I am a 38 year old mother of 2, happily married for 19 years. I am also an adult child of an alcoholic...and as part of my therapy, I have made this website. It is my hope that others like me will view this page, read my story, and share their experiences with me. And also, to let them know that yes.....there is HOPE.
I grew up the daughter of a prominent attorney in Arkansas. Our life was wonderful: society parties, summers swimming at the country club, a huge allowance every weekend, and vacations in Florida each summer. The world seemed mine...until my brother turned 16. That's when my father's drinking turned violent. Upon my brother's 16th birthday, my father promptly sold the truck we owned, just so my brother couldn't have it. My dad would leave his office after work, go to the country club (for drinks), then come home...for more drinks. He would drink himself into oblivion, and be in bed by 8:00 pm. Passed out. Yet, around 2 or 3 in the morning, he would awaken...and, unable to go back to sleep, he would drink some more. And more.
All through school, I was a cheerleader and a gymnast. I was a writer, putting down my anger and resentment on paper stained with tears. How I wish I had read some of those poems to him. My father never came to a game to watch me cheer, or to watch my brother play football. My mother was never allowed to work; her "job" was here at home. She was so emotionally beaten down by my father that she stayed in their so-called marriage for 29 years. As my brother and I grew older, his drinking worsened. I would be called to the country club to come pick him up - dead drunk - in front of my friends and their parents. I never really dated, for fear of my date meeting my father. Once when I did manage a date, and we were standing on the front porch ( I was waiting for a good-nite kiss!) my mom ran screaming out the front door, followed closely by my father with a golf club in his hand. To this day, there are still dents on the inside of that door where he missed his target. Needless to say, the poor fellow never asked me out again!
When I was a young teenager, I had the habit of sleeping with a huge Buck 24 knife under my pillow. That was my "security blanket", so to speak. Those were the days when my father had a habit of finding his way upstairs around 3 in the morning - stark naked and drunk. Nothing ever came of his escapades...he merely walked around turning on the lights as if to make sure we were asleep in bed. He never bothered us, but it sure put a young girl ill at ease. Looking back, I wonder what the man thought as he looked at my empty bed...for as soon as the hall light came on, I rolled off the bed and crammed myself under it, waiting for him to leave. And those little visits could happen several times a night, depending on how drunk he was.
One night when I was 16, my parents had a big argument. Mom went out on the front porch to have a cigarette and try to calm down; my brother was up in his room, and I was attempting to go to sleep on the couch in the living room (with my trusty knife under my pillow). My father had spent the afternoon drinking vodka and cutting shotgun shells. I had no idea why he was cutting them open and emptying them out. Just when things seemed calm, I noticed my father walking through the hallway and headed up the stairs with his shotgun in his hands. I was paralyzed with fear but when I heard a shot ring out, and heard my mother screaming out front, I took off up the stairs 2 at a time, and discovered my brother sprawled on the floor of his room and a huge hole in the wall just above his head. My father stood in the doorway of his room, holding a "good" shotgun shell in his right hand, and the gun in his left. I heard him say, "This one's for you...". That did it. I brought my knife up over my head with both hands, and slammed it down as hard as hell on the wrist holding the shell. (The knife was still in it's case...which had a lead lining along the bottom) Suddenly, my father turned to me, and with tears in his eyes asked, "Sugar, what did you do that for?" The three of us had to practically pull every phone out of the walls because my father decided that WE were trying to kill HIM!! It took us a while to get him back downstairs and into bed, but somehow we managed. I wanted to call the police, but oh, no......what would everyone think!?!?! Such a great man; such a great lawyer!?!?! The next day my father discovered that his right wrist was fractured in 2 places. Gee, he wondered...how did that happen?
My parents divorced in 1988, with me going to my parents house and literally removing my mother. It had reached a point to where he was threatening to kill himself constantly. We sought help to have him committed in the form of a doctor, another attorney, and a judge. But by the time they showed up, he had gained a little sobriety and sent them all running with their tails between their legs with angry threats of legality such as they've never heard before. This man could quote the law books: ask him a topic, he would tell you the book, page, and paragraph. (And did I mention he had several different degrees from colleges, including a doctorate in Psychology?) My mother later met and married a wonderful man who treats her like a queen. Yet, in her heart, I know she still loves my father. My brother married in 1984, and soon after moved across the nation. I also married in 1984, but chose to remain with my husband in our small home town. And I'm so grateful that I did.
My father passed away in 1993. Shortly before that I heard my father tell me "I love you" for the first time in my life. We discussed openly the past, our emotions, and had settled our old problems and attempted to make a new try at being father and daughter, which we never had in the past. I also wanted him to be able to know and love his grandchildren...which he did. Then tragedy hit on a hot day in July: my father suffered a heat stroke. He died 2 days later knowing that I loved him greatly, regardless of his past addiction. He had been sober for 6 years, but had reached a point where he was completely going over the past and the mistakes he had made. In his depression, he stopped taking his medicines, and dropped from 230 lbs to 150 lbs. Our last visit was just 2 weeks before he died, and I knew inside that something was very wrong. Many times my father tried to call my brother and make amends, but he refused his calls. I only regret that my brother never took advantage of getting to know our dad before he died, but that's for him to live with. And as for me, I was heartbroken. Finally, after all those years without a "daddy", I finally had him. And lost him...life seems so unfair at times. But with the grace of God, I turned my life around. The following year on Valentines Day, I was baptized in the waters of Puget Sound - the same place where my brother, whom I love so dearly, was baptized. I'd have it no other way.
If you can relate to my story, please email me. Make sure to sign my guestbook, and I will reply as often as possible. Thank you for viewing my page!
My message is simple: Alcoholism is a disease, but it can be overcome...through patience, understanding, and most of all: LOVE! If you or someone you love has a problem with alcohol, I urge you to contact a local ACA group. Please visit the Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization at www.adultchildren.org.