From the beginning…

I am not really sure where to begin, so I will just start writing and see where it takes me…

I am in my 30s and have read pretty much everything ever published about being the child of an alcoholic.  I know all about the roles (I am a hero), the shame, the dysfunction, the warnings (Just FYI- I didn’t marry an alcoholic “like my dad”, but my ex was a jerk anyway, go figure).  But I never read anything that really sounded like MY life or MY family or MY alcoholic (awww!).  I’m tired of all the hokey, psychology-ridden rhetoric about living with an alcoholic…I think people need the harsh truth.  Living with an alcoholic parent is hell.  No book you read is going to change that.  The only thing that ever helped me was finding other people in my situation (rare) and using humor (often).

My dad is a special kind of alcoholic; the kind who hasn’t had to face many repercussions.  But after being an alcoholic for over 20 years now, it is finally starting to catch up with him.  It’s about time.

That sounds mean, but once you start to read a little more (if I get anyone to read this since I am not sharing it with family or friends), you will see.  Because my story stretches over two decades and has no definite end in sight, it is a little overwhelming to know where to really start.  So, let me just explain the title of my blog: “Do Nothing Taker”.  That is one of my many nicknames I have been given by my alcoholic father.  For many, many years, he was a functional alcoholic (one of those fancy Al-Anon terms!). It basically means that the alcoholic gets to go to work and have everyone think he is a normal person, but then comes home and acts like a psycho-monster to his family.  My dad made a very good living and my younger sister and I were very well provided for.  My ex (the sober jerk) used to say “big house, no problems”.  This was the truth.  We appeared like a very nice family.  It was exceptionally deceiving for a long time (we will get to that).  But when my dad acted especially mean, he would buy my sister and I gifts- it is how I got my first Nintendo.  But my father’s favorite thing in the whole world (besides cheap vodka) is throwing things back into people’s faces.  Hence my nickname.  I am a do nothing taker because he bought my first bike, paid for my college, etc. etc. and I have done nothing in return- I just take.  He conveniently forgets me dropping assault charges against him, but alcoholics have fuzzy memories like that (and that is a whole OTHER story…)

I do hope someone reads this, maybe even someone who can relate to this (or who just wants to feel like their dad maybe wasn’t such an asshole in comparison to mine- my friends like to do that lol), but even if no one does, I think it will help me to get some of it off my chest.  Besides, I want to write a book about him one day so this is prewriting (did I mention I teach English?)

17 comments on “From the beginning…

  1. Keep writing, and keep using that sense of humor! Alcoholic fathers are assholes and when we look back at the happenings, they are absolutely absurd! I think you should tell him you are writing a book about him!

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  2. Thank you so much for reading!!! They really are the worst, right? I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface, but I guess it takes time and a lot of writing.

    I should…but I don’t want to be cut out of his will 😉

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  3. Hi there! This is very similar to the kind of stuff that I went through with my mom as a kid. Thankfully she has been sober for about 15 years with a few crazy relapses. I always knew she was drinking because she was a straight lunatic. It is really hard. Until I started blogging, I didn’t really talk about these feelings around my childhood and her drinking and it’s effect on me. I block it out. It is easier to just try to keep everything perfect and happy in my life. But that may be hindering me from really dealing with stress when things beyond my control happen. I look at myself and think “hey you turned out great! It couldn’t have been that bad!” but then I think about the fact that all the teachers at my school knew what was going on and they took me on and mentored me. I am a teacher now (thanks to the pushing and mentoring of my teachers) and I look at struggling kids and I worry about them and I realize my teachers worried about me the same way. It is really sad! I’ll be following you here and thinking of you!

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    • Thank you so much- your response really touched me because I am a teacher, too. I always thought it was a weird coincidence that students will confide in me things going on at home and then I realized that it really wasn’t….that kids truly know when they can trust someone and when someone cares. I had a high school teacher who really worried about my situation and he made me a better teacher by example.

      Sometimes I feel like I turned out great and other times I feel like a big mess- keeping things in really takes a toll on a person and mine has created a lot of anxiety.

      Please keep writing, I really feel like what you are saying is important and you never know who might read it and feel inspired!

