If I look at the history of my family and my dad’s alcoholism throughout time, I can literally put a line between the years 1989 and 1990 to distinguish when things changed from B.D. to A.D.
1978-1989= These were the good years. Ahhh, yes, the “before dad was an alcoholic” years. It is ironic now, considering my relationship with him, that I was definitely a daddy’s little girl. Most of my best childhood memories included him. Cannonballs in the pool, him attempting to ride a tricycle, squeezing into the backseat of his sportscar while he blasted “Addicted to Love”…he was THE COOLEST. All my friends loved him. He was fun and youthful and silly and made my sister and I unique gifts. I was young so my memory is fuzzy, but I don’t remember alcohol in our house at all. My parents were very social, so I recollect many loud, energetic parties (where I am sure cocktails were served) where adults shooed us kids into a back bedroom to play. My parents never argued that I can think of. I ask my mom about it now and she says that he was always a “social drinker” but she never thought he had a problem. Life was good.
1989= My father was promoted in his company and my family had to move across the country. It was an adventure! It was sad to leave friends behind, but it was exciting. My parents designed and were building their dream house. Because the house was taking longer than expected, my father had to move before us to start working. One month turned into two, turned into six, etc. and it was almost a year and a half before we were reunited. His company flew him home every weekend or so and my sister and I eagerly anticipated his return every time.
1990…on= I was in sixth grade when we moved to our new house and it was in seventh grade that I noticed things were different. My parents fought, my dad started being mean and belligerent. It took a while for it all to make sense…in that year or so of being alone and stressed, my father developed a drinking problem. The good years were OVER. Things never went back to “normal”. I yearned to move back, thinking that it would fix everything. Needless to say, my parents are still in their “dream home”, which turned into more of a nightmare as my father’s drinking escalated. By the time I entered high school, my dad was a full-blown alcoholic and had become emotionally, verbally and physically abusive towards my mother and towards me (and later, towards my younger sister).
I often wonder if we had never moved, would this all have happened? I guess I will never know. I do know that there are many alcoholics in my family, so perhaps my dad would have found his way to that vodka bottle regardless. Even though I am 34 and only see glimpses of him here and there, I still really, really miss my “Before” Dad.
Alcoholism is a horrible disease! His alcoholism most likely had nothing to do with the move. It was just the stressful part of life that triggered the beginning. I am so sorry that you had to go through this as a child and I am even more sorry that you are still going through it.
It really is so sad. But you are right that if it wasn’t the move, it probably would have been something else. Thanks for reading my blog! It is actually kind of a cathartic experience to get some of it out in writing 🙂
I had an alcoholic father…but there never a before. It was always, but I can relate to what you wrote. There were many fun time inserted in my time with him. He drank daily and you never knew if you would get the good drunk or the bad drunk. My mother and I went through abuse as you did. I still struggle with it to this very day. Despite it all, he still was my father in many ways I loved him.
I can completely relate to the love part. I really do love my dad and even though he has done terrible things, I know without a doubt that he loves his family and would do anything for us. That is what makes it so complicated…sometimes I just wish I could completely hate him.
I’m sorry you didn’t have a “before”, although I am not sure which sucks more! My sister doesn’t really remember my dad prior to him becoming an alcoholic (she was only in 2nd grade), so I envy at times that she doesn’t dwell on his old self.
Thank you for taking the time to comment 🙂
There was no alcoholic parent in my upbringing so in that regard I can not relate. What I do have is a brother who was diagnosed with schizophrenia back in 2003. I can relate to the dividing line. One day my brother was there, the next he was different. At the the time I thought nothing about the “why” behind him being different. The accepted belief was there being a chemical imbalance in the brain which caused a change. It was nearly a decade before I seriously started to question what had become the normal and looked in to the “why”. Could there have been a specific event in my brothers past which caused him to reject reality? The why does not only include events in my brothers life. What events in the lives of my entire family could have aided in the rise of a different persona within my brother? Just as there’s a history of alcoholics in your family, there is a history of mental illness in mine.
I’m interested in knowing what you’ve learned over the years so here I am, back at the beginning. Hopefully we can both learn something as I read and comment. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
I really don’t know too much about schizophrenia, but I love the fact that you have tried to learn as much as you can about it. I did that with alcoholism too. I read so many books about it and its effect on children. It helped me feel less alone that there were actual books about other people dealing with the things I dealt with. Even though our life experiences are very different, please know you also aren’t alone! I have talked with so many people through blogging and it is great to be able to get support from people, even if they are strangers!