Alcoholic Parents: Family Problems and Solutions

Dangers and damages of alcohol addiction and ways to overcome them

Profile photo of Brenda Pace - | 76 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Family & Parenting

one of the alcoholic parents drinking beer

When Harleena asked me to guest post, one of the first things that came to mind was my dysfunctional childhood.

I’m so glad after I shared a few topics with her, she chose this. Thank you Harleena for having me over as a guest on Aha!Now. It’s truly an honor.

The Dysfunction

Growing up in a dysfunctional family can be very difficult and challenging.

I don’t remember how old I was when I realized there was a problem, but I do know that I had not reached my double digits yet.

My father, the one who adopted me as an infant, was a functioning alcoholic. My mother was the enabler or co-dependent, as I later found out in life.

A “functioning” alcoholic, as was explained to me via a few years of therapy, means the person is an “alcoholic” but they are able to “function” as they normally would.

My father had a very prestigious position within one of the top companies in the state.

When he went to work, he turned on his charm and became Mr. Professional. Everyone adored him and he was well respected.

At home, his demeanor changed. He was known in my household as “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.

The work week wasn’t so horrible but as Friday night neared, we all began walking on egg-shells.

We knew, Friday night mean “Friday Night Fights”. My father was about to “get his drink on” and the household was about to be shaken up.

Parents drinking alcohol and beer

The Alcoholic Parents

My father, God love him because he’s all I ever knew, could be the meanest man I’ve ever known.

I honestly believe it stemmed back to his childhood about having an alcoholic mother and step.

He was also the younger of the two brothers and a short man. I believe insecurities played a huge role in my father’s addiction.

My uncle, my father’s only brother, never appeared to have an alcohol problem. He entered the military service as a young man and retired early.

Their family always seemed at peace and I envied that.

DO READ: How to Deal With an Alcoholic Parent

Friday Night Fights

It started with a few beers after work to unwind – sometimes at home with just our family, and other times while our visiting friends or family members.

Oh, the nights when my father drove my mother, my brother, and me home, he used to be so drunk. There were times that my mother would drive; however, that was a “put down” in my father’s eyes. He wasn’t drunk in his eyes, and was fully capable of getting us home.

It always seemed to happen while I was sleeping. We’re talking late night hours between 10 pm – 1 am. I would be awakened by the arguments between my mother and father.

My father would always be yelling something obnoxious and slurred. My mother would be screaming and either hitting on him and trying to escape his verbal abuse.

“Friday Night Fights” was just not Friday nights. It usually became a weekend brawl.

The alcohol (beer) made my father verbally and emotionally mean. It was rare that I saw him strike my Mother, but there were a few times I do remember.

My mother would be the one attacking because she was so angry.

As a 5-12 year old child, I would always interfere and turn into the instant referee. Because it appeared that my father was the one getting beaten on, I would take his defense.

During times of verbal accusations of my mother cheating and not being a good housekeeper, I would take my mother’s defense.

It seemed as though I was always the one to try and bring “peace” to such a dysfunctional situation.

My brother’s bedroom was upstairs in our house and he was a sound sleeper, which meant rarely did he even know what was going on. In my early years, I turned into a “light” sleeper. Always waiting for that first hint of an argument coming from my parents’ bedroom, which was right next to mine.

Growing Up

When my mother passed away suddenly, I was 12 years old. My father started dating and continued the drinking.

Nothing changed with the “Friday Night Fights” when my father remarried. I tried to warn his new wife, but she didn’t believe me. The “Fights” continued until his second wife divorced him.

MUST READ: Getting Help for Drinking Problems

Denial

Family members and friends tried to help my father with his addiction. Yes, it is an addiction and a hard habit to break.

Most alcoholics live in denial. They don’t have a drinking problem. The rest of the world is wrong so quick in accusing them.

My father was the one that would never admit he had a problem. Even after losing his leg, due to an ulcer that exploded in his stomach and the drunken car accident, which caused another ulcer to explode and eventually take his life.

How sad it is to feel helpless and watch a loved one “self-destruct”.

Denial is their survival. Until one admits that they have an addiction and they are an alcoholic, they will never seek help.

Solutions

Once you, as an alcoholic admit that you have a problem, an addiction, there are many ways to seek help and overcome your addiction. An alcoholic will never be “cured”, they will always be “recovering”.

Seek a 12-Step Program Alcoholics Anonymous aka AA meetings in person or online

Rehabilitation Center – 30-day Program

Interventions – meeting of friends and family who talk to the alcoholic and try to prove to them that they have an addiction

With either of the above programs, you will need to find a sponsor. A sponsor is the one who is willing to join your program with you, someone who is responsible, and whom you can rely on.

As with any program, there are steps or rules you must follow. For addictions, whether alcohol, drugs, sex, etc., these “Rules” are referred to as the 12 Steps as seen in the slideshare.

As with any “problems”, a solution may not always be obtainable. Alcoholism is a deadly disease.

RELATED READ : A Parental Guide for Aiding Children

If you know of someone who is an alcoholic, just remember, until they admit they have a problem, they will not be able to recover.

For more information, I highly recommend Alcoholic Anonymous. Even if you aren’t the alcoholic, there are resources available for you as a co-dependent and/or as a loved one.

Over to you –

Did you ever experience a dysfunctional childhood or family? If you had an alcohol problem, how did you overcome it? What would you suggest to alcoholic parents as solutions to their family problems? Share in the comments.

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos



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76 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. Profile photo of Harleena Singh

    Harleena Singh

    July 26, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Welcome to my blog Bren! It’s wonderful to have you over as my guest!

