Love – Adult Child of An Alcoholic - Story 3
Samantha is an only child. She grew up in a house with both her mother and father. Samantha is now 30 and when reflecting on her upbringing what stands out most are the memories where her father was drinking.
Samantha is the adult child of an alcoholic.
When looking back on the past Samantha tried to pin-point a space in time when she noticed that her father had a drinking problem. She thought it was definitely before she was a teen. Her father has been an excessive drinker her whole life – she wasn’t sure when his drinking started, she said it could have been before she was born.
“it’s difficult to pinpoint an age as my whole life my dad had been the same – for the last 30 years he’s been the same. Continuing to drink.”
She continued, “I remember it was my birthday and all I really wanted was for us to have a family meal all together. He didn’t turn up because he was too busy in the pub. I think this was the first time I realised it was a problem.”
Her father, often drinking 26 cans of Carling, with the ruminants in the bin for Samantha and her mother to see, continues to be in denial about being an alcoholic. Often, he would miss special occasions or days out choosing the drink over his family.
He would say that he could cut down the drink if he wanted to. This is something that a lot of alcoholics who are in denial would say. If they needed to stop, they could.
As he was continuing to work during the week, this soon became an excuse as to why he didn’t have a problem. Although as soon as work had finished or the weekend commenced the drinking began.
When Samantha got pregnant with her first child, she decided she was going to get a house of her own. She wanted to escape the chaotic life around her and provide a safe environment for her son. She didn’t feel this was possible in the family home or around her father and his drinking.
Throughout her life, she witnessed countless arguments between her mother and father. The chaos that surrounded their lives. She had put up with excuses as to why her father never turned up to birthdays or days out. By this point, she had, had enough.
She moved out of the family home and soon after her mother also left her father. Samantha has some blame towards her mother for this.
“We could have left when I was younger – we could have had a better life. But instead, she waited until I had gone. I was the one who had to take the first step.”
After her mother left, her father admitted that he had a drinking problem for a short while. Although this way of thinking was brief and then he went back to his old ways. Samantha believes that he knows deep down he has an issue but doesn’t want to address it.
She said “when the blue bin is full of beer cans, I know this is still a big issue for him. He hasn’t cut down.”
She went to an initial meeting to help to deal with his alcohol abuse with him. Samantha sorted it all out but after the first meeting her father didn’t continue to go.
There was a time when her father overdosed on sleeping tablets. He got taken to the hospital where the doctor advised him that he needed to get help. They highlighted the fact that for a lot of alcoholics one week they can be fine and the next they may get jaundice or experience detrimental health issues and can quickly deteriorate.
Although he hasn’t taken this advice.
Her father was offered a residential rehab somewhere in the North of England and refused due to working at the time – Samantha believes this was just an excuse not to go.
Samantha now has three beautiful children. Her father is now a grandad and sadly continues to behave in the same way with his grandchildren as he did with Samantha.
“There was a time when me and mum took my kids to the zoo, Dad was supposed to come but said he had to do some work in the garden. When we were driving back home, we drove down the hill and he was sat in the pub.”
The resentment that Samantha feels towards her father is still very much present.
‘Why am I not enough to make you stop drinking?’ and why are your grandchildren not enough to stop?’
She exemplifies the fact that although she knows his behaviour isn’t good enough and his priorities aren’t in the right place, her father with always be her father. She believes that for him to want to continue to drink in this way there must be trauma that hasn’t been dealt with.
“I feel as though I have given up with him to a certain point but he is my dad and he always will be. I can’t just cut ties with him like that. I am still here to pick up the pieces after he’s created the mess.’
“it’s just a never-ending cycle with him. I don’t think he will stop.”
She continued: “as much as I want to hate him and cut him off I just can’t. He is my dad and I love him.”
The effect that her father’s alcoholism has had on her life is prominent. When she was younger, she wouldn’t let it affect her as she soon realised it wasn’t her problem. However, in later life, she has seen the effects.
“I’m the one picking up the pieces. I’m the one explaining to my kids why their grandad doesn’t want to see them. Or if he does, he only stays for 10 minutes.”
“I try not to let it affect me. But when I sit and think about it, it definitely does have an effect. I don’t know anything different from having my parents argue and the police coming in and out. This is reflective of my adult life. I always have had partners who are complete arses and I just let them get away with it because that’s normal to me.”
With every day that goes by she aims to be the best mother she can be to her kids. She wants to provide them with the best upbringing she can and nothing like her own.
“Good memories of living in the family home are so important. When I look back all I can remember is the really horrible ones and that isn’t right. I am determined to not end up like my dad.”
For anyone in a similar position to Samantha, she wanted to remind you that you are not them.
“You are your own person. Just because you share genetics doesn’t mean you are them. Everyone has a choice.”
If you have been affected by Samantha's story and are seeking help and support do not hesitate to contact our specialist team.