I am an Adult Child of an Alcoholic Parent
By Dean Honeycutt
As my dad was passing from this life, he made the statement if I could just go back and change my life, I would do things differently. My father was an alcoholic and he had realized at the end of his life that he had many regrets. Regrets about the way he treated my mom and my siblings. Regrets about ruining holidays. Regrets about things he had said and actions he had taken. Dad had a lot of guilt stored up in his mind from the suffering that the abuse of alcohol had brought to his family.
Though I have forgiven my dad and have worked through a lot of emotional pain, the emotional scars of growing up with an alcoholic parent are difficult. Many adult children of alcoholics (ACOAs) suffer dysfunctions in their adult lives due to the stress of growing up with one or two addicted parents. The severity of these scars would depend on the severity of the alcohol abuse in the family and the adult child’s ability to deal with these problems or get help dealing with these problems.
Some of the common traits of ACOA’s are low self-esteem, fear of anger, guilt, depression, anxiety, and becoming an alcoholic themselves. I have found that many people who grew up with an alcoholic parent do not want to become their parent. They do not want to experience the same heartache they grew up in. They want to be different. They do not want dysfunctions in their family. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has found “that some children suffer negative consequences due to parental alcoholism, a larger proportion of COAs function well and do not develop serious problems.” (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; No. 9 ph. 288; July 1990; Children of Alcoholics: Are they Different?)
For me, my relationship with Jesus Christ and the openness with my wife and children about my dad, and the communication I continue to have with my siblings about our childhood under alcoholism have helped me tremendously. That is why I am starting a support group to meet with others who grew up with an alcoholic parent and parents who have children that are addicted to drugs or alcohol. This will be a time to share our experiences, pray, and encourage one another. This first meeting will be at Snow Hill Baptist Church Sunday evening 6:00 May 22. The second meeting June 26.
You are invited to come to share your story, listen to others share their story, and encourage one another. God’s word will be used to help us and strengthen us. This is not an Al-Anon group. This is a group of people coming together to love and encourage one another in the name of Jesus.
God bless you, Pastor Dean.
Pastor Dean Honeycutt shepherds Snow Hill Baptist Church in Bakersville, NC. He may be reached at 828-385-0213, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website at www.snowhillbaptist.com.
You can read more good Christian news from Dean HERE.