    I’m so glad that you’ve touched upon an issue that’s so serious and adversely impacts the children in the family. As I read your story, I felt so sorry for you that you had to undergo this ordeal. Your story should be a lesson to many parents there who knowingly or unknowingly indulge in drinking excess of alcohol or even beer.

    You’ve raised a topic for discussion – whether alcoholism is an addiction or is it a disease? I’m sure the readers will also flock to your blog to view your slide-share as a solution to the problem. How many parents cross their limits and lose control over themselves, only to find later that their family has been destroyed and they’ve hurt themselves badly.

    I agree with you that the solution to any problem starts with acceptance. The problem exists only if you accept it, else you just go on living with it as if it’s a part of your life.

    I hope your life story helps the alcoholic parents to stop reaching a point where they hurt themselves or their families. Thanks so much Bren for this important post – it’s all yours now and I’m sure many readers would’ve their questions or confessions to bring up here, and that you’ll be able to guide them to seek solution.

    Thanks once again for being here. Have a great time on Aha!NOW, Bren! 🙂

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      Hi Harleena! Let me say first, it’s truly an honor to be hear on Aha!Now and to share with all your loyal friends and readers. Thank you again!

      I will say, it wasn’t so much an easy life and we did have some good times, but it was rare that alcohol wasn’t a part of it. There were many embarrassing moments as well as your drunken father would rant and rave while out camping or out boating and others could hear it. It’s one thing to have this go on in your own home, behind closed doors, but when it happens in public, it’s truly devastating.

      My father never admitted he had a problem and some never will. They feel as though if they Admit they are an alcoholic, they are a failure or are admitting defeat. I did several research papers on Alcoholism over the years and I learn something new every time, as new research becomes available.

      I appreciate you letting me share my story as I hope that it will touch those lives that are living with Alcoholism, whether it’s them or a loved one. Help is available and if the Alcoholic won’t seek it, it’s up to the one dealing with it, to see help for themselves and learn how to deal with it or how to escape it.

      Thanks again for allowing me to share a piece of my dysfunctional childhood Harleena. Very much appreciated and honored.

  2. Pramod

    July 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Bren , It may have been very difficult task for you to write down your own life experiences/story .My uncle is an alcoholic, he has three little children and have been addicted to alcohol more than his children . My Grandparents have tried everything they could have done to get him rid of the alcohol and failed each time.Believe me , its not that easy to get an addicted person rid of alcohol.It may be easy in the west considering the quality rehabilitation centers they have ..but in our country India ..its very difficult.

    -Pramod

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      Hi Pramod and thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry about your Uncle and his children. I can only speak from the perspective from the United States and there are areas well help can not be found. I can only imagine in places like India where rehab centers or even AA meetings are not even thought of. It’s truly sad that some resort to alcohol as a means of coping with whatever their issues may be.

      I appreciate you shedding some light on how it may be in other countries. Makes me want to research that a little more and possible do another post. Thank you again for sharing with us.

  3. Corina Ramos

    July 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Hey Girlfriend,

    I was over at your blog for a visit and saw you were guest posting here on Harleena’s blog.

    First let me say I admire you for sharing such a personal part of your life with us and I’m so sorry you had to endure this…no child should ever have to be the grown up in a family.

    I have a family member who is addicted to pain medication. His life is spiraling out of control but unfortunately doesn’t see it and won’t hear anyone say anything about it.

    I hope the folks battling these addictions will seek the help they need. If only they could see what their drinking does to their children and how it impacts them emotionally.

    Thanks again for sharing this Bren! Have a fabulous Friday ladies!

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 26, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      Hi Corina and thank you for coming over to Aha!Now to share!

      I have been through many things in my life and am at the point in my life that these things must be shared in hopes of helping others. We should not be ashamed of our lives and I’m not.

      I’m sorry to hear about your family member who is struggling with pain med addiction. This is another horrible thing to try and overcome, especially if they are in denial. Pain meds are so easy to come by and the feeling of that “high” is just overwhelming. Once you get it, you just want more. i hope someday soon, they will find they help they need before it’s too late. They say, one needs to hit “rock bottom” before they we realize the addiction. Some never hit it. 🙁

      Thank you so much for sharing with us Corina. It’s always a pleasure.

  4. Debbie

    July 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Good morning ladies. Lovely surprise to see you on Harleena’s blog, Bren.

    My heart truly goes out to you and the tears are flowing here, because I know exactly how you felt! I grew up in a similar environment; alcoholic father, enabling mother. My father was an army officer and Korean War vet. His problems probably stemmed from that time. Anyway, he too would be fine all week, then head to the Officer’s Club on Friday. He and my mother had horrible fights and weekends were to be dreaded.

    Yes, my mother went on the attack, just like yours. I even wrote a short story about the experience a few months ago, (“Mommy Make it Stop”), which was cathartic and gave me some release. Hopefully, writing about your ordeal has helped you also. My father finally quit drinking when he was 60. He had been walking home drunk, crossed on a red light and was run down by a drunk driver. Ironic… Anyway, his left leg was smashed to bits and he spent several months in hospital and rehab facilities. It took something drastic like that to make him see the light!

    Thank you for sharing your story; it was very brave of you. Here’s hoping it will help someone who has issues with alcohol.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 26, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      Hi Debbie!

      Oh my, I didn’t mean to drudge up old and hurtful feelings. I’m sorry you too had the dysfunctional childhood like myself. You know first hand how horrible it can be and how helpless you feel.

      I’m sorry about your father but am glad he finally quit. It’s interesting that your father lost his left leg because my father lost his left leg due to ulcers in his stomach exploding. All the stomach acids settled in his foot and slowly moved up. How interesting. I’m truly glad that your father didn’t lose his life. How horrible but the eye opener that he needed.

