What It’s Like To Be Raised By An Alcoholic


You’ve been embarrassed before.

You hate introducing other people to your parent or bringing them to big events. After all, you can never tell if they’re going to show up as their charming, delightful selves or if they’re going to show up ranting and raving. You know they’re going to drink, but how is the alcohol going to hit them on that particular day? It’s a crapshoot. You never know what (or who) you’re going to get.

You have a weird relationship with alcohol.

You know that addiction runs in your family, which is why you should probably swear off of the stuff yourself, but… You’re so used to being around alcohol. Coolers of beer are at every family party. The fridge is always filled with wine. When you grow up with an alcoholic, you lean one of two ways. You either refuse to touch the stuff or you’re super casual about it and don’t think it’s weird to see someone with a bottle before noon. 

Strange things make you shudder.

The sound of a beer tab being opened. The sound of ice clunking into a cup. The smell of that one particular brand of alcohol, the one that’s always stocked in the freezer or hidden in your cabinets. When you hear certain sounds or smell certain scents, your insides tense up. No matter how old you are or how long you’ve been living apart from your parent, that jumpiness won’t go away. It’s ingrained in you.

You’ve been scared before.

You’re scared for them and you’re scared of them. They’re not themselves when they’re drunk. They can be mean. They can be violent. They can turn into someone you honestly don’t want to be in the house with, let alone in the room with. And if they keep it up, if they continue to drink at the same pace that they have been, then you know it’s not going to end well for them. They’ll either get alcohol poisoning one night or they’ll destroy their liver over time. It’s one or the other.

You realize it’s possible to love someone and hate someone at the same time.

You know firsthand how thin the line is between love and hate. There are days when you love your parent, when you can’t believe that you were so upset with them only 24 hours earlier. And then there are days when they revert to their drunken, abusive self, when all you want to do is slam the door in their face and refuse their phone calls. When you want to delete them from your life once and for all.

You’ll never date an alcoholic.

You’re not saving yourself for someone who turns down the occasional beer and glass of champagne. You know how hard it would be to find someone completely sober. But when you start dating someone new, you want to see them drunk as soon as possible, to make sure they don’t turn into a complete monster once they have a few drinks in them. Of course, you don’t want to see them drunk too often, because if they’re on their way to becoming an alcoholic, then you don’t have any room for them in your life. At all.