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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Alcoholics as parents

Linda’s Place Recovery Center has been moved to the back burner for now. Due to time constraints, I was unable to market the campaign as it needed to be done. I also need to find an assistant who will eventually take my place as the leader when I can no longer do so. If anyone is interested in a volunteer position as my assistant, please contact me.

On to other things…

I received a comment from Anonymous that needs some clarification. I always hesitate to respond to comments that are anonymous especially when they clearly indicate that they have not read my book or very many of the blog postings.

My kids “went along like nothing happened” is misleading. They simply lived their life and did not let their father interfere with their friendships or many of their activities. They didn’t put their head in the sand and say --- “OH NO! Not MY father!” They were aware and we had many discussions about alcoholism.

Their father was not violent, mean or abusive towards them. The worst abusive thing he was is just to be absent – physically and emotionally. Due to being a submarine sailor, he was gone to sea more than 50% of the time. I lived my life and raised my kids as though I was a single mom even when Riley was present. It’s what worked for me.

My kids faced the same ordeals as any other young person during that time period. Just like any other kid, they had to make choices and sometimes they made the wrong ones. But, again just like other kids, they learned from their mistakes.

Brian was a 40-year old man when he began abusing alcohol. By the time he turned 44 he was dead. Yes, I believe there were circumstances that led to the alcoholism. I believe he had some “internal turmoil” but it was not due to his childhood. I, as well as the entire family, know where and when the turmoil started. I will not share those details here on this blog.

Alcohol is not an issue for my daughter. It’s simple, she doesn’t drink in excess. She doesn’t associate with people who abuse alcohol. She has no space for alcohol or alcoholism in her life. I stand up and applaud my daughter for her chosen direction.

Do I wish she would take over for me if I need her to help out with any of my projects? Absolutely NOT. Of course it would be nice, but I’m glad she has no need, no interest, and no desire to stand on the same soap box as me. It means she is not alcohol involved. You have no idea how happy that makes me.

In my opinion most people live with the idea that ALL alcoholics are terrible parents from the very beginning. I’m not an ALL or NOTHING kind of person. Usually alcoholism is a gradual disease and doesn’t immediately take away the ability to parent properly. Parenting skills will gradually diminish as the alcoholism continues to take its course. It’s up to the non-drinking parent to monitor and scrutinize the ability of the drinking parent. It’s up the non-drinking parent to determine how much parenting the alcoholic can manage without hurting the kids. It’s the responsibility of the non-drinking parent to remove the children from the presence of an abusive parent – alcoholic or not.

We are not all fortunate to have the funds to simply walk away on a moment’s notice. It takes planning and saving and preparing for the day that it will become a necessity. Some people never even start to prepare because they do not believe that day will ever come. Often these bright-eyed, cheery, optimists end up in desperate situations.

Here’s the point – I think.


If you are married to an alcoholic and have children, live like a single parent. Do not expect anything from your alcoholic and you will not be disappointed. Plan and do things on your own with the kids. If the alcoholic chooses to participate, be aware of his mental status before including him or her. Monitor the atmosphere between the alcoholic and the kids. Listen to your gut – it’s usually right.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love this post. Do not expect anything from your alcoholic and you will not be disappointed. So profound. I am working on this daily. Simple. But not easy. Thank you Linda.

Samantha said...

"In my opinion most people live with the idea that ALL alcoholics are terrible parents from the very beginning. I’m not an ALL or NOTHING kind of person. Usually alcoholism is a gradual disease and doesn’t immediately take away the ability to parent properly. Parenting skills will gradually diminish as the alcoholism continues to take its course."

This is spot on. As the (now adult)child of an alcoholic single parent there are very few memories of my childhood that involved my Dad and drinking. He was fully functional and a decent parent while still being an alcoholic up until 2 years ago. I assume we were shielded from anything truly negative as young kids but all I remember are some days when he'd sleep literally all day while my brother and I considered the freedom to play video games all day and watch cartoons a grand adventure.

David Wyman said...

I love the post, reminds me of the day my son came home crying, begging me to put him in a detox. I still don't know what led him to make such a change.

R Johnson said...

The fact that your adult daughter has made the choice to live a life that is not alcohol-involved speaks volumes about the success of your parenting in your situation. Many adult children with a parent that battled alcoholism cannot make the same claim.