      As you know, Alcoholism is no joke. It’s ugly and can be deadly. Thank you so much for sharing with us Debbie!

      • Debbie

        July 27, 2013 at 3:59 am

        No problem; it was an unexpected reaction after all these years and completely spontaneous. Your childhood was even more tragic because you lost your mother at such a young age. Strength of character got you through and that’s admirable. So many crumble under the weight and become addicts themselves.

        Interesting that we have so many similar circumstances. Horrible situation your father had with the ulcers! Mine lived for 24 more years after his accident but met a nasty end from lung cancer.

        You are doing a great service here, by sharing your experiences and knowledge on the subject of alcoholism. Kudos, Bren!

        • Profile photo of

          Bren Lee

          July 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm

          Thanks Debbie. They say our paths are already chosen for us when we are born. I believe for whatever reason, my biological parents gave me up, my adopted parents (Mother and Father) chose ME, and the life I lived made me who I am today. Losing a mother at 11-12 years old was very traumatic and I often think to this day about how long I really stayed in denial about it. But all these years later, I can just sit back and embrace all I’ve been through. It could have been a lot worse.

          Thanks again Debbie! (hugs)

  5. Ellen M. Gregg

    July 26, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Wow, Bren. Great posts.

    My father is a functioning alcoholic, and has been since I was a very little girl – perhaps even since before then. Neither of his parents drank, so I suspect he picked up the habit to begin with while he was in the Navy, and then in college. To my knowledge, he has never attempted to stop drinking. He waits until noon to start, and then continues until he goes to bed – or passes out in his chair.
    My mother enabled him while they were married (they divorced when I was 11), although they rarely fought. He can get mean when he drinks, but I’ve never known him to get violent. I’ve learned to call him earlier in the day to check in with him, because the later it gets, the less likely he is to be lucid.

    I worked for an alcohol intervention program for five years in my early twenties. I became the primary intake assessment interviewer for the program, and learned a whole lot about my father and myself in the process. I have alcoholic/addictive tendencies (genetics), as do my two biological brothers. The older I get, the less I drink alcohol; my body has less tolerance for it, which I’m more than happy about. I’m also hyper-aware, because of that job as well as personal experience, of what alcohol abuse can do to a person and their loved ones.

    My older brother is a couple-times-a-week drinker – usually weekends – and I have never seen him drunk. (Honestly, I don’t think his wife would tolerate it.) I’ve assessed my youngest brother to be a functioning alcoholic, sadly. Every time I see him, I can smell the alcohol on him. It used to be “just” beer, but I can smell liquor on him when he comes for dinner. I suspect he’s reached the stage where he needs the harder hit to get the numbing effect – because that’s what it is. Alcoholics, for the most part, drink to numb themselves from emotional pain.
    Again, Bren, great topic. xoxo

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 26, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      Hi Ellen and sorry to hear about your Father and your experience with an alcoholic family. I wonder, and it’s really none of my business, but did the alcoholism play a part in the divorce?

      Very admirable for you to work at an intervention program. I’m sure you learned a lot of alcoholism, how to cope with it, and how to help others seek help.

      It’s interesting to hear about both of your brothers. How one can “control” his drink and the other, not so much. My brother, although neither of us were biological, turned to drugs and alcohol at an early age. I’m sure til this day, if he’s still alive, that he’s still partaking in the addiciton. Very sad to watch them throw away their lives.

      I, like you, feel they drink to numb themselves or make them forget out whatever pains them. Little do they know, it’s only a cover up and not a solution as well as adding another problem on top of the one they are trying to cover. Truly sad.

      Thank you so very much for sharing your experience and knowledge with us Ellen.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 30, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      Welcome to the blog Ellen – nice to have you over!

      Sorry to hear about your father and I can understand how well you could relate to Bren’s story too. It must have been rather tough all through your growing years, for you and your family.

      Perhaps this might have been the reason that you started working for an alcohol prevention program, and that in itself was a learning experience for you. I agree, certain things are in the genes, but I think even the power to control ourselves, lies within us. I’m glad you aren’t into it all, and I hope your youngest brother too comes to take hold of it before it becomes too late.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with us 🙂

  6. Ann Mullen

    July 26, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    I raised children around a functional alcoholic. I couldn’t make enough money to take care of the children on my own so I stayed until the last left the nest. Now I take care of my older sister whose addiction is to cigarettes. Mine is eating. I am still not making enough money to take care of us, but at least it’s quiet. My poor kids, on the other hand, are very unhappy people. Maybe I should have left with them, but I will never know. Thanks for sharing. You are very brave.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 28, 2013 at 12:58 am

      Hi Ann. I’m so sorry to hear this. It is a big decision whether to stay and try to “ride it out” due to finances and the children, or to just take the children and run. I know my Mother stayed, despite others telling her to leave with us kids, because (1) she truly loved my Father; and (2) she wanted us kids to have a Father regardless how dysfunctional it was. Now if it came to my Father abusing us, it would have been a different story.

      It’s truly sad you went through that and your children have been affected to this day. I have a friend that has 2 young children and she finally had enough. She stuck it out long enough to find a place to go and that was it. It took her awhile to work up the courage though and not everyone can.

      As for your addiction and your sisters, I do understand. I am 6 1/2 years smoke-free to this date and I’ll tell you, it hasn’t been easy. I won’t say I kicked the habit, I like to say, I quit for today and I’m recovery. The smell of cigarettes makes me crave one and I could easily pick it right back up.

      Addictions are a horrible thing my friend. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. God bless.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Welcome to the blog Ann!

