Hi. I'm new here and my dad is a recovering alcoholic.

Hi Don't really know what to say, except I am 15 years old, and my dad has suffered from terrible alcoholism for the last 5 years of my life. He has always been an alcoholic, but in 2003, he lost his job, and our family was just surviving on benefits. When he eventually got a job again, it was working at John Lewis, which he really hated. I think that was when I noticed he was changing. Every night he would say that he was going "round the block with the dogs", but he would come back in 45 minutes later, unable to walk straight, slurring his words, his eyes half closed, and he didn't know who or where he was. One night, I decided to watch him out of my bedroom window. Instead of going out of the drive and into the road, he tied the dog lead to the handle of the garage door, and got in his car. Through the window of his car, I could see him with a big bottle of Smirnoff Vodka. That same night, he was out longer than normal. When he came back in, he didn't have our dog with him. My mum and I ran out to the garage, and the dog was still tied to the garage. it was a good job we got her, because she could have been stolen and/or caught a cold. When we got back in, it was to find my little sister in tears saying "Daddy won't get up!" My dad was sat in the chair by the computer, and was completely wasted. He was worse than usual. He could barely talk. He was like someone who had had a series blow to the head. My mum told him to go to bed, and he just kept saying "Please. Go away," over and over. In the end he just stayed in the chair. Although he wasn't overweight, he was like a dead weight, and me and my mum couldn't move him. We left him all night comotozed in the chair. See, the thing with my dad was that he was never hungover. He never felt ill the next morning, but he could also never remember the night before. From then on, every night was like that one. He would rarely end up in bed, usually passed out on the sofa, chair, or sometimes even the floor. I guess, me, my mum and my sister Francesca kind of became immune to it. We knew what would happen in the evenings. He would get home from work, have something to eat (usually rubbish like cheese on toast), put my baby brother Christopher to bed, and then he would be passed out by 9.00. Then came a day I will never forget. It was the same year, about a month later in December. I remember it was after christmas in 2006, because I was on my xmas school holidays. It was the same old evening. Me, my mum and Francesca were watching Coronation Street when it happened. Dad was in the kitchen cutting some cheese. Just 1 hour before, we had been playing Monopoly as a family. Then he "took the dog out". Anyway, he was cutting some cheese when we heard a bang. Francesca rushed out, thinking he had broken a plate or something. She came running back in saying that he had fainted. Mum and I rushed out, and he was sprawled across the kitchen floor. His arms were tucked underneath him, and his legs at funny angles behind him. Immediately, mum started screaming "Oh my God, where's the knife he was using?! WHERE'S THE KNIFE??" Then she saw it in his hand. She immediately turned dad over, to see if he had accidentally stabbed himself as he had fallen. Fortunately he hadn't. However, he still would wake up. Mum was throwing water over him, slapping him, shouting at him, anything to get him to respond. When he didn't she panicked. Mum got our neighbour, Judie, to help her. Judie was a trained nurse. She took one look at him and phoned for an ambulance. By this point, Francesca and I were hysterical. We thought he was going to die. I have never been so scared in my entire life on that evening. Mum told me and Francesca to go upstairs out of the way. We heard the ambulance arrive five minutes later. About half an hour later, mum came upstairs. She told us that the paramedics had gone, and that they had managed to move dad onto the sofa, but they had to put an oxygen mask on him to get him to wake up. When he did, he couldn't remember his date of birth. They said he was really lucky not to have fallen on the knife. They said he could have killed himself. The next morning, dad couldn't remember anything. When we told him what happened, he didn't believe us. Mum showed him the oxygen mask. He just walked out. We thought things would get better after that. That he would realise he needed help. He didn't. It got worse. He started getting drunk even earlier in the day. He quit his job in John Lewis, and became a postman. He would finish work and be home at 2.00pm every day. As soon as he stepped through the door, he would sneak out and drink. Things also got worse for my mum. Because my dad's job didn't pay very much, we were slowly getting into more and more money troubles. The debit card bill would come through, with huge amounts paid to our local off-license. All their money was going on fags and booze. In the end, when mum had to remortgage the house, she decided enough was enough. She told my dad to get out of the house. In Feburary this year, my dad rented out a small one-bed flat in the town center. It broke my heart, as well as my mums, to see him leave. Finally, it was the wake up call he needed. Mum told him that he would not be able to see us children, untill he could prove to her that he was getting help. After 5 years of being a raging alcoholic, dad finally joined an Alcoholics Anonymous group. He started going every day, sometimes twice a day. He then got a better paying job in an office, and he was happier. Things are better now. We still don't have any money, because dad has to pay the rent on his flat as well as the bills on our house. My mum can't work because she is almost blind. But at least I am not living in fear anymore. He went through a bit of a rough patch when he started suffering withdrawal symptons, but even then he didn't go back to alcohol. He look healthier, and has his sense of humour back. Mum and dad still aren't back together, but I think it is too late for that now.

i just wanted to say, to anyone who is going through what I was going through:

DON'T GIVE UP HOPE!

If you have any questions to ask me, please do. I understand what you are going through.

Charlotte xx

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