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Very specific question for any of you who has/had an alcoholic father - Page 2

post #21 of 67
My dad was an alcoholic. He died 12 years ago. He and my mom stayed married until he died.. but they were miserable. I heard about his being physically abusive towards her after he died. I never witnessed it. He was a mean drunk in most cases and he may not have been physically abusive to me, although he was to my sister and brother---but he was emotionally abusive. He'd say things that touched the soul and he made life miserable. He stopped working when I was about 12 and went on total disability after a car accident- he was drunk at the time. The memories I have from childhood scarred me for life. After my kids were born he was told that if he was drinking he wouldn't be able to attend celebrations, holidays, etc. My children did not need to have their events ruined by what it's like having a drunk in attendance. He would get out of bed at 5am and start drinking even before the coffee was ready.. he didn't stop until he went to bed at night. If he was drinking beer, it was at least 24 cans a day, if it was something else- it would be vodka- at 1/2 gallon a day!
I wished my parents had divorced when I was young... but that didn't happen. My sister is and has been a drug addict/alcoholic since she was 12- including dealing from the time she was 14. My brother passed away from heart disease at 21. I haven't spoken to my sister in more than 7 years and have no desire to... she wants to blame everyone and everything for the way she is. I don't drink or smoke and have never done illegal/recreational drugs and have no interest in it.
No child should have to live with an alcoholic parent under any circumstances- whether you think they're abusive or not- they don't deserve it.
post #22 of 67
I am sorry you and your family are going through this. I am not the child of an alcoholic, but my dd is.

My ex was never verbally or physically abusive, at all, but the emotinal abuse/damage happened all the same.

True alcoholism is a terrible disease that ravages entire families, not just the alcoholic. It is progressive, as well, getting worse over time.

Read carefully the previous posters and notice how many of them talk about their mothers being worse than their alcoholic fathers. That's not a coincidence. Being the signficant other of an alcoholic does horrific mental damage. I had no idea the kind of reactions I could have to someone being drunk... that wasn't ME, but that level of constant stress and disappointment are so unbelievably overwhelming that I can't imagine how I lived that way, even for the short time that I did it.

Yes, divorce is awful... and I've not been in exactly your shoes, because my ex pulled the final drunken straws that I could handle while I was still pregnant (getting a DUI which had him in jail when dd was born, and very nearly drinking himself to death), so my dd has never really known him, but I can't imagine anything worse for a child than living with parents who are in that kind of dynamic. My ex has an older daughter from his first marriage, I had full legal custody of her for awhile, through social services, after the DUI incident -- the difference in our house when he was gone was so palpable you could TASTE it, and he was never even in any way mean to any of us. He was either the sweetest, funniest, most caring guy in the world -- or he was passed out drunk on the floor.

I never wanted to be that horribly unhappy, frustrated, angry, ugly person around my daughter that I found myself becoming with him around. And that is who wives of alcoholics become. The lies, the denial, the wondering if you're crazy because someone you love is looking you in the face telling you he hasn't touched a drop of alcohol, even though you (are pretty sure you) can smell it, and his eyes are off (aren't they?), and his speech is slurred (he doesn't always talk like that, right?), and that bottle of vodka you just found in the couch cushions must have been there for months... he didn't even know it was there (is it possible?)... can't you just appreciate that he did all the laundry and let him take a nap? And seriously, if he's going to be accused of drinking anyway, maybe he should just go do it!

If it's even approaching bad, don't subject your kids and yourself to that. I know it's hard. 2 1/2 years later my ex STILL calls to tell me he's in love with me and wants to see us, and that he's sorry, and that he knows he "screwed up," and he'll do anything to make it right. He never actually follows through, and he's still drinking (although he swears he's not), and he just lost the only job he's had in 18 months -- he kept it for a month.
post #23 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by denimtiger View Post
Read carefully the previous posters and notice how many of them talk about their mothers being worse than their alcoholic fathers. That's not a coincidence. Being the signficant other of an alcoholic does horrific mental damage. I had no idea the kind of reactions I could have to someone being drunk... that wasn't ME, but that level of constant stress and disappointment are so unbelievably overwhelming that I can't imagine how I lived that way, even for the short time that I did it.
This. I hadn't mentioned it before, but I was a complete...UAV during the last year or two of my first marriage. I shudder to think of some of the words ds1 heard from me, and the behaviour he saw from me. My mom wasn't as bad, but she sure yelled (not at us) a lot more when she was still with my dad, and was just generally kind of nuts. She's said the same herself. It was very unpleasant.
post #24 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
This. I hadn't mentioned it before, but I was a complete...UAV during the last year or two of my first marriage. I shudder to think of some of the words ds1 heard from me, and the behaviour he saw from me. My mom wasn't as bad, but she sure yelled (not at us) a lot more when she was still with my dad, and was just generally kind of nuts. She's said the same herself. It was very unpleasant.
Hrmmm DH's opinion is, his dad was a drunk/drug addict because he lived with his mom. His theory was if he was married to his mom he would be a drunk too.