      Sorry to hear about all that you’ve been through, and it must’ve been so tough to stay because of the financial crisis, which most families must be facing. I think your kids would understand you and all that you underwent much better once they grow up a little and would be proud of the decision you took, which was to stay back because of them.

      Yes, any kind of addiction is bad, and as Bren mentioned, she’s overcome her habit of smoking, and all that you need is the willpower and you can change over within a second, if you want. I know it’s not easy, but if you give yourself that one push, you can do it too.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story with us. I wish you all the best in life 🙂

  7. Babanature

    July 26, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Hello Bren and welcome to Harleena’s blog,

    It is very difficult to fight addiction, but when one is determined, he/ she can stop the addiction.

    My friends pop was one hell of an addict when it comes to alcohol. Then in the long run, he suddenly changed and till date, he has never tasted alcohol. He did not go to anybody for help, but he did these changes due to determination.

    I haven’t tasted alcohol in my whole life so i wouldn’t know how it taste but my friend pops did showed people that determination conquered all.
    Nice post and do have a nice weekend ahead, both of you 🙂

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 26, 2013 at 10:58 pm

      Hi Babanature!

      I admire the strength of your friends Father. That must have been very difficult for him however very commendable that he stopped. Kudos! I wish more alcoholics had this determination to quit. They truly do not know how much harm they are doing to themselves and their loved ones.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

  8. Ahsan

    July 26, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Hello Bren Lee,

    If there is an alcoholic person in a family, the whole family is always in a tense mood. I saw after getting cure from alcoholic life, there are again 70%-80% chance to become alcoholic again. We need always to be with him & don’t make him lonely.

    Its tough to share own experience especially on alcoholic but you described well & give good slution

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 26, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      Hello Ahsan!

      You’re absolutely right. Those “egg shells” I talked about walking on? Yes, very tense indeed. I’m sorry about your own experiences. I know there are a lot more of us out there that may be afraid or embarrassed to say we know some one or it’s us.

      I don’t believe no one is ever “cured”, I believe them to be recovering. Just as I was able to kick the habit of smoking cigarettes. It’s been almost 7 years yet I don’t say I’m cured, I say “I quit for today” for who knows if I’ll ever go back?

      Thank you for adding to our discussion today. Very much appreciated.

  9. Christina

    July 27, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Thank you for this post.

    My mother is an alcoholic. It has put such distance between us because I recognize the issue at hand. Of course, she didn’t see eye to eye with me. Recently, she revealed to me that she needed some help. It is very big of her to recognize her problem. I have yet to see her taking action to get clean. That was about 4 months ago. Only time will tell.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 27, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Hi Christina,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your Mother and truly understand how it could put distance between the two of you. You must remember, alcoholism is an addiction, a disease and even though it’s hard to admit one has a problem, it’s even hard to make that first step to get help. This is where a support system may help. I know it’s hard to embrace an alcoholic because they are full of promises that they often break, but she is your Mother and although you don’t see it, she does need you.

      I hope your Mother finds the strength to get the help she needs and I hope that you can maybe meet her halfway.

      Thank you for sharing with us today.

  10. Ann Staub

    July 27, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Hey Bren,

    This is a really great post that also kind of hits home for me. Ever since I can remember when I was a child, both of my parents were alcoholics. They were extremely violent. I think my mom was the one to instigate much of the fighting, but they were both abused physically to each other. I also remember being driven home late at night when my dad was drunk – pretty scary! Both received a DWI when I was a teenager and went to jail a couple of times for domestic calls. When I was in high school my parents divorced, my mom finally started to seek help and became sober. She relapsed here and there but she never drinks anymore. My dad still drinks, but never when he’s at home and it’s MUCH less often than when I was younger.

    Your dad also sounds similar to my boyfriend’s stepdad with the Jekyll and Hyde thing. He doesn’t drink anymore, but I still totally feel this fake nice guy thing going on.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 27, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      Hi Ann and oh my.

      I’m so very sorry to hear about your childhood. You, like me, know first hand how horrible this addiction/disease is and what it can do to tear apart a family. I’m glad to hear your Mother was able to overcome and seek the help she needs. Do you think you’re Father will ever stop?

      We always look at the outside of what alcoholism does but what it does internally to a body is a totally different story. Totally sad. I hope your Father will see the light and find the help he needs.

      Eek about your bf’s stepdad. Once you’ve seen that Jekyll/Hyde thing, it’s hard to forget.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Ann. Truly brave of you.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 30, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      Welcome to the blog Ann – nice to have you over 🙂

      Sorry to hear about your childhood, and it’s tougher still if parents are violent and abusive as well. I can imagine the effect it must be having on the kids. And to go to jail is pretty scary for sure! You all as teenagers must be terrified!

      I’m glad your Mom is through it all and even your Dad’s tapering it down now, though I wish they did that when you were kids. I guess it’s never too late to change yourself, isn’t it? I agree with Bren, you were brave to undergo all that you did at that age.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with us 🙂

  11. Enstine Muki

    July 27, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Hi Bren,

    Welcome to Harleena’s blog and thanks for sharing your story with us.
    It must have been a bitter experience at that tender age.

    I didn’t grow up in that environment though. Neither my mum nor my dad is given to alcohol. They both have their issues that almost played down on us kids though. My father has two wives who always don’t smile with each other. That alone created a bitter environment for us. Well, now the kids are all grown up, with the youngest being 25yrs old, we are able to handle the differences of our old parents. Despite us growing in such a terrible, quarrelsome and fighting environment, we have remained solidly together in one love.The differences between our mothers never succeeded in sowing a bad seed within us 😉

    I think so many children are growing up in terrible environments and thanks for sharing your true story here with us and thanks for proposing solutions 😉

    Do have a wonderful weekend

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 27, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      Hi Enstine and thank you!

