An Open Letter To The Adult Child Of An Alcoholic
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Health and Wellness

An Open Letter To The Adult Child Of An Alcoholic

You didn't cause it, you can't control it and you can't cure it.

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An Open Letter To The Adult Child Of An Alcoholic
Austin Guevara

To the adult child of an alcoholic,

Hey, I understand what you're going through. I've been there more times than I can begin to count. I know the feeling of standing by helplessly watching your parent struggle to stay sober. I can feel your anger, your helplessness, your frustration, your sadness - because I've felt it too. You stand by in fear watching the person who gave you life put their own in life in jeopardy. As awful as the truth is; there's nothing you can do except love them and support them unless the environment is far too toxic, then it's perfectly OK to step away and take care of yourself.

You think to yourself, "Maybe this time, they'll get sober and stay sober." Your mind wanders through a field of "maybes", "what-ifs" and "possibly-s", but deep down in your heart, you know how cruel and unforgiving this disease is. You know that no matter how many times you've begged and pleaded them to stop as a child and as an adult, you can't make their decisions or choices for them.

You see, it's not your fault; it never was your fault. I hope you know that. When you're just a child, you do everything in your power to make them happy, make them laugh - you try to pick up the pieces as you're falling apart yourself. You can't fix them, but you can fix yourself. You are not responsible for their trauma, their demons or their disease. You are not their or their caretaker; you are their child. It is not up to you to carry their burdens.

You see, I'm a rescuer too. From a young age, I felt it was my responsibility to rescue my parent. I thought it was my duty to protect them and my younger siblings. I was parentified at a young age, but I was also coddled and sheltered. My parent felt so much guilt for the environment we lived in that they did everything for me and I mean everything until the disease had a strong grasp on them. I wasn't given chores and I wasn't taught to cook. I was barely taught how to drive. This form of upbringing did me no favors. At the time, it was just my parent's way of making up for the chaos and instability we lived in. Neither of my parents was well. One was so deep into drugs that they lost their battle nearly a decade ago. The other one, I am deeply worried about, but I know there's nothing I can do except be loving and supportive, but also remember to take care of myself. I hope you do the same.

I also hope you remember that it's OK to be angry; it's OK to sit and just cry sometimes, wiping away tears of anger, frustration, and sadness. It's OK to mourn the childhood you never had or mourn the relationship you wish could have with your parent(s). It's OK to mourn your broken family.

If you're struggling and need to talk to someone, seek a therapist or attend a local Al-Anon meeting. If there isn't an Al-Anon meeting near you, you can attend online meetings. You aren't alone and always remember that you didn't cause the disease, you can't control the disease and you can't cure the disease.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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