Still Haunted




Hi I grew up with an alcoholic father from my earliest memory until I moved out aged 21. I am now 44 years old and find that time of my life still haunts me if that makes sense. I had 2 older sisters who were 10 years older than me and both moved out at 19. I was left at home with my lovely mum and neurotic drunk dad. Don’t get me wrong I always had new clothes and christmas presents, Dad was a company director so earned well. Shortly before I left Primary school for Secondary my dad lost his job due to his alcoholism. I found out years later the company had offered to help him dry out and beat the addiction but he had refused their help.

So for the summer before Secondary school and into my new school life Dad was at home all day drinking. Mum had to be the one to go out to work as Dad was incapable of sitting an interview or getting another Job.

This went on all through my Secondary teen years, Threats of being kicked out as he said I didn’t ‘respect’ him as I always went to Mum if I had other issues. I was 12 and in Year 7 when I first got told to get out by the way. The morning after he wouldn’t remember.

As I approached my GCSE’s I was in a terrible place mentally. I Passed English and that was all with a C. I knew I was capable of far more. I took up a Joinery apprenticeship which lasted 2 weeks as I could not cope with the Workplace apprenticeship banter/initiations. I was very fragile. I took up a computing apprenticeship but lasted around 5 weeks as I could not get interested. My dad took this totally the angry way and labelled me all sorts of names. I eventually just went to college with no real direction and did A level maths and got a part time job. I enjoyed my job so much I ended up quitting college and going full time as I felt at home and wanted there. It was only a warehouse Job but something I still do to this day. I moved out of Home at 21 and never returned until I was between Selling and Buying a house. By then my dad had passed and I lived with my mum for a few months. It was the happiest home life I have known. I have never married or had children and have lived alone for the best part of 23 years now. My dad died aged 66 of Liver Failure. I used to have nights out and clubbing but now live as a proud teetotaler. Just wish we had a platform like this back in the 1990s

  • psychmentor

    Hi Paul,
    I really relate to your story. I’m 35 and my mum was/is an alcoholic and totally agree- wish we had something like this when I was growing up so I knew there were other children out there going through the same as me. I always felt alone at school even though I had lots of friends, because I was just embarrassed of my home situation. Your mum sounds like a hero, more so for staying and putting up with your dad, and working to support you. I’m glad you found a job that you feel comfortable in and amazing that you’re still doing it! I think us adult children who had alcoholic parents growing up need some sort of stability and seek it out subconsciously, in your case a stable job with that familiarity. I think anyone who goes through a childhood involving addiction will always carry a burden with them, or feel ‘haunted’ as you put it. It has made me, as a parent, very aware of how I bring up my children and it sounds as though being teetotal for you is working well. Wishing you a very content life ahead!

    • paulw1979

      Thankyou for the message. Hope your mum finds a way out. My mum really was a hero. She passed away 2 years ago. I have never had children or a lengthy relationship. I don't have it in me I prefer my own peace and quiet and no hassle.

  • listener

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for taking the time to share your experience here.

    I'm 41 and find a lot of identification with your story, as I'm sure others will too.

    Like your dad, mine was very successful (but very unhappy) in his job and we had a comfortable life. He took early retirement at 50, but I suspect his drinking had caused issues with his work and they'd taken action in response.

    In the years that followed, he had no plans and his alcoholism progressed. My parents had an unhappy marriage and, when they divorced in their late 60s in 2015, my dad's drinking got even worse. He was (and still is) living in squalor, lost his driving licence and has been in and out of hospital several times. It's horrible to see what's become of him and feels like watching a slow suicide.

    I only became aware of Nacoa in the last couple of years and, like you, would have benefitted from such a platform in my childhood. Nacoa's six Cs below, for example, would have been so useful to know back then, but still resonate now:

    - I didn’t cause it
    - I can’t control it
    - I can’t cure it
    - I can take care of myself
    - I can communicate my feelings
    - I can make healthy choices

    Please remember the helpline is here for you if you would like to talk to one of our helpline counsellors.

    The number is 0800 358 3456. The helpline is open Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 7pm. You can also email as well as posting here on the message board.

    Lastly, if you'd ever like to share your personal experience on our blog ( please let us know.

    Take care.


  • pearl


    Thank you for sharing here, so sorry you went through this.
    Really great you have reached out here, there is always the opportunity to use the helpline for a chat which can be so helpful.
    I have found talking through it and someone listening can really help with processing and to know that you are not alone.

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