I don´t remember when I understood I was an alcoholic’s daughter. It came gradually until it was obvious that my father abused alcohol. I got two reasons to write this post. First of all I want to get rid of the ghost from the past and heal myself. The second reason is to show people with a similar story that they are not alone. I am convinced that it is better to be open about alcohol abuse despite what other people say. Therefore this post about a daughter´s review of an alcoholic.
There is a lot of stigma and prejudices considering alcoholics. They are fathers and sons, a manager, mechanics or engineers.They are everywhere and in every society.
When did it all start?
My father was 26 when he tasted alcohol for the first time according to my mother. It all started when he had to have a drink after work to calm down. I don´t know when the snowball really started to roll and what triggered it.
He was a person who could not say no when someone asked him for help. His motto was not to wait to the next day to get things done. A motto I as an adult don´t share anymore. It can get you stressed and the burnout would be your last name. It got also a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder. You can´t get any relaxation before you have done what ever it is. When I look back I often think of him with a undiagnosed ADHD, but that is just speculations.
How to get alcohol?
It was not easy to get hold of alcohol because there was no liquid stores. You had to illegally brew it yourself or travel 4 hours. My father started to make his own alcohol of sugar and yeast in the bathing tub. And my patient mother had to clean up the mess afterwards. On his alcohol- making days I did not bring along any friends home. I was so ashamed.
Our bathing tub clogged and ended the story of his home-made-alcohol. After a while I noticed that he could order alcohol from the liquid store in the city. As an alcoholic´s daughter I preferred four bottles in a box sent with the ship, and driven to our doorstep.
The daughter of an alcoholic
I could give you many stories of things that happened during my childhood. My father was seldom physically abusive but he hit me in the face a couple of times. But he stopped doing that when I grew older and stronger and he became simultaneously weaker and weaker.
Something that has stucked to my mind are the family birthday parties. He was always carrying a shoulder bag, filled with a toothbrush, toothpaste and a liquid bottle. My daddy went often to the bathroom just to have a sip. Afterwards he tried to mask it off with laughter and jokes. But everyone knew exactly what he did in the bathroom. I was so ashamed.
Often in holidays my father and his boozers had a party. They drank, sang, argued and discussed while I was could not sleep. As a daughter of an alcoholic´s I got a constant pain in my stomach, but these parties made them worse. I often sat in my bed counting stamps or my napkins. It always ended with a transistor radio in my bed where I tuned in Radio Luxembourg. I just have to muffle the noises from down below.
My father was an artistic soul. He wrote poems and songs. In his creative periods his temper was rather short. If he had to write during daytime I was outdoor most of the time, or in my room.
My little brother and I was bullied. To be involved in a fight was not uncommon for me. I was unscared and strong. For some reasons I was never reported to the principal……
My experience made me wish I lived somewhere else. I longed for peace. Hopefully my son didn’t feel the same when he left home.
I have during the years realized that some of the bullies also got an alcoholic parent. My brother has become friends with his bullies, and I hope they have given him an apology. The only disadvantage we got was an alcoholic daddy.
Where shall the alcoholic´s get help?
First of all the alcoholic got to admit that he or she got a drinking problem. That is maybe the hardest task. The drinking problem is the entire family´s problem. Many of the alcoholics have tribute to the society and paid their taxes, so why should the politicians and the government shot their eyes? Pretending that these problems don´t exist.
What become of the children when they grow up? Would they be a swing -door- patients because of PTSD, anxiety and depression? There have been a lot of focus on drug abuse, and that is important too, but the alcohol debate has silenced.
As a daughter of an alcoholic I saw my father off to an alcoholic clinic and I visited him once. I did not recognize him. He was so thin and he looked great. I was so proud of him. And then guess what happened when he came home? He started to drink more than ever because no one helped him afterwards.
It is easy to blame the alcoholic for not being strong enough, but if the problem is anxiety and depression they need help for that.
When my father started to drink again in 1985 it took only three years before he pasted away at the age of 49. One summer day he sat in the doorway on a chair and looking at the sea. I asked him why he was sitting there. He replied: “This is the my last summer.” He felt his time had come.
As a daughter of an alcoholic I got mixed emotions. At the end he got diabetes, no balance because the neurological system gradually failed, he started to hallucinate, got pneumonia and large wounds at the legs that would not heal. Finally he could rest but to young.
One day when I was on my way home from work, I saw the ambulance plain. I just knew it was my dad. According to my mother he was in and out of coma. But one of the last thing he said was: ” The eagle is about to fly”.