[infobox]February 8-15 is Children of Alcoholics week in the United States. This week we are focusing on crowd-sourced stories from young people and adults who have had a parent who drank too much during their childhood. Our posts are meant to serve as a guide to raise awareness about the realities of alcoholism, not just on those who drink, but also on those around them. Not all steps and information mentioned may be applicable to everyone. If you feel like there is someone at risk at home or in school, please reach out to the clinic or to the relevant departments listed below.[/infobox]
Story by Evelyn, a parent.
“When I was growing up I remember being constantly worried. I would stand by the window every night waiting for my dad to come home from the pub.
I thought if I wished hard enough that I could stop him from drinking. When he was out for too long I wondered if he was in trouble, if had he fallen asleep, if someone would steal his money, or if he would he get caught for driving home drunk.
I remember one day in particular: as a very young child my mum had gone out with her friends one evening so my dad took my sister and I out. My dad went to the pub and my sister and I were left in the car in the pub car park, waiting for my dad to come out. As the hours passed I remember begging a man at the bus stop to go into the pub to get my Daddy out.
Over the years I learned that I could only sleep when everyone was in bed and safe at home.
I was frightened. Many evenings he would be very angry and I would beg with him to stop shouting, and I promised to him that I would be a good girl. I thought his drinking was my fault.
My grandparents always remember me sitting under a motorway bridge on the evenings when I was too frightened. It was my safe place. I would sit there and wish that everything would be ok and that we could be a happy family.
The years have passed, I am now 40, and to this day I still cannot return to that house without being frightened. The first thing I do is drink wine, to calm myself in the hopes that my fear doesn’t get the best of me again.