Things got really bad when I was 14. My parents had always been drinkers, but my mums drinking started getting out of control.
She would turn violent, her anger and bitterness directed at my dad, my little sister and me.
The police would be called at least once a week.
She stopped taking my sister to primary school.
My dad moved out after I wrestled a knife out her hand as she tried to cut his throat with it.
Things then went really down hill. No food in the house, no clean clothes, no money on the electric meter so we would be sitting in the dark.
Constant threats to kill herself often in front of my little sister, I used to drag her out of the room and shut the door, knowing that mum would never do anything if no one was watching.
Strange men in and out of the house.
She stole my jewellery and sold it.
I stopped going to school, hilariously I was scared of getting in trouble for not doing my homework.
I had constant mouth ulcers and styes.
When I was 16 she took us to Spain to celebrate her divorce from dad.
We woke one morning to her having sex with a man in our hotel room. My sister was 11, mum told us to go back to sleep.
My mum moved out soon after and burnt her new flat down within a month.
She burgled our house a week before Christmas, stealing the presents under the tree and our TV.
We got repossessed and moved to a council flat with Dad. Mum didn’t know where we lived so we were safe.
Dad met a woman and moved in with her, coming round to us once a week to buy the weekly shop, then going back to his girlfriend.
My sister was now 13 and had witnessed things that no child should see. She was angry, and rightly so.
I took her to our family GP to get her the pill as I knew she was sexually active. The Dr refused as she was apparently “too young”.
3 months later my sister was pregnant, my mum was in prison and my dad was non-existent. The Dr authorised me to sign the consent forms for my sisters abortion as the only responsible adult left. I was 18.
I last saw my mum when I was 24, I had a 6 month old son and I suppose now being a mother myself I was hoping to salvage something from our relationship.
She told me my son was “hard work”, that I was “spoiling him”. She then got drunk and got arrested.
That was 16 years ago. She has never seen my daughters.
My sister is now a carer in an old people’s home. I am incredibly proud of what she has achieved. We are very close, we only have each other and our children.
I want other survivors to know this: it’s not your fault. Get help to process all that you have experienced.
I had four years of counselling. It was hard but the best thing I ever did for myself.
We had to let mum go to save ourselves, and that’s OK, we deserve to be saved.
This courageous post was written anonymously, but offers such a strong message of survival to children of alcoholics. Feeling truely heard can be like a gift of life to the child of an alcoholic, whether the parent who drinks is still around or not. Nacoa can offer that lifeline of being heard and are waiting to listen. Find out about the Nacoa community here.
If you want to share your story of being a COA anonymously, or not, then find out how, here.