My Dad was an alcoholic – probably the sole reason my parents split up (he didn’t talk about his problem) in 1993.
I can remember probably the first time I was directly affected – I found him when I was about 7/8 passed out on the family landing; passed out and fitting when it was only me and him in the house.
In 1994 (I was in year 8 at school at this point) he was drink-driving and crashed his car, severely injuring himself. He was never able to work again and never fully recovered.
He died in 2002 through jaundice; his alcoholism stopped him from ever being able to recover. To give you some insight, he was 15 stone and 5’11 before his accident and when he died he was 5’6 and 7 stone.
His mental health suffered due to his alcoholism and I can imagine depression brought on by this. He was heavily reliant on me and used to call me all the time to drive him places, take him to the shops etc.
As you can imagine it made me grow up very swiftly, however luckily I have a brilliant Mum who helped me through. Unfortunately, my Dad wasn’t the only alcoholic in the family; my cousin died at 44, still living with his parents with no job, in his own bed in 2007.
Due to these circumstances I am always the first to talk about things and, as I am an Education Manager, I share my experiences with as many as I can including students, with the Mantra that if it helps just one person, that is a massive win. I think many problems, especially with regards to mental health, can be helped just through talking.