Dear __________: A Letter to the Child of an Alcoholic

AA, alcoholics, alcoholism, drinking, NACOA, Uncategorized

Dear Child of an Alcoholic,

I don’t mean this as an insult, but the life you are living is not a normal one. The problem is (among what I imagine are many problems for you) that there is a good chance you think the life you are living is a normal one. I know I don’t know you well enough to make that call with 100% confidence, so I will say that if you already know your life is not a normal one, you’re about three-hundred steps ahead of the game, and I am proud of you.

I am proud of you no matter what, honestly.

Alcohol has a lot of side effects…for you. I don’t know your particular situation. Perhaps your alcoholic parent is physically, sexually, verbally, or emotionally abusive toward you. Perhaps you’re just living the frustration of cleaning up puke and empty bottles after an alcoholic who believes they are jolly, even downright fun-loving, when they are inebriated. Perhaps you’re both their supply and their demand. Perhaps you’re simply ignored. Perhaps you haven’t been home in days because you just don’t want to deal with it.

No matter what your situation is, I want to take a moment to acknowledge that this is affecting you. Yes, you may not be the alcoholic and you may not be the one passing out with a lit cigarette in your hand and you may not be the one destroying your liver and you may not be the one who has been to jail twice in the last month for drunk and disorderly and you may not be the one who lost their job because the drinking was too important, but you are affected. I want you to know that someone understands that.

This life you’re living, this life that is not a normal one, can still be an amazing life. It might not be amazing tomorrow, and it is probably unfair for me to ask you to wait it out until you do reach that amazing life. But one day, when you’re old enough to stand up and say, “You may be willing to let this struggle with alcohol affect you, but I am no longer going to allow it to affect me,” you can start building that amazing life. You might be able to start building it right now, even, but if that’s not a possibility, hold on until you can. You’re going to kick so much butt. I believe that.

I can’t take away all the nights you slept in your car to get away. I can’t take away the hundreds of times you’ve been hit. I can’t erase the names you’ve been called. I can’t restore your parent’s liver to full functionality. I can’t take away all the times you’ve been sent to buy more booze when you’re not even legal. I can’t take away the stench of wine vomit from your nostrils. I can’t fix your broken bones. I can’t fix your broken heart.

I can tell you that I know it is difficult, but you can survive. You are a child of an alcoholic, yes, but you are also so much more than that. Your life may never be normal, but your life won’t always be abnormal in this way—you have control over that, eventually. I hold onto hope for you even though I don’t know you. I hold onto hope for you because I see you.

Sometimes the only thing we need to know is that someone, somewhere, understands. Or if they don’t understand, they acknowledge our pain and hope for more for us. That is what I am for you. I am your understanding, your acknowledgement, your hope. I am sending all that your way because I care for you. I do not think that alcohol is more important than you.

I DO NOT think that alcohol is more important than you.

And I love you.

Good luck,

A friend

2 thoughts on “Dear __________: A Letter to the Child of an Alcoholic

  1. Hi, I would really like to have this as a guest post on my blog, such an amazing piece. My blog is all about children of alcoholics and I have currently opened it up for people to share their stories on. Would be great to hear from you

    Liked by 1 person

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