A common misconception held by many parents with alcoholism is that their drinking does not affect their children. For those of us who grew up with a parent who abused alcohol, we know there are many truths that go against this belief. Parental alcoholism can have a great impact on the way we view ourselves, our parents, and our world. Previous studies have shown that children of parents with alcoholism or more likely to develop alcoholism when they get older, and are also likely to experience anxiety, depression, and a host of other mental concerns.
If you grew up with a parent who had alcoholism, you can probably relate to the following:
- Taking care of your parent, not the other way around. Growing up, coming home and seeing your parent passed out on the couch was a typical occurrence – you covered them with a blanket, turned the TV off, and got them a glass of water. You learned at a young age how to be the parent, when you shouldn’t have had to.
- The constant battle between loving and hating them. As much as you love your parent, you hate them just as much for putting you through everything you went through. The pain of watching them drink away their sorrows became too much most of the time. Other times, you just became numb to it.
- Not trusting people easily. The ups and downs of living with a parent who has alcoholism has triggered you to feel unstable all the time. Empty promises have led you to question whether anyone can truly be trusted.
- “Normal” is a blurred line. You grew up surrounded by chaos, instability, fear, and maybe even abuse. The Huffington Post states that for you, normal likely consisted of taking care of your family at a young age, very rarely yourself.
- People don’t believe your experiences. You may not believe your experiences, either. As one person explained her story on Buzzfeed,
“I don’t blame everybody for not believing us. They didn’t see the worst times. But even seeing isn’t believing. Even when you’re there, cowed under drunken rages, binning cans, helping get the younger ones ready for school while your dad drinks a beer, part of you doubts it’s really happening”.
It’s likely that your physical and mental health have been compromised by your experiences of growing up with a parent who had alcoholism. You may experience pain, guilt, shame, fear, isolation, and more – but thankfully, there are many tools and resources now that can help you overcome these challenges. Don’t give up; seek help today.
Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.