My dad is an alcoholic, how do I stop feeling like it’s my fault?
He has blamed me for it before when we tried an intervention because I was a difficult teenager. Indeed his drinking started when I was a teen and my mother blames me also. She justifies her covering up for him as ” He drinks because of these behaviors I put him through as a teenager“. She tells me she’s not holding a grudge against me but she simply needs to explain his drinking. I feel guilty like I killed him as he is slowly killing himself with alcohol and driving us away from him. My brother won’t even come around with his children anymore as he says he hast to protect his children from our father’s volatile temper. I feel this is all because of me. I’m going to Al-Anon and also wondering on here how do I stop blaming myself?
- BobLv 57 months agoFavorite Answer
As a parent of kids who used to be teenagers, I can confirm that there were times that their behaviour caused stress and infuriation but at no point ever did I blame them for my own failings.
Make no mistake, if your father is a violent alcoholic, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. That is only his excuse because he is weak and does not wish to recognise his own weakness.
Your parents are adults and responsible for their own actions and reactions. Blaming the child for the failings of the parent is a sign of a weak, narcissistic parent.
How to stop blaming yourself is a whole other kettle of fish. I wish that there was a magic wand I could wave to allow that to happen but all I can offer is the clear and unequivocal reminder that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT and advise you to seek therapy if you can.
- 7 months ago
First of all, it helps to gain some insight into your parent’s problem. “A man of understanding is the one who acquires skillful direction,” says Proverbs 1:5. So it would be good for you to learn something about what addiction is, who gets addicted to alcohol or drugs, and why.
For instance, an alcoholic isn’t simply someone who overdrinks on occasion. On the contrary, he has a chronic drinking disorder.* He’s preoccupied—even obsessed—with alcohol and cannot control his consumption of it once he starts drinking. His addiction causes painful problems affecting his family, work, and health.
While certain people may be physically prone to alcohol addiction, emotional factors also appear to be involved. In fact, many alcoholics often harbor negative feelings about themselves. (Proverbs 14:13) Some of them, in fact, grew up in families where their own parents were alcoholics. For such people, drinking may numb the pain of childhood emotional scars. The same factors might be involved when a person is addicted to drugs.
Of course, drinking or taking drugs only compounds a person’s problems; his thinking and emotions now become even more warped. That’s why your parent may need considerable help from a trained professional to break free from his addiction.
Modifying Your Expectations
Granted, understanding why your parent behaves so badly doesn’t make the problem disappear. Still, having some insight into his addiction might allow you to view your parent with a measure of compassion.
For example, would you expect a parent with a broken leg to play a game of soccer with you? What if you knew that the injury was the result of your parent’s own foolish actions? No doubt, you’d be disappointed. Nevertheless, you would realize that until the injury heals, your parent’s ability to play ball with you would be severely limited. Grasping that fact would help you to adjust your expectations.
Similarly, an alcoholic parent or one who is addicted to drugs is emotionally and mentally crippled. True, the “injury” is self-inflicted. And you may rightly resent your parent’s foolish conduct. However, until your parent seeks help to heal his addiction, he’ll be severely limited in his ability to care for you. Viewing his addiction as an incapacitating injury may help you to modify your expectations.
What You Can Do
The fact remains that until your parent straightens out his life, you must live with the consequences of his behavior. In the meantime, what can you do about it?
Don’t take responsibility for your parent’s addiction. Your parent—and your parent alone—is responsible for his addiction. “Each one will carry his own load,” says Galatians 6:5. It’s not your job, then, to cure your parent, nor are you obliged to shield him from the consequences of his addiction. For example, you don’t have to lie for him to his boss or drag him off the front porch when he’s fallen into a drunken stupor there.
Encourage your parent to get help. Your parent’s biggest problem may be admitting that he has a problem. When he’s sober and calm, perhaps the nonaddicted parent along with the older siblings can tell him how his behavior is affecting the family and what he needs to do about it.
In addition, your addicted parent might do well to write down the answers to the following questions: What will happen to me and my family if I keep drinking or taking drugs? What will happen if I give up my habit? What must I do to get help?
If trouble is brewing, leave the scene. “Before the quarrel has burst forth, take your leave,” says Proverbs 17:14. Don’t put yourself at risk by getting in the middle of a quarrel. If possible, retire to your room or go to a friend’s house. When the threat of violence exists, outside help may be needed.
Acknowledge your feelings. Some youths feel guilty because they resent an addicted parent. It’s only normal to feel a degree of resentment, especially if your parent’s addiction prevents him from giving you the love and support you need. True, the Bible obligates you to honor your parent. (Ephesians 6:2, 3) But “honor” means to respect his authority, in much the same way as you are to respect that of a police officer or a judge. It doesn’t mean that you approve of your parent’s addiction. (Romans 12:9) Nor are you a bad person because you’re repulsed by his drinking or drug abuse; after all, substance abuse is repulsive!—Proverbs 23:29-35.
Find upbuilding association. When life at home is chaotic, you can lose sight of what’s normal. It’s important, therefore, that you enjoy the association of people who are spiritually and emotionally healthy. Members of the Christian congregation can provide much nurturing and support as well as an occasional break from family stress. (Proverbs 17:17) Association with Christian families can give you a healthy model of family life to counteract the distorted model you observe at home.
