General Question

interweb's avatar

Do you have a member of your family who is an alcoholic?

Asked by interweb (319points) November 9th, 2010

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence.

What effect did it have within your family? Violence, mistrust, betrayal etc. Were you influenced to drink as you got older because of it or the complete opposite?

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22 Answers

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

My daddy was an alcoholic but he hasn’t had a single drink in 18 years. It’s affected my life in little but noticeable ways. For example, we are Jewish and several Jewish traditions incorporate alcohol consumption. We always excluded that part of every holiday and gathering and people sometimes said things about not having wine, or people would bring wine and then they would be the only ones to drink it.
While my brother drinks in college, I have had one shot in my entire life and I plan on keeping it that way (though I’m okay with trying a sip of beer or mixed drink when out with friends). I don’t drink mostly in solidarity with my father, but I also just don’t like the taste of alcohol which makes it easier.
My father has been an amazing role model for me. He had a major major problem and changed his entire lifestyle in order to give me and my brother normal lives. He’s given us everything and I’m so grateful for him and his strength in overcoming his addiction. He still goes to AA meetings once or twice a week, and conferences for Jewish Alcoholics, but mostly he’s done an amazing job of keeping it as far away from affecting us as possible.

augustlan's avatar

My grandmother was a very high-functioning alcoholic. That is, she drank every day, but rarely got drunk. She had an important job and a large family, and never let her drinking interfere with either. Still, one day in her early 50s she decided she didn’t like needing the alcohol anymore, and she quit cold-turkey. She also learned how to swim after she turned 50! I was really proud of her for both things.

One of my uncles is an alcoholic in the classic sense… he gets sloppy drunk routinely. He’s generally a happy drunk, though, so no violence that I’m aware of. I believe his drinking (and pot smoking) began as a form of self-medicating for chronic pain.

My husband is rather like my grandmother, though he does get drunk more often than she did. I knew when I started dating him what I was getting into, and we rarely have any problems with the drinking. Definitely no violence (I’d be out of here like a shot).

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Well, I guess so: me, but I haven’t had a drink in 11 years.

megan5555's avatar

My uncle is an alcoholic and it has ruined his friendship with my dad (they are brothers). My dad said that they use to be really close(as brothers are) and that they spent every minute of the day with each other but now that his an alcholic they both hate each others guts and my uncle still has not given up the alchol even if it has ruined that friendship. I can not do anything about this situation so I just leave them to fix it themselfs, yet 10 years later nothing has happened.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Yes, and honestly, not much. When my dad left my mom, she had some problems handling her drinks for a couple months, so she started going to AA meetings. At the time, I had already moved out, and haven’t ever seen her drunk. I don’t really know how it’s effected her personality; she has always had borderline personality disorder, so it’s pretty hard to figure out exactly what I should term “dry drunk” behavior and what I should term “personality disorder” behavior. It’s more like alcoholism is a symptom of her BPD than anything else, and she can act unstable and whatnot without booze entering the picture.

cookieman's avatar

My Uncle
Between alcoholism and heroin, he was either at a bar somewhere or in rehab. Caused major stress for my grandmother and father. He eventually died from it all.

My Three Cousins
All siblings. One wrecked his car and was in a coma for a year. One beat her fiancé so bad he landed in the hospital. The third ruined his marriage over it and was found by local police passed out in the woods.

These are very brief accounts, of course. The amount of pain, drama and strife alcoholism caused them and our family is huge.

But, with the exception of my uncle, they’re all still alive and in various stages of recovery – living much healthier lives now.

BratLady's avatar

My dad was until he meet and married my step mom when I was 16. I went through many years of getting punched in the face. That was many years ago when people turned their heads and teachers believed I had fallen or ran into something. My mom turned him around and made a decent man out of him. We had several good years together as a family before he passed away.

marinelife's avatar

My brother is an alcoholic. (My maternal uncle was one too.)

It has had a horrible effect on our family.

Right now he is sober, but it is still early days yet so I have no faith that this time will be it.

Still, I love him (the source of the pain),

Mikewlf337's avatar

My Grandfather was. He drank so much that he the doctor said that if he had another drink that it could kill him. After my Grandmother died he returned to drinking but it didn’t kill him. He beat my mother and my aunts and uncles when they were children.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

My dad was an alcoholic. He’s dead now. I hated his alcoholism, among many other things.

trailsillustrated's avatar

my sister. is has really affected her life (mid-fifties, not a pot to piss in nor a window to toss it out of), and alienated her from much of her family.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes, a well loved relative. He held the same job for decades and well respected and liked by most people except for the times he’d go on out of town “binges” that included brawling, sometimes getting into car crunches and a few times thrown in jail until sober. He was single so we didn’t suffer directly but when he was an old man then he decided to stop drinking and we were all there to go through withdrawals with him, not fun.

iLove's avatar

Both my parents were alcoholics. I repressed many of the tough memories until recently. I look at pictures and there is a beer can in 40% of them.

It caused many fights in my family. I remember other relatives having to help my father into the house, and my mother fighting with him because of his drinking. On one occasion at age 3, I was hit by a bowl of salad intended for my dad during one of their fights.

I remember them giving me alcohol at this age, “sips” of beer… I am sure that was NOT the best idea for a toddler!

I have recently curbed my alcoholic intake because of my own therapy and healing. I saw myself repeating some of those same incidents. I was lucky to not have to attend a 12 step program for help.