      It was bitter when I was younger but it’s been so many years ago now that I’ve come to terms with it and although it wasn’t always pleasant, it was the life that was chosen for me.

      Thank you for sharing a part of your childhood with us. Although alcoholism played no part, having 2 wives/mothers around must have been difficult. I can’t imagine. Fights, arguments are never good things for children imo. Your family chose to embrace the differences which made your bonds stronger. Very admirable imo. Are you all close til this day?

      Thanks so much for sharing Enstine! Happy Weekend!

  12. Asaolu olubayode

    July 27, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks for this wonderful article, just exactly a recommendable article for a family i knew so well in my area, i think i’ll talk to the husband to visit here often, because your words here are so powerful and gives solution. Thanks once more. i have already tweeted it cos i love these words.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      Thank you for sharing the article Asaolu. Although I’m no expert, I do write from the heart. True experiences often touch others in ways no professional could. I hope that you are able to reach the husband and help me find the peace he needs.

      Thanks again!

  13. Sylviane Nuccio

    July 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Hi Bren,

    It’s interesting that I’m finding this post of yours on Harleena’s as I just wrote a post about my parents, even though it has nothing to do with alcohol.

    Like with any other addictions, alcoholics tend to be so irresponsible, such as insisting to drive when they’re drunk thinking in their own distorted mind that there’s not.

    Both my ex-husbands had an alcohol problems and it’s really not pretty. Now, when it’s one of your parents, I can only imagine how terrible it might be, or should I say I CAN totally imagine since I’ve seen its ugliness close and personal.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, and it’s so therapeutic to write this type of post 🙂

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 27, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      Hi Sylviane!

      I’ll definitely have to check out your story. I love reading real life stories. Just something about them.

      You’re right, alcoholics can be irresponsible. From drunk driving to using money to buy alcohol instead of meeting the needs of the family to gambling and much much more.

      I’m sorry about your ex-husbands. You know first hand how the “walking on eggshells” and how the tension in the house can be. It literally can pull apart a family in no time. I’m so sorry.

      It’s been so long ago now, it’s not really therapeutic anymore. It’s more of seeing my life from a different view. The view of a 45 year old looking back versus a 9 year old or 20 year old. I can see things more clearer and understand a bit more about my Father’s addiction. Believe it or not, despite all the dysfunction and the nights we screamed at each other at the top of our lungs, I still LOVE this man, even in his death, for he was the only Father I ever had.

      Thank you for sharing with us Sylviane!

  14. Hiten

    July 27, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Hi Bren,

    This was a brilliant and very authentic guest post. Harleena, thanks for having Bren over.

    Bren, although I’ve not experienced any alcoholism in my own family, I do have a friend whose mother was an alcoholic. When my friend was younger, when I mum was drunk, she would beat her and do things like push her down the stairs. It really was awful.

    What you wrote about accepting that one is an alcoholic reminded me of my experiences with stuttering. When I was younger I did all I could to not have to accept that I had a problem. It was only when I accepted that I was a person who stuttered that I could begin the road of recovery.

    Thank you.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 28, 2013 at 12:54 am

      Hello Hiten and thank you so much!

      Oh my gosh. This is the extreme side of alcholism. Violence. I’m so sorry about your friend. How is she today? Does she still have horrible memories?

      I believe it’s true when we have afflictions or addictions. If we accept whatever it is and embrace, only then can we overcome. I’m so glad you were able to do that with your stuttering. Have you overcome it all together? You must be a strong person to have accepted it and that’s very admirable.

      Thank you so much for contributing to our discussion. I pray your friend has been able to heal after her awful experience.

      • Hiten

        July 28, 2013 at 3:22 am

        Hi Bren,

        My friend is fine now. Although the memories are still there, the sting in them no longer is. She has healed herself.

        Regarding stuttering, although I still do block at times, I don’t let it hold me back in life.

  15. Sultani

    July 28, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Alcohol has been used all throughout history for different purposes. It has been used as stimulants, anesthetic, and any other ways, but no one think or ask about the side effects of alcoholism.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 29, 2013 at 12:20 am

      Very true Sultanl!

      Thank you for contributing that tidbit!

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 30, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Welcome to the blog Sultani!

      I agree with you there, though overuse of it can be disastrous, as you can see from Bren’s story.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  16. Obasi Miracle

    July 28, 2013 at 6:43 am

    Bren Lee,

    Your topic on “Alcoholic Parents: Family Problems and Solutions” and the detailed tips you provided has just reminded me of a friend of mine during my college days whose dad was addicted to alcoholism and made him go through several embarrassment.

    After reading your tips all I could say was “How I wish this man is on facebook or twitter?” You know old men down here hardly have time for social network and so keep missing precious guides like this one.I still had to tweet your articles ‘cos his son or another close to him might get him to know of this tips.

    Thanks for helping out with this post.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 29, 2013 at 12:23 am

      Hi Obasi,

      That’s so sad about your friend and I hope he/she was able to heal from all that. Yes, the embarrassments were just that. Sometimes you wanted to crawl under a rock because of the actions of the alcoholic.

      I hope my article may reach others that might be in denial and can see what alcoholism does to a family from another point of view.

      Thanks so much for sharing with us!

  17. Rupak

    July 28, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Hi Bren!

    I’m glad to read your personal experience on alcohol addiction that you’ve beautifully portrayed, at the same time feel sorry for the hardship you went through. It is always heart touchy when someone says something out of his/her experiences. Seeing your parents yelling at each other must have been very difficult for you. It needs great courage to handle the situation when nobody around you is there to solve the issue. Being a minor ,it adds fuel to the torment.

