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Daughters of Alcoholics Support

post #1 of 215
Thread Starter 
I can't be the only daughter of an alcoholic here, right?


I am still picking the shards of glass out of my skin from having grown up with an alcoholic parent.

Have you ever attended an al-anon meeting (I haven't)?

Do you trust you parent(s) around your children (I don't)?

Do you talk to your kids about alcohol, do you tell them to avoid it (I do)?

My DH also had an alcoholic parent growing up. We're as dry as can be. DH would not even sip the champagne at our wedding toast.

post #2 of 215
I too deal w/ alcoholic parents. I would love to share more, but I have a high needs dd who needs to go to bed, (maybe I should be in the high needs children tribe Will write more tomorrow.
post #3 of 215
My dad was an alcoholic. He quit drinking when I was 12 years old and didn't drink AT ALL for many, many years. The past few years, he has a glass of wine here or there, but nothing like he used to. My childhood has a lot of bad memories due to drinking, but I do trust my dad around my kids, as he's not been drinking for almost 20 years. I've never attended an al-anon meeting, but my mom almost sent us to the ala-teen or whatever it's called for kids. We never did go. I think I had a balance b/c my dad drank, my mom didn't (at all except for a drink on the holidays), my grandparents drank pretty responsiblity, so I had a variety of people to learn from.

I don't tell my dd to avoid at all, but she's only 4 now. I do tell her it's a drink for adults when she sees me drinking here and there. I used to drink quite a bit at happy hour on fridays, but since kids, I don't go out at all. I have a drink or two here or there, but that's about it.
post #4 of 215
I grew up with two alcoholic parents. My father committed suicide 9 years ago (he also had Multiple Sclerosis and depression). My mother has spent so much energy hiding her alcoholism that she cannot be close to people who know about it and acknowlege its existence, so she stopped talking to me 5 years ago.

I went to Alanon meetings for a while when I was in graduate school, but everyone's stories were so different than mine. We had no fighting, no police, physical abuse, etc. (but plenty of emotional abuse and neglect!) that can go along with drinking. Just me being 10 years old, helping my passed out parents into their beds, and wondering what the &%$# I would do if there was a fire.

The whole family (my grandparents are also alcoholic) is riding on this river called "da nile", and I turned in my paddle and am essentially no longer a team player. Wonder what they are doing for the holidays? I see my sister some, and I love her, but I am sort of weary of the game she is participating in.

It stinks.

post #5 of 215
Have to add this:

When we were kids, we were left with our alcoholic grandparents for a week or two each year, with this instruction: "You know how grandma and grandpa act funny in the afternoon? Well, don't go anywhere in the car with them then."

Yikes, do you see that I am having to figure out the whole parenting thing from scratch?
post #6 of 215
No, mama's you KNOW you're not alone... surely the stats on alcholism in the family is pretty high. My dad drank most of my growing up years--- 'till i was about 18. He was violent and sloppy. My mom jumped right in on the craziness. she didnt drink much but she didnt have to. Mental illness runs in her family and having an abusive drunk for a husband just fixed her into the game of shame, blame, and chaos.

Leatherette> yes, figuring out the parenting thing sure is quite a ride when you feel like your models were from hell and saying or thinking " I will never do what they did " is disheartenly difficult to carry out.

I've never gone to alanon meetings but always wondered. I have a book called " Perfect daughters" but have never read it---- anyone???

I've spent years in therapy and years going to N.A meetings for my own addiction.

I've told my kids that we dont drink in our family because it's dangerous. When they are older they will know more. My 6 year old already understands that alcohol is not "good for you".

my dad is a wonderful person who has not drank in almost 20 years. I trust him with my kids. It's my mom who is sick and can not be trusted in my opinion.

glad to have a place here to share.
this is a good time to speak about this, christmas is and was always a tough time. I think I've pretty much stopped trying to make up for all my childhood christmas losses, but I think there will always be a certain kind of anxiety and residual saddness left behind.
Thanks for starting the thread meowee!
post #7 of 215
My mother is an alcoholic- but she has never owned up to it. She is fine during the day, but watch out ofter the sun goes down. I will leave DS with her alone during the day, but never at night. Dad drinks occasionally, but never more than one drink.

