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Was it just me………..or were others not able to get up for school the morning after babysitting their little brother?
Was it just me………..or did others worry about social services coming and doing their checks so I couldn’t concentrate at school?
Was it just me………..or could others not go to college because their mam would be so drunk she couldn’t pick my brother up from school, so I had to?
I now know that it wasn’t just me and as you can guess, I didn’t go to college or get amazing grades at school.
I was hoping the focus of this article would be on the grown up life of being a child of an alcoholic and how sometimes life doesn’t work out for us like it would our “normal” friends. We may not have the parental support to encourage us to do well at school, our parents may not be saving up for driving lessons for our 17th birthday and our mums not take us shopping or to the cinema. It can be hard as we get older to deal with these feelings, as every adult child of an alcoholic knows, those feelings of hurt, abandonment and fear don’t just disappear when we get to 18. They stay with us and we can’t change what has happened, but we can change the way we deal with it!
I left home at the age of 18 and got married, to an alcoholic would you believe! We had a beautiful little girl, a council house, no money and no jobs. About 6 months later, I got a part time job as a housekeeper in a hotel, as my husband was unable to hold a job down, because he was always drunk. It was as I was working here that I had my “light bulb moment”……………..”I’m going to go to college and I want to go to university” I said to my friend.
Now 8 years on, I went to college and university, did my degree and then a PGCE teaching A Level psychology and I am just about to start my doctorate training to become an educational psychologist, oh and I divorced my husband!
I’m not saying it was easy, it was very difficult, but as a child of an alcoholic we have these innate strategies that we use to deal with life and get us through really tough situations. We are resilient, we are strong and we are able to bounce back because do you know what, that’s what we’ve always done! I want young people and young adults to know that even if you were unable to concentrate at school or unable to do your homework because there was too much shouting at night or had to constantly look after their brothers/sisters, it’s not the end of the story….go to your local college and see what they have to offer you.
I can’t tell you how different my life is from 8 years ago. I will always be affected by parental alcohol abuse but I now put that frustration and feelings of utter hurt to good use instead of letting it eat me up inside.
You can create a life that you want, a life that you deserve!