    I feel like congratulating you to have withstood in such negative conditions. I’ve seen people ruining themselves and their family due to this culprit. I come from a rural area of India where drinking rice bear is a custom. When somebody visits your home there is every possibility of asking for alcohol.And it is considered very harsh if denied. They start speaking ill about the family.

    When my father expired my mother had no source of income to bring us up. We were just kids of 3 to 6 years of age. I’d made my mind never to drink but my brothers occasionally drink which worries my mother. Though they never yell at anyone nor they are addicted but I fear the worse. Alcoholism is very difficult to ditch once addicted. I do get emotional reading your story and recollecting my own. Thanks for giving advice to get rid of this life ruing habit.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 29, 2013 at 12:27 am

      Hello Rupak!

      I’m glad I’m able to touch some lives with my own personal experiences. Although I don’t look for sympathy, I do like to encourage others to gain strength from my story and find strength in themselves to overcome what they have gone through. Or possibly, the alcoholic to seek help.

      I can see where in other countries it may be offensive if a drink is denied. It’s truly ashame but I guess that’s simply the culture. However, if it’s just a drink, I think that is ok. However, when the drink is abused, that’s another story.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your father and your childhood. Although you didn’t face an alcoholic family, growing up without a Father and struggling could be just as damaging to a child. I hope you were able to embrace parts of my story and possible share along to others that may need help.

      Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  18. Mitch

    July 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Excellent post, Thank you for bringing that subject, Bren.

    It is about time we starting focusing and handling this problem as a society.
    Every kid on a corner, shooting up drugs, Alcoholic ,going nowhere
    We’re going to have to pay for in the future.
    Whether the things they broke, the people they hurt, the damage they will cause or the cost of sending them to jail, do you have much tax money it cost to send someone to jail.. ?
    Therefore, it is efficient and functionally selfish to handle this problem as a society,
    This should be a duty for every single one of us to help dis-functional society members as their well being is eventually our well-being.

    Many thanks, and Best wishes!

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 29, 2013 at 12:31 am

      Hi Mitch and thank you.

      I agree in that society should step up and help those in need. However, at least my view in the United States, society is pretty self-centered and not many are willing to take a chance on someone with an addiction and help them. It’s truly very sad. It’s very difficult to see an alcoholic or someone with another addiction and find compassion to help them. Instead they want to focus on whatever action is being done and condemn them.

      Not very good in my opinion. There are so many people that have addictions simply because they want to be loved or cared for yet, they drown their sorrows in alcohol or drugs.

      Thank you for contributing to the discussion Mitch. Very much appreciated.

  19. Shalu Sharma

    July 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Hi,
    I am sorry what happened to your mother and your father and it takes a lot of courage for sharing this personal information with us. Its a hard thing to suffer for any child. But alcoholism does exist even in India. Thank you for pointing this issue and starting a discussion on it.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 29, 2013 at 12:33 am

      Hi Shalu and thank you. It does take courage to overcome a childhood or life with an alcoholic but it can be done. I refused to allow it to take me down and drew strength from what I went though and moved on. Although there were times I said I hated my Father, I understood the addiction and loved him anyway. This was the only way he knew how to handle whatever was bothering him. Sad so many people in the U.S. and other countries turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to escape.

      Thank you for sharing!

  20. MuMuGB

    July 28, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing this post, Bren. I also grew up in a very dysfunctional family (my dad is a bipolar) but I didn’t really understand it all until I was a young adult.

    Just like you, my dad was respected. Behind closed door he was sick and my mum was an enabler too. Nobody helped us, my parents wouldn’t let anyone in. I am sometimes wondering whether, in your case and in mine, social services shouldn’t have come and helped. I was very lucky to be able to escape.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 29, 2013 at 12:37 am

      Hello there and sorry to hear about your childhood.

      I am still learning more about those who are bipolar as I continue to find out more and more people are diagnosed this way. However, in what I have read and heard so far, it is a very dysfunctional life. For that, I am sorry.

      Is your Father still bipolar today?

      As far as social services, I don’t think that would have helped my situation. Taking 2 adopted children from a loving home, although dysfunctional and putting into foster care or what not would have been more damaging for us, I believe. I can’t say for your situation as only you know what went on behind closed doors.

      Have you been able to heal at all from your childhood? Thank you for sharing part of your life with us. Much appreciated.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      July 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      Welcome to the blog MuMuGB!

      Sorry to hear about you and your family – it must have been very tough in your growing years. I think in such situations it’s not easy to disclose things openly to people, even if they might want to help. Glad you are through it (I hope you are!), and I’m sure Bren would be a better person to answer the social services part of it. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story with us 🙂

      BTW – It would be nice if you could use your real name (or is this the real one?) and get yourself a Gravatar, so that we can all see who we are talking to. Just a friendly suggestion 🙂

  21. Donna Merrill

    July 29, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Hi Bren,

    Oh boy can I relate to this one. My dad was an alcoholic and mom the enabler. Some of my childhood was actually blocked! In a nutshell, it was hell growing up, never inviting friends over because I didn’t know what to expect. Having low self esteem from dad emotionally abusing me and mom being silent. I could write a book!

    No one ever helped and we lived with a large family close by. So when I was a tween, I started reading everything I could. I wanted to be like everyone else and somehow knew there was a way out. Needless to say, I broke out at 17 and was on my own.

    Therapy has helped along the years, but EMDR treatments worked the best from trauma related as a child.

    Thanks for sharing your story. It always helps to bring others together when we talk about things.
    -Donna

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 30, 2013 at 5:26 am

      I’m so sorry Donna. Sounds like you had it rougher than I did. Gosh, I’m so sorry. Sometimes I believe emotional abuse can be much more damaging than physical. Bones can heal and mend, however the soul possibly may never heal. I’m sure it made you a much stronger person today. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I truly hope you have “healed” some since then.

