probably not enough!!) at a gym, I read,and I see my girlfriends when I can but they are fairly busy with their own families and non-A husbands. My son is the center of my world and I want to do everything I can to give him a happy, balanced childhood. I'm sorry your Mom was so unloving and bitter with you- I can't even fathom trying to take care of 6 children and be the sole provider. I had always said to myself (before we got married) that marriage is forever;you love your soul mate forever;you work thru difficult times etc- so I am dissapointed in myself for even thinking about whether we should split up or not. But everyone has their limits and I guess I didn't realize exactly what marriage to an A entailed. MK
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Old 02-26-2002, 10:18 AM
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Hey Heels,

If she had gone to Al-Anon, she might have also found the courage to leave your Dad. I left my ex, and he died in a river a year later. I went to that city to pick up a truck that he had failed to pay a loan on(in our name), but didn't go to the funeral. Al-Anon doesn't necessarily help you love someone again. It helps me love myself for who I am, and retain my self-esteem in the face of someone who is trying to knock it down. I really admire women who can live with active alcoholics and still be happy, because I have yet to be able to do that.

Love,
Happy
 
Old 02-26-2002, 03:37 PM
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Boy.. there's a lot there to answer.

First, today my relationship with my mom is great. I love her dearly, always have. She wasn't a cruel person. She was just very unhappy and had difficulty showing affection. I rarely remember hearing the words "I love you" or getting hug from her, but I knew she loved me. Her anger was mostly directed at my dad. She had her good times too, but overall she was a very unhappy lady.

Second, I'm no expert on what does and does not effect children in life. All I know is what I've experienced in my own childhood and by what I've heard of other people's childhoods. As parents we do our best to shield our children from hurt and pain, but reality is children are very perceptive and intuitive. They're like little sponges that soak up everything in their environment, including tension and emotions.

I don't know the answer to your questions Pickle. I just know that there's lots of things I thought I was doing a great job of covering up with my daughter only to have her question me about those things months later. Kids are extremely smart these days. If you have any doubts or questions about that, I'd start reading up on the effects of domestic violence on kids. There's tons of material available on the subject.

(I found this link. I think it has some good information: http://www.lgcms.com.au/Kids&dv.htm )

Happy: As for Al-Anon... do I think that my mother would have left my dad if she'd gone to the meetings? Not necessarily. She has deep roots in Catholicism, but who knows. I just think she'd have been able to love herself and found happiness within herself instead of letting alcoholism control her life. Happiness has little to do with the other person in your life. It's all inside of you. Sometimes you have dig way deep to find it. (I'm still shoveling here myself.)

Meredith: I admire your strength and love of self. A large percentage of partners of alcoholics devote all their time to taking care of the alcoholic and making sure the rest of the family is okay, with little regard for their own well-being. If you're mostly content with your life as it is, that is fabulous. Only you can determine if and when you need to make any changes.

Peace & Prayers

Heels

[This message has been edited by HellOn2Heels (edited February 26, 2002).]

[This message has been edited by HellOn2Heels (edited February 26, 2002).]
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Old 02-27-2002, 05:56 AM
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Dear Heels,

Thank you for your answer. What I pickup is being honest with ourselves and others.

To this day my mother has never hugged me or said I love you and I am 68! She is 89 and has nothing to do with her grandchildren, great grandchildren or me. God, I don't want to go out that way, lonely and bitter.Talk about letting go!

I am so blessed that I can love unconditionally. AA gave me that.

Thank you,

Love, Pickle

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Old 02-27-2002, 06:14 PM
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Pickles:

It's so great to hear another success story.

I'm curious how long you and your husband were together before you finally decided to leave, and what was the turning point for you?

Heels
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Old 02-27-2002, 07:41 PM
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Hi Pickle:
Pernell is posting some GREAT infor look at n/a site & read clancys thread on addictive personality, very very interesting information; u may want to print it out.

Be Blessed
Gold is blessed & Best
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