It has caused so much grief - and with lots of family stress lately ( my maternal grandmother died a couple of months ago) she has been drinking alot lately. She is quite combative and stirs up all sorts of crap when she drinks, and sometimes calls to start a fight : .

I've never been to a meeting. I have considered it though.
post #8 of 215
my parents drank every day I think since I was about 3ish. Maybe a bit sooner. I can now look back and recall various incidents, but the daily passed out on the couch SAHM I had began at about age 12. My dad worked in a normal job until he was about 50. At which point he was laid off and he had trouble finding another job. Which meant that my folks started spending down the 400,000 they had set aside for 4 kids in college and then their traditional life insurance policies. Ok this is getting lengthy, I'll try to be brief...the shit hit the fan for me in high school. I attended alateen meetings then but didn't find them helpful. I got counseling in college and graduate school -- that was very helpful.

My youngest sister is an alcholic married to an abusive alcoholic. They no longer drink, but they haven't processed the whole addiction thing. My older sis is an active alcoholic and the two of us in the middle drink every now and again.

I struggle with letting people close to me. I think that's the biggest thing -- either I give them too much info up front and they are like "whoa" or I don't want to give anything for fear of unpredictability. I can recall getting into a fight when I was like 10 (with my "best" friend). I was upset, my mom calmed me down and sat on my bed. Same thing happened about a month later and she told me tough beans.

My dad died about 5 years ago -- his health was deteriorating, but he fell in a train station (he wasn't "drunk" although he did have alcohol in his system) and had an internal head injury and was pronounced brain dead. The thing is he walked to the ambulance. It was quite the shock.

My mom is still actively drinking and I don't live close enough for erin to be remotely involved in her life.

Anyone else really feel like they got the shaft on closeness with mom and dad?
post #9 of 215
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by kerc
I struggle with letting people close to me. I think that's the biggest thing -- either I give them too much info up front and they are like "whoa" or I don't want to give anything for fear of unpredictability. I can recall getting into a fight when I was like 10 (with my "best" friend). I was upset, my mom calmed me down and sat on my bed. Same thing happened about a month later and she told me tough beans.
The hardest part, for me, about growing up with an alcoholic parent, was the unpredictability. Sometimes I had a nice, calm parent, and other times they could have been anyone. Mean, callous, violent, charming, joking... it was all the luck of the draw for the particular day.

post #10 of 215
Got to chime in. My mom is an alcoholic, she got sober when I was 14. I think now (after many years of therapy and meetings) that her alcoholism really was a gift, because it brought out all of the crap in my family that was under the surface and made us all deal with it. My mom is wonderful and always has been. She was just in so much pain for a good many years. Now that she's sober, yes I trust her with my dd. My dad, on the other hand.....

BTW, I also married (and divorced) an addict, a frequent consequence of growing up in an alcoholic household. He was sober, but what I consider a "dry drunk" with all the behaviors and unpredictability of an active alcoholic. I drink socially now and feel I have a pretty healthy perspective thanks to all the support I've received in the past.
post #11 of 215
Hi ladies. Hope all is well. Im relating to the issue of "closeness- or lack thereof. I've always been terrible at friendshiips and at the age of almost 37 I can really only say that I have one close friend. My relationship with my mom- although she was not the alcoholic but very disturbed- to me is what put the most scars on my self-esteem and ability to have healthy relationships. so, as far as the unpredictability goes- Im afraid that my own unprdictability is hurting my family and it comes from both parents-drinking or not. I wonder sometimes lately if im suffering from what ever it is mom has (she's never truly been evaluated). or is it just (ha) the complex mixture of both.
anyway, has anyone noticed the similair "tone" we carry in our replies?
post #12 of 215
Thread Starter 
ktmama I was just going to come here and ask if anyone had married or seriously dated a man with substance abuse issues.

My DH has never touched alcohol but before I met him I dated a man who had substance abuse issues.