  22. Theodore Nwangene

    July 29, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Welcome to Aha Now Bren,

    What an interesting and informational article you’ve shared here. Alcoholism is really a very bad habit which can easily kill its victim because once you get addicted to it, it will not be allowing you to eat again because, it will tie your stomach.

    One of the reason why I like myself is that I don’t drink anything alcohol at all and I’m sure I will never take it. Just like anything, it’s never easy to overcome an addiction but with practice, it’s very possible. It can only take time and effort but once you’re committed to achieving it, you can.

    That’s why I love the quote……. YOU CAN IF YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN.

    Thanks for sharing this with us Bren and, thank Harleena for allowing her to share her wealth of knowledge with us.

    You both enjoy your week.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 30, 2013 at 5:28 am

      Hi Theodore!

      I’m glad to hear that you’ll never put yourself in that position to be tempted by alcohol. I do believe, if you have the will, you can do it. It won’t be easy, but good things never do come easy, do they.

      I appreciate your words of wisdom and for sharing with us today. Thank you so much!

  23. Oluwaseun Babajide

    July 29, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Hey Bren,

    Welcome to Harleena’s blog and thank you for sharing this lovely article with us!
    I have never experienced alcoholism before, I don’t drink personally myself. I just thought I should say I enjoyed reading this article and will surely pass it on to my friends to check it out
    Thanks for the share.
    -Seun

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 30, 2013 at 5:05 am

      Well hello Seun and thank you so much! You are all so kind to pass along my story. I hope it helps someone who may need it. Thank you for sharing!

  24. Nate Leung

    July 29, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Hey Bren,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I know it must be really hard to write because of the experiences that you endured as a child. It’s funny because most of the things that we remember, are things we remember as a child. I can remember things so clear and vividly as a child but as an adult, not so much.

    I know what it’s like to lose a parent but I never had to go through the experiences that you shared. My parents do not drink and neither do I but I want to thank you for sharing your story.

    Have a great week ahead!

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      July 30, 2013 at 5:23 am

      Hi Nate.

      Oh I have to agree with you. I can remember things from my childhood just like it was yesterday, however, if you asked me what I wore this past Saturday, I couldn’t tell you. 🙂

      Apparently, this was the life I was given and it was for a reason. Do I know what the reason is yet? Possibly to just share my story and touch lives of others. I’m glad to hear that you didn’t experience anything like this. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  25. prince

    July 30, 2013 at 4:05 am

    Nice post Bran Lee, reading this post really exposed to a great piece of ideal to work on and share with friends and families.

    @ Harleena Singh have read so many of your comments on other blogs and i must say that yours comments are too informative they even have more value more than most of the articles the comments are written on.

    Thanks for this awesome blog i really enjoyed my first time at your blog.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      August 1, 2013 at 4:26 am

      Hi Prince and thank you for saying so. I hope it will touch the hearts of others and help them find their way.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      August 1, 2013 at 11:54 am

      Welcome to the blog Prince!

      Thanks for your kind words of appreciation about my comments, which somehow are better known than me in the Blogosphere. I guess I really don’t bother much about their length, and once I start, it’s tough for me to stop 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, and hope to see you around 🙂

  26. Viola Tam

    July 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Bren,

    Thank you for sharing your story. It must be difficult growing up in a dysfunctional family. It is wonderful to see that you are a well-adjusted person after going through those childhood challenges.

    Like many other areas in life, people do have blind spots. I trust that having people like you sharing your experiences may be one of the ways to help others to realize their problem. May your post touches more people’s lives through Harleena’s blog.

    Thanks, Harleena for bringing in Bren 🙂

    Thanks, Bren!

    Viola Tam – The Business Mum

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      August 1, 2013 at 4:28 am

      Hi Viola!

      Looking back at it now, almost 35 years later, it didn’t see quite that horrible, however, I’m sure my memories just isn’t quite what it used to be.

      I wish more people would share their true life experiences because I do believe we can touch others through them and give them hope or a path to follow to help themselves.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us!

  27. Sue Price

    July 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Bren

    Welcome to Harleena’s blog and thanks for being brave enough to share your story.

    Alcoholism is a big problem in many families. I get what you say about a functioning alcoholic as there are many. In Australia we have a drinking culture. There are not many celebrations that do not involve alcohol. While most people do it in moderation many do not.

    That driving while drunk thing is very scary. At least here now the penalties are so great most people do not do it. But some still do.

    Thanks again for sharing Bren.

    Sue

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      August 1, 2013 at 4:30 am

      Hi Sue and thank you!

      I see that drinking is a cultural thing outside of the United States. I wonder if alcoholism is just as bad as in the U.S. or even worse? I can understand going to a party an overdoing it a bit, but to do it weekly or nightly is just too serious for me. The drinking and driving is a bad thing however despite the harsh penalties here, once that “drunk” gets going, there goes all thoughts of rationality. Sad isn’t it.

      Thanks for stopping by Sue!

  28. Evelyn Lim

    July 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Hello Bren,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry to learn about how difficult and challenging it was for you as a child. However, I am so glad to learn that you are now turning your story into something that meaningfully make a difference to the lives of others. I wish you every love and success!

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      August 1, 2013 at 4:32 am

      Hi Evelyn!

      I have nothing to hide. Some people have asked me how I could share such a personal story. It was my life and I’m not ashamed. My family knew about the alcoholism but maybe not the extent but they knew.

      I feel by sharing I may just help that one person who really needs it. 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment!

