Dealing With Alcoholism: The Other Side
This is a personal story with no references or sources other than my own memory and I hope it may help recovering alcoholics take into consideration the harm they do to themselves, but also to others.
I’m adopted… WHEW! Glad I got THAT off my chest. No, really, my biological mom and dad split up and so my mom then remarried and her new husband adopted me. So, it’s my biological mom and my step dad- I call him my dad, and my dad was an alcoholic.
They teach you what alcoholism is in elementary school, but they tell it all wrong. Growing up, I thought alcoholics were raging drunks who yelled at and beat their wives. That wasn’t dad. He was quiet, strict, but never abusive, just angry. I remember bringing a friend to my house and she saw the pyramid of beer cans I built earlier that morning. She asked if my dad was an alcoholic, I shrugged, laughed, and said no. However, I always thought those were a lot of cans, but I was so used to it that I thought that’s how much he was supposed to drink. It seemed normal but it felt a bit off. It's not like I saw beer pyramids anywhere else.
To sum up my childhood, there really was no dad. He never talked and I really didn’t want to talk to him. I was always afraid of pissing him off, not because I thought he’d hurt me, he just had that sound in his voice, a look in his eye that I just knew he could hurt me if he wanted to.
Anyway, when I was in 6th grade, I came home from school to my mom crying, saying that dad was going to be gone for a while. I suppose he had cheated on her and was caught, there was some verbal abuse (about my mother’s weight) and that he decided he should seek help for his alcoholism. He was going into rehab. My mom said it was one of the only times she saw him cry. I could believe that. I’ve never seen him cry. I was confused; he really was an alcoholic? It made sence but none the less, still wierd.
After the first 10 days of rehab, my sisters and I were able to visit him. This was really uncomfortable for me. Dad was talkative and actually nice. They let my sisters and I sit in on one of the sessions and my dad got emotional and said he loved us. What’s sad is that he was venerable for the first time, and I didn’t feel a thing. He was pouring his heart out and trying to be a father for the first time and I didn't care. I felt weird. We all just listened in a circle, and I didn’t feel a thing. I just felt really uncomfortable. That’s when I realized, that because of the lack of emotion growing up, I get really wierded out by love. I mean, I am the BEST girlfriend, I say I love you to my boyfriend, my friends, and so on, and give them all my attention… but family love creeps me out.
My dad went into rehab 10 years ago and just a couple months ago, my sisters started sending me text messages that included the words “I love You” and that was really weird for me. I mean, I do love them, but it’s just so weird to say it. My parents have been saying I love you all the time since rehab, but I never answered them back. I’d usually say “I know”. It’s just weird. I started saying it back out of respect, but it’s still hard, and trust me, it’s not because I don’t care, but I didn’t grow up saying stuff like that. I didn’t have a family, I had my friends. OH dear god, weddings scare the crap out of me! It’s all to emotional for me. I have no idea how I’m going to have a father daughter dance. Like I said, I love and respect my father, but it’s weird. Well, for instance, it was weird coming back home for holidays after graduation. It’s just weird (for the record, I said weird six times in this paragraph, seven times if you include now).
So there you have it. My dad never hurt me, but it did effect me. I can’t love them back the way they love me. So keep in mind that no matter how your raise your children, if you don't tell them you love them, they wont tell you. And honestly, they more than likely wont love you at all. I debated for a long time whether or not I actually loved my parents. I’ve created a family outside my family. That’s actually the weird part. So if that kind of child hood had that great of an effect on me emotionally, just think of if he did do worse things- If he was a loud abusive drunk. All he did to me, well, is actually all that he didn't do, he wasn't there. My proof? There are no pictures of me between the kindergarten and 7th grade. No one cared. By the time someone did care, I was graduating and I didn’t come back.