Seek help for yourself. Having a mature, trusted adult with whom you can share your feelings really helps. Congregation elders are willing to help you when you need them. The Bible says that these men can be “like a hiding place from the wind and a place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless country, like the shadow of a heavy crag in an exhausted land.” (Isaiah 32:2) So don’t be afraid or ashamed to go to them for comfort and advice.
Write here which of the above six steps you will try to apply first. ․․․․․
You may not be able to change the situation at home, but you can change the way you’re affected by it. Rather than trying to control your parent, focus on the one person you can control—you. “Keep working out your own salvation,” wrote the apostle Paul. (Philippians 2:12) Doing so will help you maintain a positive outlook, and it might even prod your parent to seek help for his addiction.Source(s): https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1102008123#h=1... jw.org
- Sean RobertsLv 77 months ago
I’m so sorry you have to live in this horrendous situation. My heart goes out to you.
Alcoholism is a disease with psychological, physiological, social, and family aspects.
The first symptom of alcoholism is always denial: “I only drink beer”, “I only drink on weekends”, “I can still handle my job”, “I never drink during the day. I only drink at night.”, “My drinking is none of your business.” The excuses go on and on. Alcoholics restructure reality so that they believe they don’t have a problem. They believe everyone else around them has the problem. Your father is projecting his problems onto you.
- PearlLv 77 months ago
its not your fault, its not like you gave him the alcohol
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- Serene ELv 77 months ago
So do you just react without actually thinking these feeling through? Thats very childish of you.
People can blame you for things that are not within your control. You didn't put the bottle to his lips, making him drink too much. Other teenagers give their parents tough times, they don't go drinking until they fall down, until they are addicted, like your dad. you were just so terrible he can never recover from it? That's silly.
Them blaming you is them deflecting blame for truly who is to blame - your dad. If he would go to AA meetings, if he would go to rehab, he could be a normal person, in a normal family. But he won't do that. He'll blame you, pushing people away from him. Now your brother won't bring his family around. That's your fault too, now?
you need to see a therapist or counselor. Al-anon isn't enough.
- PatriciaLv 77 months ago
Your father's drinking was his own doing. HE made the CHOICE to drink. You didn't tie him down and pour alcohol down his throat.
And just because you were a bit out of control as a teen, it doesn't mean a parent needs to try to drink the issues away. There are mature, adult ways to handle our issues without drinking like a fish. If you look around, you will see that most people don't drink to hide from their life issues. They face issues head on. Your father obviously has had his own set of emotional problems, too, and i'm also sure he was drinking long before you were a "difficult teen". It's his choice - drink and hide, or stand up and handle things like a man.
He chose drinking.
And your parents are abusing you emotionally by blaming you for your father's actions and his personal choices. Because his drinking is HIS personal choice.
If you take a good, hard look, his drinking didn't solve your behavior problems, and it also did not touch on getting you help or dealing with you as a teen. He's the parent, but he doesn't act like one. Both him and your mom are emotional children.
- 7 months ago
I'm from post-Soviet country and alcoholism has been a part of my childhood as long as I remember. The way most families have dealt with it is considered abuse today, so do not take my advice and please seek professional help.
10 years ago my husband and I were staying at my parents flat.
The way the apartment complex is built kinda let's you hear what's going on next door, or window lol
My husband was shocked hearing a woman screaming from the top of her lungs at her alcoholic husband.
He asked me "how do they live like that?"
I said "it's been good 30 years or so... raised two boys together... bless that woman's heart"
He couldn't believe how was it possible for alcoholic man to live with hysterical woman, and how they still alive.
So I explained that every time the husband crawls back into the door on his four, his wife do not pity him. Instead she goes off like a siren and tells him everything she thinks about him, and she calls him every name in her vocabulary. She tells him stuff like "okay you don't care about yourself or me, but CHILDREN... CHILDREN !!!! YOU HAVE TWO CHILDREN YOU IDIOT!!! YOU MUST CARE ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN!!!!! "
Then you could hear stuff falling down... plates... chairs. The most brave neighbor would go check on them... just in case.
After long screaming session he actually straightens up. Probably doesn't remember a good portion of what she was yelling anyway. Only the part about the children because that's a strong one and she makes sure he remembers what's the point of his life is.
Then he is sober for about 2 weeks. Then breaks down and cycle repeats again.
As I said in the beginning, I don't believe that it is the best way to deal with alcoholism. And therapy wasn't really a thing untill later. I know many have tried coding, hypnosis, cold turkey....
At the end of the day, there was something that that woman was doing right because if you step into their place, you would never know that alcoholic lives there. By her shaming him has kept her husband from falling deeper into the drinking rabbit hole. No, it didn't cure him. But he is not dead and homeless either.
- Emily JLv 77 months ago
Alcoholics make up excuses as to why they drink, if he was not blaming you he would blame something else, like your mother or his job or whatever. That is what they do, you have to try and tell your self that no matter what he says, or your mother for that matter that even though you were a troubled teenager he CHOOSE to drink, you are not a teenager anymore so why is he still drinking, because he WANTS to. Al-anon will help with that as well as maybe some counseling or therapy.