I'm so glad this thread was revived. I've never actually typed out my feelings about my father's alcoholism before. Heck, I've never really spoken much about it, either....
My father became an alcoholic when I was a baby and stopped drinking after I moved out of the house. My younger brothers were able to live with him sober (especially my youngest, who doesn't really remember the drinking), but I never was.
It's like he's this whole other person now. Not the father I grew up with. I don't know what happened to that guy....
I was never good enough for the father I grew up with. An "A" should have been an "A+." I was constantly lectured - and most of the time, the lectures didn't make any sense. I remember the one time I made him happy. In fact, I made him so happy that he cried. I told him I was afraid to ask him for money. I guess he was thrilled that I didn't want to ask for a handout? I don't know. The one time I made my father proud.
He drank at the bar beneath his downtown office, and he'd often just stay at his office overnight. When he did come home, I knew to stay in my room. It was easier that way. But, I was still a child who really wanted her father's love and approval, so sometimes I'd venture out. If he was in a good mood, he'd tickle me until it was too much. And then keep tickling me until he hurt me. Then he'd get mad at me. But, for a few minutes, he was just a dad tickling me - a dad just like anyone else's dad....
When he was at home, he would fall asleep in the chair, snoring so loudly it was amazinghe didn't wake himself up. Many of my memories include my father snoring in the chair. My mother would eventually just leave him there and go to bed, herself. She hated him for a long time, but didn't leave because of money. I can understand that, but I can't imagine staying in a relationship like that.
I remember my father being angry. All the time. When he was sober, he would angrily clean the house. My mother's cleaning wasn't good enough for him, so he'd wake us up on Saturday mornings and make us all clean like madmen. Or, we'd be packing for a trip, and he'd be angry about how late we were. He was an angry driver. He was angry about my grades. My lack of friends. The food in the house. Anything and everything.
It was only when he was drunk that he might be in a good mood.... Maybe. And those were the times I would try to win his affection. But even then, nothing I did was ever enough.
When I was a teenager, his beloved bar closed down. He wanted to bond with me, I think, and he took me to his bar and let me taste his scotch. I didn't drink. At all. I remember the terrible burning sensation in my throat, and I couldn't fathom why he would sit for hours drinking that stuff, spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars every month on it.... Then, he ordered me a margarita, and I guess they were trying to get rid of the last of the alcohol, because the drink must have been half tequila. He was so happy to have me at his bar with him, and he introduced me to everyone there.... I'd never felt so awkward in my life.
I remember storming out of the house not long before I moved away. We had another argument - about what, I have no clue. I drove off, but had no gas and nowhere to go, and it was the dead of night in December. So, I stayed at the post office for several hours, crying. I stopped talking to him for a long time after that - even after he quit drinking a few months later. You know, his sobering up even bothered me - and I felt guilty about that.... But all my life, he drank, and as soon as I left, he quit. It was like giving a gift to everyone but me, if that makes any sense. He cared enough about them to quit drinking, but not enough about me. I know that's not what was going through his head, and I'm genuinely glad he quit, but that was always in the back of my mind. Still is.
He stopped cold turkey without any sort of support group. He's been sober for ten years now. I spend a lot of time at my parents' house, and I still feel like everything I do is failing him.... It's like I can't let go of that mindset. I live my life knowing he's disappointed in me and feeling that disappoinment like a great weight on my back. Who knows if he is or not, but I can't shake it.... I've gotten to the point where I can convince myself that I just don't care what he thinks, but it's a big ol' lie. I do care. Too much. Just once, I'd like him to say he'd proud of me (for something that merits being proud), that I'm a good mother, that I'm a good daughter, that I'm doing a great job with my life. I don't need this from anyone else - just him.
Wow - that was quite a post. 'Specially for my first one. Anyway, thanks for letting me get that off my chest.... There may be some typos, but I'm not quite ready to go back and reread what I've written.... I think typing it out is about all I can do today. Time to fix lunch.