His dad has been clean and sober since we have been married.. back in their chuck.. ect.. he never contacts us.. or our kids.. and he tried to commit suicide a few weeks before DS was born. He claimed DH never told him I was pregnant but I was standing right there when he did.

Personally I think there is a tendency for depression that runs along that side of the family and I believe his dad was self medicating.
post #25 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by aniT View Post
Hrmmm DH's opinion is, his dad was a drunk/drug addict because he lived with his mom. His theory was if he was married to his mom he would be a drunk too.
I think it can go two ways, really. I know women who claim all their problems are about the way their partner drinks, but they're still horrible after the breakup...and I also know women (like me!) who are much, much, much nicer after getting the drunk/addict out of their lives.

Quote:
Personally I think there is a tendency for depression that runs along that side of the family and I believe his dad was self medicating.
That's definitely where my own adolescent drinking and drug use came from, although I certainly didn't realize it at the time.
post #26 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by aniT View Post
Hrmmm DH's opinion is, his dad was a drunk/drug addict because he lived with his mom. His theory was if he was married to his mom he would be a drunk too.



Personally I think there is a tendency for depression that runs along that side of the family and I believe his dad was self medicating.

Plenty of drunks shift the blame to their wives this way. You can't live with an alcoholic and be healthy. You can't imagine what it feels like, and you internalize the excuses and the blame, too. And other people (your kids sometimes -- like your dh does to his mom) feed it right back to you.

My ex is self-medicating serious depression and PTSD, acquired from serving his country in two battle zones -- it's still the alcoholism that has killed his life and devastated his children. There's no excuse for it, it just is.
post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by denimtiger View Post
Plenty of drunks shift the blame to their wives this way. You can't live with an alcoholic and be healthy. You can't imagine what it feels like, and you internalize the excuses and the blame, too. And other people (your kids sometimes -- like your dh does to his mom) feed it right back to you.
I agree with you, but not every woman (or man, for that matter) married to a drunk is a wonderful person aside from dealing with the drunk. Sometimes, the drunk's partner/spouse is a really toxic person in their own right. That doesn't mean they should have to live with a drunk, and it doesn't mean the drinking is okay or the partner's fault, or anything else. After something I saw go down a few years ago, I just have limited patience with the apparently widespread belief that the partners/spouses of drunks/addicts are all just wonderful people, who are just suffering the crazy-making behaviour that addicts/alcoholics manifest. Some addicts/alcoholics are partnered with people who are really just not very nice.

Quote:
My ex is self-medicating serious depression and PTSD, acquired from serving his country in two battle zones -- it's still the alcoholism that has killed his life and devastated his children. There's no excuse for it, it just is.
I'm sorry.
post #28 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I agree with you, but not every woman (or man, for that matter) married to a drunk is a wonderful person aside from dealing with the drunk. Sometimes, the drunk's partner/spouse is a really toxic person in their own right. That doesn't mean they should have to live with a drunk, and it doesn't mean the drinking is okay or the partner's fault, or anything else. After something I saw go down a few years ago, I just have limited patience with the apparently widespread belief that the partners/spouses of drunks/addicts are all just wonderful people, who are just suffering the crazy-making behaviour that addicts/alcoholics manifest. Some addicts/alcoholics are partnered with people who are really just not very nice.


