Growing up with an alcoholic parent, I was under the misguided belief that my father’s excessive drinking was somehow my fault. I thought if I could be the ‘good’ daughter, dare I say even the ‘perfect’ daughter, my father wouldn’t need to drink and all would be well again. However erroneous this thought process may have seemed, it at least enabled me to survive my dysfunctional upbringing.
My brothers may have felt the opposite, seeing our fathers’ alcoholism for what it was: a destructive, chaotic force taking away any consistency, trust, love, and happiness from what might have been an idyllic childhood. The concept that their alcoholic parent was indeed sick but playing the best they could with the card they’d been dealt was somewhat helpful.
There is value in ‘going back in’ and recognizing what happened in the past and its continuing effect on our lives today. We now must try to become our own loving parent and unhook those old erroneous survival techniques we adapted as children and move on.
Hi, I’m Liz Hawkins and I’m a recovering Adult Child of an Alcoholic.
Reference: Hugh Trethowan (2017)