I’ve never really written a lot about this, but my dad was an alcoholic. There. I said it. Without explaining it away, adding that he was an executive who had to wine and dine his clients, or that he wasn’t a poor under the bridge alcoholic but a $40 bottle of wine one, which somehow in my mind was supposed to make it better. And my mom as great as she was a mom to me, told me about her concerns when I was pretty little. And in turn have felt that I was not allowed to be a kid. Because both my parents are gone, I have only written about the amazingly generous funny and loving dad and the sweet, Polly Anna memory making mom. I guess maybe I write about this now… because I am angry, and my anger has robbed so much from me. As my loyal readers know, I am writing a Children’s book about HAPPINESS, and I am stuck at the ending. I mean, a book about happiness really should have a happy ending, right? And the bad stuff that happens shouldn’t rob us from the joy and good stuff that we are blessed with.

I just had to come and sit down here and reference this before I could continue. First, and most importantly, I feel that parents shouldn’t burden their kids with adult problems period. Unless, of course, it is for their safety. Like don’t get in a car with a drunk or addicted mom or dad. I mean sometimes you have to share things to set up boundaries and keep them safe. But I remember my mom waking me up to bail my dad out of jail for a DUI when I was nine years old. She could have told me that his car broke down and she had to go pick him up. I mean as an adult, I have a ton of more reasonable questions about why I had to know the details about how scared she was to drive with him and other things that caused me to be a pretty neurotic kid.

When my parents would go to cocktail parties, I was worried until they got home safely. When my dad was late from work, I bombarded my mom asking her repeatedly if she was worried. And she would get mad at me because I was just weird about it until he got home safe and was just late most of the time because of traffic or some normal reason. But as I grew up, it dawned on me that she’d made me that way by sharing junk a kid should never have to know.

When I worked at the hospital in the Psych Dept. in the eighties, my boss was writing her thesis and asked me to read it one night when we both were working the graveyard shift. The topic was, Adult Children of Alcoholic Parents. I cried as I read it. I never knew there were others like me. One of the symptoms was ending up marrying an alcoholic. Of course, my first husband was a full-blown Alcoholic and I’ve always wondered, what if I’d read that paper earlier? He’s gone now and so maybe writing about my anger can help others not make the same mistakes. Though we now have Talk shows and social media that have enlightened people every which way, take it from that scared little kid, now an adult and raging co-dependent who tries to control my life and everyone else’s…. It’s NOT okay to rob your kid’s childhood. And you know what? I’m not going to do the classic Co-dependent action and tell you how great my parents were and all the great memories they gave me over the years. Because, I KNOW that their mistakes don’t define them and we all make them.

Recently I was hit by a drunk driver, and I think the rage I’ve felt that someone knowingly had too much to drink and got behind the wheel of a car, has been stuck inside of me like a roaring wild animal. God was in that car with me that night, Maybe hitting me, stopped him from wiping out an entire family with a brand-new baby in the back seat. Who knows? All I know is that I was spared. And I don’t want to keep robbing myself of realizing the blessing that He saved me. That I “walked” away! Though I could be stuck on my totaled car or the many things that changed because or someone else’s stupid mistake.

Anyway, there’s a lot more work to be done on this Happiness project. But I think the key is to address that everyone has sad stuff in their lives but to work on figuring out how to be happy in spite of it.

10 thoughts on “Adult Children Of Alcoholic Parents

  1. Yes. Everybody has had sad stuff happen to them, but that doesn’t take away or minimize from your own experiences. I sometimes wonder at how we grow up and are as functional as we are, considering all of the wounds and scars we carry from our childhoods. Whether it is abusive or drunk parents, bullying in school, lazy teachers, health issues, drug addition, or all sorts of other things, we live our lives experiencing trauma and loss, and yet, the majority of us keep moving forward. It’s kind of the only choice we have, but some lose the capacity to do so.

    1. Why do Your words touch me to tears? I feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz as she’s saying goodbye to her friends & she gets to the scarecrow & says “& I think I’ll miss you most of all.”
      Not that we ever really met or are going anywhere. But you know, just that connection “getting it” kind of thing you don’t have with everyone.

          1. Yes. Newsom isn’t perfect. But no Governor has been perfect during this pandemic. And the regular election is a year away. Why put the state through this? Plus, the alternatives are just … blah.

  2. Wow, Diane … The things we carry – that no one ever sees. This is the shadow self your are bringing to light, and in that light you will see how the story of happiness ends. Unless you carry it with you, no matter how far you search, you will never find happiness. Many blessings 💕 – gfs

    1. Wow! That is so great ! It makes me really think deeper! I definitely want to put that load down & not keep carrying it! Kinda why I finally wrote it. A way of purging & owning its truth at tha same time!

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