Living with an alcoholic

Alcoholism does not just affect the individual with the dependency, but also affects those who care about them. Read about Claire's story about her father who has descended into a world of alcoholism.

"I could not pinpoint the actual start alcohol began to take over my father, I can only say that as long as I can remember, the occasions where I would see him with a drink riddled me with anxieties as these occasions would almost always ended up with a row between my parents, usually over his drinking. Over the years alcohol became a big problem, not just for him but for the whole family. His behaviours were eratic, he could get angry and aggressive which could also end up in arguments and shouting, it was like walking around on a minefield when he was drinking, at any minute he could go off. Gradually as the alcohol took its toll on this constant abuse on his body, he became increasingly unreliable and increasingly made poor choices, one of these being drink driving. His health declined and suffered a heart attack, septicaemia and bacterial infections that his body was left struggling to fight off, this took a toll on his body and coupled with the amount of alcohol in his system has left him a frail shell of a man.

Sadly, even this didn’t make him give up drinking alcohol, and even more scope to continue drinking. There have been countless occasions where we have tried to help him but you end up feeling helpless because he has no inclination to give up for himself. Even when my Mother left him with an ultimatum to give up alcohol or her, he chose alcohol. The last time he was in hospital the doctor said that if he carries on drinking he would not have long left to live and I am just left helpless watching it unfold in front of my eyes. My father has given up everything so he can continue to drink.

My biggest worry is that there will be no father to walk me down the aisle when I get married. No grandfather to hold my future children. I might lose my father and I feel powerless to stop him."