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      • Thank You! I will keep writing is actually somewhat therapeutic for me. It is making me have some feelings around my childhood that I would usually push down. My mom watched my children all day yesterday and made smoothies and crafts and played dolls and made plans to be with them again next week. She really is so much better and I am so grateful for that. I was thinking of you while I was there. It can get better if the alcoholic gets help. I know it is not that easy though. It took me having my first child and realizing that I could not subject my child to this kind of crazy. It was either the booze or her grandson and she chose my son (it wasn’t that cut and dry but you get the point). I did the classic intervention at 19 years old without even knowing that that was what I was doing. But, as much as I loved her, I loved my son more.
        I am not saying that is what you need to do. I know that it is not easy and we really can’t control it and that is the hardest part. Keep writing!

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  4. Paula says:

    I feel your pain. I too am a child of an alcoholic. However, my mom is the alcoholic in my family. She is the only family I have besides my husband and 2 kids. She is 79 and has been drinking heavily since she retired at 65.

    Her drinking is getting worse. She’s been in the ICU because if a bleeding ulcer due to her constant drinking. Almost died. She has single handedly destroyed many holidays last of which was this Christmas when she tried to stagger back to our condo in Mexico and fell hard splitting her scull open. Not to mention soiling herself in front of my kids.

    Yesterday I divorced her. It was a very difficult decision and I continue to fight with myself because the guilt I feel and the guilt she lays on me is unbearable. I do have to live my life for both my kids and my husband as well as myself. Her addiction is slowly burrowing itself into my marriage. My kids don’t want her around. She’s mean to them and my husband as well. But I’m all she has.

    This sucks.

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    • I’m so sorry, but proud of you that you had the strength put your family first. It is hard to think of it that way because our parents ARE our family, but there comes a time when we have to stop letting their problem affect us so deeply. I don’t have children, but I would not want my kids exposed to that, either.

      When people say to me, “why don’t you just stop talking to your father if he is so nasty?”, it sounds like such an obvious answer, but we know it is not that easy. My parents are still married- 47 years- and if I want a relationship with my mother, I have no choice but to have him in my life. Even if I wasn’t so close to my mom, I would feel the same sense of guilt and responsibility you do.

      It does suck…it really does!

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  5. localinda says:

    Thank you for following my blog.
    I’m not sure if you’ve read any of it but my mom has had a problem with the drink since before I was born. I think Alanons find each other in special ways – your students can SENSE it. That’s how a lot of me and my friends found each other growing up. And that’s how I find most of them now.

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  6. I have read some of your blog posts and I really can relate. I totally agree with you. I always thought it was just a coincidence that my two best friends throughout middle and high school also had alcoholic parents. Now I realize that we were drawn together because we could be there for each other and understand with no judging.

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  7. “For many, many years, he was a functional alcoholic…It basically means that the alcoholic gets to go to work and have everyone think he is a normal person, but then comes home and acts like a psycho-monster to his family.”

    “But [his] favorite thing in the whole world (besides cheap vodka) is throwing things back into people’s faces.”

    You just described my husband to a T.

    I hope you continue blogging; I’m enjoying it immensely.

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  8. I’m sorry. I don’t know what is worse…being their wife or their daughter. I’m guessing it isn’t fun either way. I hope it gets better for you.

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  9. So excited to read your blog. My dad was a single dad(my egg donor was a stripper who promptly left me at 6 mths old, came back, left again at 2.5 yrs old and so on and so forth..like u say..that’s a whole other blog!) who was a functioning alcoholic.
    I read somewhere, and have been practicing the hypothesis for over 10 years now, that children of alcoholics, in a room of 50 people, will ALWAYS find each other. Isn’t that crazy? But it’s sooo true. thanks for blogging…makes me feel like I am not alone.
    Even crazier is the weird deep down fear that I am doing something wrong…that I would be in trouble if he knew I was writing this. Ugh. The grip it has no one can understand unless they have lived it.

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    • Sounds like you have been through a lot…and I totally agree with your thought about COAs finding each other. I have had wonderful friends (and boyfriends) who listen and sympathize wit how my father has treated me, but only another kid who experienced it first hand (even if their situation was different) is truly going to understand.

      I write this blog totally “secretly” (none of my family members or friends have read it), so I think I need to connect with other people “like me” to deal with some of my deeper feelings.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my blog!!!! It means a lot to me 🙂

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  10. Wait, one more thing- I thought do nothing taker was going to be YOUR DAD. Funny how they project….sounds like he is the one who did nothing and took the family down with his disease, without remorse. Gross.

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  11. Hopewestbank says:

    I just found your blog and so happy I did! There aren’t many who can relate to what we have been through. I just started my blog recently. Keep on writing! It’s truly inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

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