Alcohol has had a large impact on my family... my dad was an alcoholic for 17 years of my life. Dependency on alcohol is a complex thing, and it is all too easy to blame yourself for someone else's addiction. You're thinking things like "If they loved me enough they would stop drinking", "If I say this thing they'll get upset and drink some more", "It's my fault that I couldn't stop him from doing this." I can tell you without a doubt that it is not your fault and you are never the one to blame.
Seeing my parent's marriage and my relationship with my mom slowly falling apart was a hard thing to witness. Like I've said, it's incredibly easy to blame yourself as alcoholism often spurs a passing of blame rather than the addressing of the actual issue. My dad dealt with depression and anxiety throughout his life, and alcohol was an easy, yet temporary escape from its affliction. Slowly drinking 4-5 beers grew to 15 or more a day to dull the unhappiness of my parent's marriage and the guilt he had because of his dependency. I sympathized with my dad, as we were very close, but this impacted my relationship with my mom as they inadvertently wanted me to choose sides. I distanced myself and strongly disliked my mother for 3 years during my early teens because of this. I soon started blaming my mother too, who was in truth the victim of the frustrated expressions of my father, which often became that of verbal abuse.
I never thought I would be sharing something so personal, but I write this hoping to share my story for people that might have or are going through something similar. Know that you are so resilient and strong, and what is happening is not your fault. I thought it was my job to fix my dad because I thought I could be the reason for him to stop. What I can tell you is that an alcoholic will only become sober when they acknowledge that there is indeed a problem and want help. You can love the personally unconditionally, but you need to take care of yourself and get the support you need too.
My dad has now been sober for three years, finding a path to recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous, but this disease and its effects don't just go away. It is an uphill battle that will continue, and with proper support from AA I hope my father will continue to become the man he wants to be. If you believe you might have a problem or may want to talk to someone, please reach out to AA-- they're wonderful people that understand what you're going through. And if you've been impacted by a family member, friend or loved one under the influence of alcohol, Al-Anon is there to support you. You are not alone.
Shared by a Seawolf
National Alcohol Awareness Week is October 24-28, 2016. For a list of events, please visit the featured section of our website.