Some people may say that I had an unfair childhood. That I had to grow up too fast and not have a chance to live the life of a typical kid. Those people were right, but they also don't know how this affected my life becoming an adult. Having an alcoholic parent isn't an easy way to grow up, but it's how you handle it that makes the difference. You can make your life into something good and positive. It's all about perspective. Remember that not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic, either. 

A Different Childhood

ice, beer, tea
Judy Holtz

Growing up with an alcoholic parent is certainly not ideal for any child. There are so many stories of people who have grown up to be just like their parents, and how their parents were their biggest influences. For me, that wasn't the case. I never wanted to end up like my mother. Dealing with her alcoholism was not easy growing up and made my childhood...unique. Glasses and glasses of alcohol cloud my early memories. Looking back now, I definitely grew from that experience. I wanted to reach for the stars and nothing was going to stop me.

A Sense of Normalcy?

cocktail, juice, red wine, ice, liquor, alcohol, wine
Alex Frank

By the time I was 2 years old, my mom was suffering from depression and anxiety.  A few years later, she became a raging alcoholic. She was able to drink to the point that she would never even get drunk. I spent those years caring for my middle sister and my youngest sister, too. By the time I was 10 years old, I was parenting both my sisters while my dad worked. To think of it, I have few memories of playing outside or just having fun. I mainly remember changing diapers and feeding a newborn while chasing after an 8-year-old. It wasn't exactly about Barbies and Polly Pockets; I had adult responsibilities at an extremely young age. The only time I had a break was when I went to school or during the one summer when my mom finally went to rehab. To me, this was what normal was.

Finally Getting Help

wine, beer
Ada Zelkowska

My mom entered a rehab facility for a 3-4 month program but was released 2 weeks in. My mom could not handle being away from her daughters. That was when she realized that alcohol wasn't worth not seeing her children. During those few weeks, I remember the calls she would make to us and how she would cry because she missed us. Alcoholism is not just an addiction, but a disease. It is not curable and people need to learn how to control it – not shame it. There was nothing on TV that would have prepared me on how to be a mother figure to my sisters or how to deal with a depressed, anxious, alcoholic parent. I had to learn as I went, and it was difficult.

New Beginnings

tea, water, cake, coffee, pizza, beer
Madeleine Cohen

Every day, I woke up and just knew that my mom would be drinking a beer instead of morning coffee. She would drink beer for lunch and wine for dinner. To me, this was an everyday thing for almost 8 years of my life. Now that I'm in college and have traveled abroad, alcohol has been a big friend of mine. When I came back from my journey away, I decided to get an assessment done.

As it turns out, I do have a trait for alcoholism. As much as it scared me when I was younger, it doesn't now. I just have to be responsible about it as an adult. It's made me more aware of myself and my body knowing I have an excessively high alcohol tolerance. I've grown as a person, as painful as all of those years were. (Plus, it's helped me with spending and budgeting. You can spend your money on other things besides alcohol; sometimes it just takes longer for people to understand that). But there's always hope, so if you're in this situation with an alcoholic parent, know that you're not alone.