A Parent24 reader also shares her experience with an alcoholic parent.
"I am the daughter of an alcoholic father.
I can relate to the story of the person who wrote about when your parent is an alcoholic.
My father was drunk every night of his life.
It was chaos. Every night was a different version of life and the expectation was always some sort of chaos.
My mom had the guts to divorce him twice, but by that time the effects of alcoholism was already thriving in my family.
Once he was gone, sibling wars broke loose because we were not accustomed to serenity and respect within our family.
Death doesn't end it all
My father died when I was 16 years old and I was almost glad about it.
I thought that all my problems had come to an end, but little did I know, my ability to form any healthy relationship was severely tarnished.
I then proceeded to keep up appearances, went to university and all the while I felt lonely and sad, even when there was nothing to be lonely and sad about.
I then started a journey of looking for something to fill the sad gaps in my soul.
I went to see psychologists, I gave my heart to the Lord, I prayed, I cried, I told all the sad and negative stories of my life to everybody.
At this stage, I did not really have such sad stories to tell, but I made a mountain out of every molehill I could find.
I tried to love people harder and more and tried to help everyone, even the ones that didn’t want or ask for my help.
I then married a guy who loved women and I subsequently got divorced. Something I never wanted to be.
I turned into a functioning zombie for a year and read every self-help book I could find, as if I was going to feel better afterwards.
Nothing really helped.
Finding a support structure
I did get one message that stuck with the last book I read and it said I needed support.
I realised after crying in everyone's ear about my divorce for a year – those who wanted to listen and those who didn’t want to listen – that this was not supporting me at all.
I the saw a psychologist who referred me to Co-dependants Anonymous, which I Googled and got into a support group: Al-Anon, for relatives and friends affected by alcoholism.
My journey in healing slowly began.
I had to learn that growing up with alcoholism had severely distorted my thinking on what healthy relationships were.
I started re-training my mind and slowly, but surely, I got better.
The deep sadness in me has mostly evaporated. I've learned I didn’t cause alcoholism, I couldn't cure it and I couldn't control it.
What I can do is work on myself – place focus back on myself and put the alcoholism that affected me in its true perspective, until it starts losing its power to dominate my life.
Today I am very grateful for my life, I am slowly learning compassion for myself and the alcoholic in my life.
We all do the best we can with what we know. Once we know better, we can do better.
I didn't know Al-Anon existed until I was 38 years old and if I can do just one thing, it is tell people about it.
My journey has been awesome. It is a worldwide organisation and there are groups everywhere."
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