I seem to be naturally drawn to needy people esp. those with substance abuse issues. I think it's because growing up with an alcoholic parent made me lose my natural self-protective instinct. So when I met a man that would make a less damaged person run in the other direction, I'd give him another chance, and another, another.
post #13 of 215
Wow, Meowee, I can really relate to that! In the past I was always drawn to really emotionally distant and bullying men. It's almost as if I was actually attracted to that part of them! ICKY!!!!!

It's really sad to see some of my younger friends going through this with their boyfriends. They just don't get that you can't change someone's nature and that they are repeating their own pattern - hoping to heal it.

Nothing has taught me the difference, however, than meeting and falling in love with my dh. He's kind, open, wants to be intimately close. I guess, in a word, he's a grown-up, not a little boy.
post #14 of 215
My name is Bonny and I am an Adult Child of 2 alcoholics..... My dad died of the disease on Christmas 1996. My mom has been in recovery for 18 years. I left home at 14 and became emancipated....(long story, too long to share right now, but I will soon) I started in Ala-Teen at 12, graduated to Al-anon, was in it steadily for 17 years, then fell away. Wasn't living with any alcoholics, so I didn't need to be in al-anon right? (insert sarcastic snicker here) I have just recently begun attending online meetings again and will begin back in face to face mtgs in January. Once affected by alcoholism, always affected by it huh? More later....
post #15 of 215
Originally Posted by lauraess
Im afraid that my own unprdictability is hurting my family and it comes from both parents-drinking or not. I wonder sometimes lately if im suffering from what ever it is mom has (she's never truly been evaluated). or is it just (ha) the complex mixture of both. anyway, has anyone noticed the similair "tone" we carry in our replies?
I think we all are the product of our upbringing. It is how we learn to deal with that upbringing that carries to our children. I heard on NPR once that when you grow up in disfunctional family oftentimes you can function normally day to day. It is the stressful situations that you can't handle "normally." To that end I've tried really hard recently to think about that during times of stress and remind myself to breathe before flipping out.

example (not a super great one) --- my parents would *freak* if we broke anything. Dumb, this attachment to objects I know. Anyhow, on thanksgiving my hubby accidentally knocked one of big serving bowls that goes to our china set to the floor. It shattered and I could instantly feel the blood boiling. I walked away without saying anything, did a circle around the house to relax and let myself really say what I mean and came back to say "did you get hurt? no big deal. we can replace it." MIL was very impressed and she's a part of a functioning family that interacts appropriately with each other. Ok patting myself on the back, I know, but I guess I was struggling to find an example of what I meant.
post #16 of 215
That makes a lot of sense, kerc, to remember during the stressful times to not react. In our family, something was always getting broken. Thanksgiving diner could easily be on the wall instead of the table- if that. When the holidays come I've always had a good deal of anxiety but thought i was dealing okay. well, i dont know whats going on really, but now, when i think im dealing okay and yet im not- im breaking the glass front of the oven door while throwing a butter knife at my dh! ...Thaksgiving comes and no way can i socialize at the inlaws when im full of fear for what my come out of my mouth-(or hands)... so, i stayed home alone this year.
I've been going through a lot this last year. I've been on meds for anxiety for 4 yrs now , I've been practicing yoga, I've tried various herbals, I've spent 7 yrs in recovery for my own addiction, and im almost certain i've entered perimenoupause. I'll be 37 next week and sometimes lately i wonder... how much more can i take? how much more can my family take? Will i go completel;y over the edge one day- cause im feeling REALLY close somedays!?
You ladies seem so far to sound like you've been dealing well. (not that theres a lot of info here to make any real assessment) -- so, does it sound like im a mess or what??? My psychiatrist just gave me Risperdal to help out with these crazy times and im stuck not really wanting to take it. I dont want to put more crap in my body. I dont want to become dependant on another drug. My accupuncturist/freind has given me some chinese herbs and her advice sounds wonderful to me. I want to believe im not so messed up that i need heavy duty drugs. but, my history and my parents' scares me a lot these days.
-- Thanks for hearing me
post #17 of 215

You are not the only one. I have generalized anxiety disorder and was on PAXIL for a year (off for more than a year, I swear, it really does "rewire" you)
I am doing very well generally, but when stress builds up I am like a pressure cooker. In the past several weeks, my daughter was diagnosed with asthma, my son had impetigo on his face and a fungal infection on his leg which required an emergency room visit, my cat has been very ill and peeing inappropriately and vomiting, and two of our chickens have been killed by a raccoon.

