Growing Up with an Alcoholic Father

“What happens in this house, stays in this house.” That should be the official slogan for growing up with an addict parent. This was a phrase I was told over and over gain growing up and it became my normal. At the time, I didn’t realize that was toxic behavior. I just thought it was no one’s business what our family did. Thats what the addict parent wants you to believe. Excusing inappropriate behavior was also a normal thing. If I had a nickel for every time I heard “he can’t help it, its the drinking” I’d have enough money for the therapy I need for my daddy issues. 
Friends never understood. “It can’t be that bad”, they’d say. YES IT FUCKING CAN AND IT WAS. They weren’t allowed over. Hell is the place and time in which my parents lived together. There was so much yelling and fighting, I can’t recall a lot of happy memories that weren’t tainted by some form of abuse. I rode in the back of a police car in the middle of the night because my dad was pulled over for a DUI. I was wearing my little mermaid night gown. 
It wasn’t a loving home. It was shameful and secretive. My brother was emotionally abused by my alcoholic father. I am not sure if it ever got physical. My mother on the other hand, physically fought with my dad. I recall picking her up off the floor at a very young age because he pushed her down. I remember her screaming for me and for help. I remember my brother calling the police and it was the last time we all lived under the same roof.
I remember picking my dad and his motorcycle up off the ground when he was in a drunken stupor. I remember him always telling me my dreams were unreachable. I remember my mother telling me disparaging things about my father. I didn’t need her to tell me those things because I witnessed his behavior. But, she would confuse me by adding “I shouldn’t say that, he’s your dad”. Well then why say it?
I don’t think its fair that I had to grow up with an alcoholic parent. I wonder what it would have been like with a positive, active father in my life and what kind I person I could’ve been. I’m at a point in my life where I am fighting resentment and wondering if grief, acceptance, and forgiveness will ever be something I can work though and achieve. 
It is weird for me to see my dad, and I see him each week. I don’t know if I hate him, and I should love him…somewhere in my heart, right? I’m so mad that he was apparently really cool before he started drinking. I wish that was the dad I knew. I used to be so mad because he would ruin family events, but now I’m mad that he doesn’t come anymore. I just miss having a lot of family around I guess. Each year the numbers diminish at the holiday gathering and it has been depressing. Holidays are still stressful without his physical presence as I learned he’s not the only toxic one.
I used to wish so hard and pray that he would go to rehab and get better. I’m old enough to know that just isn’t going to happen. He’s in his 50’s and still in denial about his drinking. I am afraid one day he’ll be gone and I won’t know how to feel. Will I be mad that I’ve had ill feelings toward him? I’m still trying to grieve for my inner child. For the father she she deserved but didn’t have. I wish I knew how to give her the love she never quite received.


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