Eight Things I Learned as the Child of an Alcoholic

The most important thing my mother’s drinking taught me was how not to act with others. Although, for many years, I wasn’t really benefiting from that knowledge. I was allowing it to make me bitter instead. I resented people who grew up in sober homes, and went out of my way just to thumb my nose at them.

A New Outlook

This attitude affected all my relationships, and I didn’t even see it. By the time I was pushing 30, I had exactly one real friend left, and she already had one foot out the door. She sat me down and gave me an ultimatum: Get rid of the chip on my shoulder or don’t bother calling her anymore.

I was tired of watching everyone else live their lives while I was merely existing in mine. And if that meant I had to ask for help, I was finally willing to do it.

Reaching Out

I decided to go to an Al-Anon meeting. That was helpful, but it was there that I heard about the program specifically for people like me – Adult Children of Alcoholics.

While I wasn’t fond of sharing my experiences with others, I was intrigued by the idea of listening to theirs. I wanted to see if anyone there had actually figured out how to be happy or if it was just a place to go and vent.

What I learned was that it was a healthy combination of both.

Slowly, over time, I began to see that I was being given an opportunity to see the world differently.


View Full Infographic at: Child Of An Alcoholic Lost Child Profile

Putting In The Work

While I couldn’t change my past, I did have the ability to learn from it so that I could have a better future. This is how my introspection empowered me to take back my life:

1. I wasn’t taught healthy coping mechanisms

My mother never explained how to deal with any of my emotions or even that it was normal to have them. A slap upside the head told me that my feelings were bad, and drinking a half of a case of beer was the way to silence them.

2. I was learning to drown my depression

My mother’s way of treating her depression was to numb herself. I had no idea that there were healthy and effective options for treating depression.

3. I saw that drinking didn’t get rid of any problems

The main thing that alcohol did for my mother was to allow her to forget about things for awhile. When it wore off, her anger, fears, and regrets came back with a vengeance.

4. I never really got to know my mother

My mother was either angry and violent or a zombie. Either way, I never knew who she was sober.

5. We don’t get a do-over

My mother got sober when I was 15 and died six months later from cirrhosis of the liver. It was way too little way too late for me.

6. She missed everything

From the drunken blur of my childhood to not living long enough to see me become an adult, we had been robbed of all of it.

7. I was afraid to have children

I was essentially a motherless child, so I had no frame of reference for raising my own children.

8. She was selfish

Everything was about her wants, her feelings, and drowning it all in a bottle instead of being present in my life.

I had to identify these things in order to confront my anger. I had held onto it so tightly for so many years that I was afraid to let it go. Once I did, however, I had acquired something so much better, empowerment. Knowing what not to do, and why, has enabled me to live a full and happy life. If you or a loved is struggling with alcohol abuse, please contact Beginnings Treatment Centers today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors, we’re here to help you.