Advice for controlling my emotions

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lucy707

I’m not entirely sure about what to say here but recently I’ve been struggling quite bad with my Dad’s alcoholism so I thought writing on here might make me feel better, as well as anyone else who is in a similar position to me.

Just for a bit of context I’m 20 years old and for at least the past 5 years my dad has been alcoholic, but in reality it may have been for much longer but I only started noticing it when I was around 15. I’m pretty lucky in the fact that a lot of the time he is sober but when he gets drunk (ranges from a couple of times a week to around once a month) he gets really angry and verbally abusive at my mum in particular, but also me and my brother.

Throughout the past month his drinking has really started affecting me and apparently a couple of weeks ago, whilst I was away at uni, my dad was the worst he had ever been. My mum told me about this whilst we were out in public but after holding my pain in for so long I just couldn’t hold it in anymore and I ended up in tears in public.

He came home drunk last night and although there was no major argument it still really hurt me as everytime he drinks a bit of my heart brakes. As a result of this I tend to remain distant from my dad because if I forgive him or let him into my life I’ll just end up even more heartbroken the next time he drinks. This morning, in an attempt to get him to stop drinking, I told him that I’m thinking about going to a support group for people affected by someone else’s drinking but in response he burst out laughing whilst telling me that everyone is just going to laugh at me.

His drinking makes me so angry and upset every single day, even when I’m at uni and haven’t seen him in weeks. Everytime alcohol is mentioned, whether that be on an advert or social media, I just get this wave of sadness which is incredibly tiring as this often occurs several times every day. It’s also incredibly hard to not burst into tears every time someone asks me why I don’t drink.

Anyways, that’s all I really wanted to say. If anyone has any tips of how I can stop being so affected by my dad’s drinking then please feel free to drop a message down below as It would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

  • listener

    Hi, I’m so sorry to hear about you’re going through and have been through with your dad. Situations like these can be incredibly painful. I want to start this message with the most important part, this is not your fault. It’s okay that you’re upset, that adverts and social media make you cry and that at times you feel angry. These are all understandable reactions to a difficult relationship, I do hope you can offer yourself self compassion for feeling these feelings.

    Nacoa often refers to ‘The Six C’s’ that I think may be helpful to keep in mind:
    o I didn’t cause it
    o I can’t control it
    o I can’t cure it
    o I can take care of myself
    o I can communicate my feelings
    o I can make healthy choices

    You asked about advice on not being as affected by your dad’s drinking, this is a big challenge to face. Whilst it is possible to distance yourself from your father emotionally it can be hard. Sometimes just acknowledging that we are affected can be beneficial too. It makes sense to be affected by your dad’s drinking – he’s your dad and this hurts.

    Some things that can help include talking, which you’re already doing! I do hope the message boards prove helpful for you as well. Talking to trusted friends and family can lighten the weight a little. You mentioned too that you told your dad you were going to a support group, whilst I’m sorry to hear about his reaction it could still be a good step for you. AlAnon offers support groups to anyone that is or has been affected by someone else’s drinking. It may be that you would find some counselling helpful as well, it can be good to talk things through with a professional.

    Remember if you ever want to reach out to Nacoa they have an email helpline too (helpline@nacoa.org.uk). Or if you would prefer to call, you can ring Nacoa between 12-7pm Monday to Saturday on 0800 358 3456.

    Remember too, you're not alone. I hope this message has helped.
    Take good care,
    Listener

  • williamste

    Hi lucy707,

    I'm so sorry to read your post; my heart goes out to you as you have to deal with such a difficult situation.

    It may not feel like it, but by simply starting to understand the impact that your Dad's alcoholism has had on you is one of the most important - and most difficult - steps to your own personal recovery. The fact you're talking about it here and hopefully elsewhere is similarly important. As listener says, being able to talk about this stuff is key.

    Listener's advice is spot on, but just to emphasise a few of their particularly pertinent points:

    1) One thing that I always find comforting (in a slightly strange way), is that I'm not alone as a COA. It is striking how similar your experiences are to mine. There's lots of us in this together, and I hope that brings some comfort.

    2) I've struggled with anxiety as a result of my COA experiences. Don't be afraid to reach out to your GP, a counselling service or even the mental health team at your university. Your emotions are entirely natural considering the circumstances, and you deserve the best support.

    3) Do consider using some of the COA services out there, whether that be the Nacoa helpline or Al-Anon.

    4) The second and third 'Cs' mentioned by listener I have found the most difficult to accept, but they have been so important for my own journey. Being able to understand that you can't cure or control your parent's addiction is utterly heart breaking, but it's also liberating as it lifts a great weight from your shoulders. There's no easy way to come to terms with this, but I would recommend trying to find ways of starting to compute it mentally and emotionally.

    I wish you all the best of luck going forward, and don't forget that Nacoa is always here for you.

    All the best.

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