You're right, and I didn't mean to imply that they are all wonderful people in their own right. Certainly, I would think, people with their own issues are at least a little more likely to find themselves in relationships with addicts. However, it's the blaming issue that I'm sensitive about. People don't become alcoholics because their spouses are crazy. People don't start (or continue) drinking their lives into oblivion because of choices their spouses make ... those are excuses an alcoholic makes to keep from making the choice to get better.

Drunks can be married to toxic people just as anyone can, it's just not ever an excuse for being a drunk.
post #29 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by denimtiger View Post
Plenty of drunks shift the blame to their wives this way. You can't live with an alcoholic and be healthy. You can't imagine what it feels like, and you internalize the excuses and the blame, too. And other people (your kids sometimes -- like your dh does to his mom) feed it right back to you.

My ex is self-medicating serious depression and PTSD, acquired from serving his country in two battle zones -- it's still the alcoholism that has killed his life and devastated his children. There's no excuse for it, it just is.
Naw... his mom is crazy. And DH's dad never blames his ex wife.. DH does. I have been at family gatherings for that side and DH's aunts and uncles and even his grandma will talk smack about his mom but his dad never ever says a word. He tells DH he has to be nice to his mom, shes been through so much.. blah blah yada yada.
post #30 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by denimtiger View Post
Drunks can be married to toxic people just as anyone can, it's just not ever an excuse for being a drunk.
Agreed.
post #31 of 67
Another child of an alcoholic here. I wouldn't say my dad was abusive to us kids as such.. but when he was drunk, he seemed to lose the ability to realise what was "too far" - he would unintentionally hurt feelings. He was abusive to my mother. She was pretty much forced to be a hermit, she was bullied. She ended up trying to commit suicide. She didn't succeed (thank god) and a few years later, we all moved away, leaving dad alone. My mother remarried another guy pretty quickly, and he was a bigger jerk.

My parents are back together now (though they have not remarried) and their relationship has been going from strength to strength by living apart. My mother has 4 of her 6 children living with each other (four girls - 18, 6 and twin infants) and says that while she loves my father and wants to work things out for good, she doesn't think it's fair to make her kids witness it daily.

I wish they'd always lived apart, honestly. My dad was always there but absent, which left a disgusting atmosphere in the house. I didn't like it one bit.
post #32 of 67
Thread Starter 
Your stories are giving me so much to think about, ty so much
post #33 of 67
Can I be the minority here and say I wish my parents were still together?? My father has a host of mental issues including depression and alcoholism, he finally went to AA and has been sober since I was 12. My parents still had marital troubles (mainly the lost communication and drifted apart) and when I was 18 they divorced (like others have said, they wanted to stay together for me) when they divorced my mom went a little crazy and married some new guy right away who took all her divorce money and left her penny-less, so she moved into her parents house (which was a blessing really becuase they could no longer care for themselves anymore since they were becoming so elderly) she was ssooooo unhappy--- I htink in retrospect if my stupid parents could have really worked it out and seriously considered me (I'm an only child) they would BOTH be much happy then they are now. I think people divorce-- becuase it easy and I think most people don't want to deal with the issues they are having --- esp. within themselves. Short of physical abuse (like staying with someone who is threating your life) I htink you owe it to your children to put them first and give them a family who has both a mom and dad present in their lives. It isn't always easy but I think we can be selfish thinking "I'll be happy" if I leave him. . . but will the kids be happy to only see their mom or dad on certian days?? Has anyone seen the Oprah episode about divorce. . . the one where they had the kids on there speak about their experiences coming from divorced families?? One that we should all watch.
post #34 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by aniT View Post
Hrmmm DH's opinion is, his dad was a drunk/drug addict because he lived with his mom. His theory was if he was married to his mom he would be a drunk too.
I used to think this too. I'd wonder if my dad made my mom a UAV term, or if my mom drove my dad to drink. Now I know that my mom was just angry and miserable all the time, and that she couldn't hold it together. It wasn't her fault. Of course, it wasn't our fault either, but we suffered for it.