So all of that has made it tough for even "the normal one" from my family to cope, especially with the holidays coming (people are getting the bare minimum). I have been grumpy and less patient. I was not nice to my son one morning, but I caught myself and have been trying just to take it out on my husband (joking). When I get stressed, I have to talk myself through to a normal reaction at times, because I had no models of normal reactions to stress growing up.

I am giving myself permission to be less than perfect with regards to keeping up the house, making Christmas be something "grand", etc.

Take care of yourself,

post #18 of 215
Leatherette> Thanks so much for your words of encouragement - sure feels right coming from someone who "knows" perhaps what im talking about.
Lately, I feel and think that many people are looking at me sideways. maybe it's just that i've come to beleive that since my behavior of late has been whacked. I try not to dwell on it and tell myself I really dont know the truth as to other's peoples actions or behaviors.
I sure do hear ya with the endless bull being thrown your way. >> Thats how i've felt in the last month, it being almost unbearably nuts. between the dogs, the kids, my dh and my relationship, the holidays, and my newest endeavor giving me a "thrill ride" ( The Teacher training program i was enrolled in folded unexpectedly) and my daughter deciding she didnt want to go to Her "school"( it's a home care situation) I really felt like beleving the lie my head wants to deal out and thats that "life is a joke, YOUR life is a joke"
I seem to go back and forth with the permission to be less than. sometimes i think im struggling with the addiction of trying to be perfect. I will be obsessed until i almost kill myself with worry and anxiety and then i absolutely HAVE TO Back off. It seems like binging.
I really thought i had gotten much better with this... but now... i dont know.
It seems like as my kids get older I go through issues of my own childhood. And thats definately difficult. right now my son is in first grade and im constantly worried about what's happening with him and other kids and how much is he affected by either my genes or the environment i've given him.
I think im going to begin to meditate on letting this go. Yes. meditating with the intention to let go knowing my school years were mine and can not be done over and his is his only, that i've done the best i could with him. It's so hard to think of his pain... yet maybe a lot of it is really mine from many years ago. does this make sense?
post #19 of 215
Thread Starter 
one thing that really stumps me is the question "WHY?"

I'm a spiritual person. I believe we choose our lives before we are born-- or God chooses them for us.

We did I choose my parents? Or why did God put me with my parents?

It's almost enough to make me an atheist LOL.

I don't believe that "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

I believe there are SOME hardships that do make a person stronger, but there are also things that just make life so sad, and that make a person feel broken.

"Every tragedy is a blow to the soul." This is a quote from a documentary I watched recently-- it really struck me.

I am very sad, and bitter, about the alcoholism in my parent. Things like alcoholism can affect a family for generations. I do not drink alcohol, so I won't transmit this habit to my children, but I carry a tremendous sadness inside of me that I know I am passing on to my children in whatever large or small quantity. I don't wear my heart on my sleeve around them, but children are so sensitive, I can't hide my feelings from them completely.
post #20 of 215

I understand the stress of wanting to be perfect, to try to undo the family history by going the opposite way and being EVERYTHING that your parents weren't. The important thing to remember is that what you need to give your son is a childhood, not a perfect childhood. We did not have full childhoods because we had to parent/cover up for/compensate for our parents. Your son won't have that because you have chosen to break the cycle. But if you have a nervous breakdown worrying.....then you're/he's back to square one.

Take care. I have to repeat this type of message to myself often, and it is working.

Meowee, do you still have contact with your parents? My father is dead, and my mother stopped talking to me 3 and a half years ago, and that is when I was really able to just work on myself and my feelings (and raising my son!). Otherwise, I think I would still be feeling that intense sadness as well.
Mostly, now, I just feel a low grade jealousy toward people with great parents.

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