What I learned from this is not to drink at all when my child is around. God knows I wouldn’t want to repeat THOSE mistakes.

Mat74UK's avatar

My Dad. I can guarentee where he will be any time of the day!
He’s only 55 but now looks like a 70 year old Father Christmas.

Berserker's avatar

My mom is an alcoholic, but I don’t see her anymore. I suspect she already had plenty of problems even without the booze though, but the latter did not help. She was very prone to mind games, guilt trips and violence. When my parents lived together, she made my dad cry on plenty of occasions. Eventually they broke up, and I lived with my mom. But I was taken away some years after to go live with my dad; who was also an alcoholic. He wasn’t violent or anything, but he did fail to provide for me, so I had to go live in group homes, which are like temporary foster homes.
He managed to stop drinking though. But then he croaked some years after haha.
My uncle is also an alcoholic, but I don’t really know anything about him.
As for me, I’m an alcoholic too haha, but I’ll be damned if I can really pinpoint why. That’s what it can do, make you not care, whether you know it or not.

ftp901's avatar

My father. Mistrust & betrayal..but luckily, no physical violence. I have a hard time trusting people and stay more distant than the average person. I’m very private about my life. I learned very early on (by age 10 or 12) that you can’t believe everything that people say and to not get my hopes up or rely on other people too much. After being hurt and disappointed time after time (not being there when he said he would be), I had to start putting up a wall in order to deal with it. I basically turned off my love for him so that I wouldn’t continue to get hurt. Luckily, the rest of my family is very trustworthy, responsible and loving so I’ve never felt like I was missing anything.

As much as it has been horrible, it has also had a huge impact on who I am today which I’m grateful for. I think it made me street smart, mature and independent much faster than other kids my age. Seeing my mom leaving him taught me that it’s important to stand up for yourself and be assertive about what you need and want.

I had very little desire to drink as I grew older (not to excess anyway)...seeing the effects of it as a kid means that it has a different appeal than it does to most people. I remember the smell and the tinkling of ice in the glass and it scared me as a kid.

mrrich724's avatar

My father is. Right now he’s in the psych unit of a hospital, strapped to a bed and wearing a diaper.

He’s only 47 . . . but suffering from “wet brain” which is caused by his alcoholism. The internetz doesn’t have enough space for me to type out all the horrible things he has done to so many people (mainly his “Loved” ones) throughout his life.

SamIAm's avatar

wow, these responses should be recorded into a book. The experiences I’ve been through, I can’t elaborate on right now because it’s just too exhausting. I find myself telling people about them quite often, like they’re “normal” occurrences that happen in people’s lives. They’re not. They’re painful when I actually think about it, and they have begun to come back to stir me up again recently. I can’t imagine life in any other capacity though, and that’s okay. I’m lucky and grateful. For now at least…

Fairylover78's avatar

I grew up with both of my parents being alcoholics. My sister and I handeled it in opposite ways. She hates anything to do with alcohol or anything else and I strongly believe in Moderation, I never over do anything, if I do drink I dont drink so much I’m falling over or barfing drunk. The Alcoholism was really bad when we were younger, loud, cop calling, guns shooting into roofs drunken fights between my parents were the norm for us. They slowed down and stopped going to the bars so much by the time we were in our teens, but still drank heavily everyday. My mom died when I was 19 at the age of 42 from Hardening of the Arteries ( not alcohol related or not completely anyway) my dad continued to drink and even got a little worse after she passed. Last year on my 31st Bday, dad went missing. Hadnt called to wish me a happy birthday and my sister couldnt find him…. Turns out my sister found him in the hosp. in CCU on a ventilator ( the smoking 2 to 3 packs a day and drinking made this possible) Turned out his Kidney’s were failing as well, it was a close call. He recovered and was in the Hosp. for about 2 weeks, I sat him down oneday and cried and told him that he was all My sister, her Kids and I had left, he had to take care of himself, he scared the crap out of us! He blushed and admitted that he scared the crap out of himself too…. It’s been a little over a year and He has not touched a ciggerette or any alcohol since. He’s gained about 45 pounds ( he was down to around 112 when in the hosp.) he retired and feels better than he ever has. Sometimes it takes a crisis to bring people to ther senses…but we have to remember that sometimes it’s a crisis that put them there to bigin with. I couldn’t be more proud of my dad, I just wish it hadnt taken so long for it to happen.

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Neizvestnaya's avatar

Blood relative? Not anymore, they’re dead. I do have a partner who is an alcoholic, whether he drinks or not.

Berserker's avatar

Others saying a family member is alcoholic is pointless, as alcoholism does not exist outside the individual who has admitted it.

I disagree. Alcoholism is a real thing that may be recognized and defined and is not solely attached to an individual and their realization of the problem. While it’s true that alcohol is complex when it comes to who drinks, how much, how often, who perceives what and what have you, there does exist signs and symptoms related to alcoholism which may be picked up by people, when and if it manifests itself. I’ve been told that psychologists and doctors can discern alcoholism in a person, as well.

I like your post, but I don’t really like the idea that it’s pointless to point out someone’s problem if one thinks that a certain person may have one. Many alcoholics need help, but won’t help themselves unless they get a kick in the ass. Just waiting around for them to accept it and get help could take forever. I’ve witnessed alcoholism in both my parents for example, and it’s definitely something one can notice.

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