Now I'm regretting saying that. I guess this thread is making me feel sympathetic to her.
post #35 of 67
I also grew up in an alcoholic home, have been greatly affected by alcoholism.. It's true for me as others have said that I feel my Mom was more responsible for keeping us there, she really was not putting our best interest first by staying. I have been in al anon for many years, maybe you should check them out. It is a great way to get the support needed when living in these situations. I do believe that children should be protected and think that many adults don't put the kids first.. Alcoholism destroys childhoods, it's an awful way to grow up and the affects reach many many generations.
post #36 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porcelain Interior View Post
Honestly (I come from a long line of drunks) I don't think you can be a parent and be an alcoholic and not be abusive.

Abuse can take so many forms. Being unavailable emotionally is abusive. It can cause just as many problems as being verbally/physically abusive.

Neglect emotionally or physically

Normalizing or marginalizing alcoholism can also damage kids.

There's a reason that the group Adult Children Of Alcoholics exist. And it isn't because all of these people were beaten or called names. Silent forms of abuse are just as hard to erase and overcome.
.
On one hand I agree with this. OTOH, my dh was drinking too much (has since stopped) and I know his relationship with ds was still fabulous. But in the end, alcoholics can't be trusted to make the correct decisions. And ds was too young to know what was going on.

Both my parent's were alcoholics, I can't say if I wish they stayed together or not. Mostly I just wish they were better parents.
post #37 of 67
Hmm, my father was an alcoholic who stopped drinking shortly after my mom ended the marriage. He was in no way abusive, though not as present as he ought to have been. I have some memory of their relationship before they split up, and it was difficult, and I found it very stressful.

As far as his stopping drinking, what he told me was that he found once he was alone that he could not continue to drink and actually take care of himself. So in that way way it turned out well, though it was really too late for the marriage at that point.

Now, my dad's twin was also an alcoholic. He never permanently gave up drinking, and his kids are a mess. But they also had other difficulties, their mother is also a very bad alcoholic and their lives were essentially chaos as kids.

My dad's father was also an alcoholic, and though his mom divorced late in life ( I remember it) the kids grew up in an alcoholic family. There was no physical abuse, but the dad was largely concerned with himself, and could be very critical of the kids, and the mom became wrapped up in the problems of the relationship. I am inclined to think that this example was very bad for all the children, all of whom have had real relationship difficulties, and all but one has had substance abuse issues, to the point one son died as a result.
post #38 of 67
My dad would certainly be considered an alcoholic, but I never realized it until I was an adult. He drinks every night, several beers. He couldn't stop if he tried, which is how I know he is an alcoholic. He'll keep drinking until it kills him, just like his father did.

My dad was never abusive in any way, shape or form. He's a very loving, emotional man and a great dad in many ways. He's always been a hard worker, working crazy hours to make sure my mom could stay home and raise the kids. But he drinks every night.

It's definitely a dependence for him, but never really negatively affected my childhood with him. Most pictures and memories I have of my dad, he does have a beer in his hand, but he was there. And he is supportive. My siblings and I were really worried about his health a few years ago, and did a sort of "intervention" with him. It didn't work. He never really said anything about. He tried to quit that and smoking, but it didn't last long.

My parents are still together, just celebrated their 40th anniversary. They're very much in love and successfully raised 6 children together. I guess you could say I got lucky in terms of my dad's alcoholism. I don't know if it's the norm, probably not, but it's not impossible.
post #39 of 67
Two parents in the home isn't an adequate substitute for a happy mom. Your kids deserve to have a mom who is genuinely happy. That can be the gift of divorce.
post #40 of 67
My dad is an acholic and has been my entire life. I mean, severe alcholic. He wasn't all that abusive to my brothers and I, but he was and still is abusive towards my mom. I love my parents equally despite thier problems, but I think they would love themselves and all of us even more if they weren't together. My mom just won't/can't leave. It's frustrating because her problems with his issues was taken out on us. My mom was more the abuser because she has always been so angry with my dad. The few times she left for short periods of time everyone was supportive for her, but she saw no one was being supportive of my dad and contiues to go back. I avoid my dad when he is drinking... he is also a good papa, but setting terrible examples for his grandchildren (like he did his kids). I say leave if there is a problem and he isn't trying to fix it. I always wanted to "fix" my parents problems and that causes heartache to a small child with no control over the situation. I will always love my parents, but I have always know that I would be able to love them more fully if they were apart, regaurdless of the divorce stigma. Kids sense the tension and blame themselves. Staying together "for the children" is never a good excuse.
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