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Hard Times: Dealing with My Alcoholic Father

Writer, Age 15

Hi. I have a story that I would like to share with you. For all of my life, my father has been an alcoholic. He has never been violent or dangerous in any way. However, his problem has hurt me badly over the years.

I'm 15 years old, and up until a short while ago, I subconsciously believed it was my fault, and I always believed there was something that I could do to help him. For instance, maybe if he heard my voice (through singing), or maybe if I took interest in his interests, he would be moved to fix his problem.

But lately I've realized something: It never has been, never is, and never will be my fault. Also, the only way he'll change is if he wants to, and no matter what I do, he has to make himself go through it.

Once, when I was having depression problems, I went to see a counselor. I told her about my dad, and she just didn't understand. The first thing she did when I told her that he had problems with drinking was to lean in and say, "Does your father beat you?" I was like, "God no, I would have told someone a long time ago!" And then it was like she couldn't even understand what my problem was. So she gave me some numbers for support groups for children whose parents are alcoholics. Now that's all well and good, but it wasn't what I needed at the time. I needed him to stop so I wouldn't feel embarrassed when he couldn't drive me to someone's house at five o'clock because he was already drunk. They can't give me that at a support group.

When I hear other kids talk about the next rave and how drunk they're gonna get, I just keep quiet. I know if I say something I'll explode and they won't understand. I couldn't stand it if one of my friends had an alcohol problem. But I've come to terms with my dad having the problem. I'll live my life, make my own mistakes, and not linger on his. And when someone asks me if I'd like a vodka, the answer will always be "no."

Last Modified Date: 1/10/2001
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