  29. Suhas

    July 30, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Hi Bren,

    I am a regular visitors here and just like the way Harleena handle every topic. The thing you are talking about is a serious issue all over the world. Saddest part of the story is that is the problem has not changed over the years it existed.

    The thing Friday night fight might get altered to an everyday fight here in India. This is a serious social issue in India.
    You have really handled this topic to reach the depths of the issue.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      August 1, 2013 at 4:35 am

      Hi Suhas!

      I’m so sorry to hear about how bad it is in India. Truly horrifying knowing this disease/addiction is so prevalent all over the world. There are parts in the U.S. that are “daily” as well. Thankfully, I didn’t grow up in those areas but what I experienced was definitely enough.

      Thank you for sharing with us Suhas!

  30. Susan Neal

    July 31, 2013 at 2:46 am

    Hi Bren,

    I’m full of admiration for you for sharing such a personal and painful story. I’m fortunate never to have had personal experience of this, but I’ve worked with many people with alcohol problems, in job as a mental health nurse, and I’m aware of the terrible damage it can cause. As you say, the healing can only begin when the person with the drink problem actually recognises that they need help – as long as they’re in denial, it’s very difficult. Until then, all anyone can really do is damage limitation, which must, I think, involve practical and emotional support for close family members who are affected – they’re the real victims, as you know only too well.

    Thanks for a very powerful post, Bren,

    Sue

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      August 1, 2013 at 4:38 am

      Hi Sue,

      Although you didn’t live in a dysfunctional family, I can imagine the degrees of alcoholism you see as a nurse. How horrible to see people waste their lives away. But it’s true, we can lecture them until we are blue in the face, until they accept and admit it or they get themselves committed, there’s really nothing we can do but try to protect them. Although I do know first hand, that is a very difficult thing today, especially when you’re angry at them.

      I believe I was given that path for a reason and maybe this is just it. Sharing it with others in hopes to help them.

      Thanks Sue!

  31. Jodi

    July 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    It’s so intense, Bren! Losing a mother that young after all you were going through must have been so hard. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to share that! But I am sure this helps people who are also going through it. I admire you for putting it out there!
    xo
    Jodi

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      August 1, 2013 at 4:39 am

      Hi Jodi,

      I will agree, losing my Mother that young was horrible for me. It changed my life and at first, for the worse. I went into a mild depression but fighting it because I was so busy trying to be the “little woman” of the house. Still having an alcoholic in the house who didn’t know how to cope with the death of his wife, is another segment to my chapter. 🙂

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

  32. Arleen

    August 2, 2013 at 2:49 am

    First the people that in involved with an alcoholic in their lives have to understand they didn’t can’t fix it, you didn’t cause it and you can’t cure it. Alcoholism is a disease and doesn’t mean you are a bad person. What most people do not understand that alcoholics many times have the propensity to have the problems if they have alcoholism in the family. They have a greater chance of drinking. Sometimes it is out of the control of the alcoholic unless they work at it everyday not to drink. The neurons in the brain actually make that person keep drinking. In order to cover up the drinking they will lie about everything. There are are several factors that causes someone to drink Anger, Loneliness, Boredom. It is important for the alcoholic to seek help. They need to be removed from People, Places and Things as all of these are triggers. Not saying this will cure the alchollic as it something that they have to work on for the rest of their lives.

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      August 9, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Arleen and thank you.

      I have to agree with you. Alcohol is an addiction and not an easy one to break. I’ve had friends who went into 30-60 day programs only to come out and relapse over and over again. It truly is difficult but I do believe, if the will is there to quit, you continue to try and try again until you succeed.

      Thanks for sharing.

  33. Mayura

    August 4, 2013 at 6:00 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Wow… It’s really nice to see Bren here with such a wonderful and so personal story while educating everyone about the ways to overcome this matter. On top of all, this girlie living a wonderful life after going through terrible circumstances and hurdles in her life. Isn’t she? 🙂

    Hi Brenda,

    Woohoo… Nice to see you here. BTW I missed this post and noticed once I stop by here 😉 Here I am!

    Well, I’m fortunate enough not to experience alcoholism in that way. My father is kinda addicted. But very peaceful and talkative when he’s drunk though 😉

    I’m sorry about what you had to go through in your childhood Brenda. Well, not really. May be I should feel more sad about your story. But the things is I really feel more proud of you rather than feeling sad right now 🙂 I feel it’s really hard as a child, and admire you for not giving up. See, your new life has no functioning alcoholics around but paws everywhere 😉

    Actually, I had no idea about solutions you mentioned up there. Glad if we had more of such a programs here too. Anyway, you are exactly right about the point that it never gets better unless the person admit it! For example, doctors advised my father not to drink even wine, otherwise his health may get worse. But he think he knows better than ’em.

    I’m glad how your childhood experience turned into a very helpful post after all. For some folks, this could be more than a post 🙂

    You both have a lovely weekend, Brenda and Harleena 🙂

    Cheers…

    • Profile photo of

      Bren Lee

      August 9, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      Hi Mayura!

      I’m glad to hear you haven’t had to experience this in your life. Not all alcoholics turn nasty but the over physical affects alcohol have on the body aren’t good either. I pray that your father would try and stop.

      No reason to feel sorry for me my friend. These were the cards I was dealt and we can either let it devastate us or draw power and strength from it, learn, and move on. I chose to move on and not have that kind of life. It’s rare for me to even pick up a drink now but not because I’m afraid I might become an alcoholic but I guess I’m content in my life and don’t see a need for that “alcohol” high. As you know me more than some others here, my high comes from watching the goofy stuff Titan does. 🙂

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Mayura and sorry it’s taking me so long to reply. 🙂






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