Over the course of the next few days I will be posting this story. Each day, i will post a different one of the 4 family members stories, all written in first person. The idea behind this is to show just how differently each family member sees the problem drinking and how it affects them all differently and how each family members coping mechanisms affect each other. I wrote this a year ago, and it has become a bit of a dream of mine to get it into schools in book format, as I believe reading this would have had a huge impact on me as a child.

This is the 1st piece and is the experience of the youngest of the 2 children. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Josh 🙂 

I don’t know what you think, it’s not entered my mind.

I’m 3 years old, this place is huge. I like to explore… and cuddles with mummy… And daddy too.. When he’s here….He tickles my belly with his beard. It makes laugh. His mouth smells funny sometimes but I don’t care.

I don’t know what you think, it’s not entered my mind.

I’m 4 now. I’m going to my brother’s school soon. He’s cool. I like when we play upstairs. When we play with the door shut its harder to hear when daddy’s angry. Mummy says he accidentally breaks stuff sometimes because the people at his work are nasty. I don’t like those people. I ask mummy why daddy’s mouth smells funny. She says it doesn’t and that I’m being silly. I’m silly a lot.

I wonder what you think. Are you just like me?

I’m 5 and go to school now. I like playing chase at play time. But the classroom is quiet, which makes me feel scared, so I try to make people laugh. Mummy tells me everybody’s houses are different, and we have to look after each other. I don’t know what she means. The police take daddy away sometimes, to make him all better and so he doesn’t smash things. Sometimes he’s gone for a while. I would tell the policeman about the nasty people at daddy’s work, but they are a little bit scary. It’s ok though because we always get ice cream and stuff when he’s gone, so we are happy. We must be happy. I thought mummy was sad but she just had something in her eye.

I wonder what you think. Are you just like me?

Now I’m 6. I really don’t like how daddy’s mouth smells because I think the smell makes him be nasty. Which is horrible because his mouth smells all the time now. I kept asking mummy but she was telling me off in the end. She said who cares that his mouth smells anyway?! My house is small now. I don’t like playing exploring any more. I think daddy lives somewhere else. But sometimes he sleeps on the kitchen floor. I don’t want to ask mummy because ‘don’t I think she has enough on her plate’ or that’s what she says. Anyway we have to be happy. Sometimes at school I pretend I live somewhere else. It would be nice but I would miss mummy too much. And daddy…when his breath was not smelly.

It annoys me what you think. You’re not like us.

I’m 7. You think we are bad. Dads in prison. So you think we are bad. I can see the way the adults look at me. But I don’t care. I stay strong for my mum. I have to now. The smell on dad’s breath was beer. He’s alcoholic. Mum has told us that now. Prison will make him better. Mum cries less now.  So she doesn’t have to lie about the thing in her eye. I can make her laugh. Which I do a lot so we can be happy. Visiting dad is cool. And I don’t have to worry about coming home from school when dad is drunk. My older brother acts a bit strange. I hope he’s not alcoholic.

It annoys me what you think. You’re not like us.

I’m 8 now. I’m trying my best to keep mum happy. I think it’s working. Most of the time anyway. She cuddles me a lot and says us boys are all she has. That makes me feel good and means I must be good for her. I still mess up, we were visiting dad and I told him about mum’s new friend, he got angry and punched mum real hard. She was ok. She said it didn’t hurt and that these things happen. But I know it was my fault. I should learn. Maybe if I’d learnt how to make people laugh before dad went to prison i could have made him happy enough to be good.

I know what you think. Any maybe you’re right.

I’m 9. Dad is out from prison and living in this tiny house. We go there sometimes. I don’t like it. Dad is still alcoholic so prison don’t work. Nor do I. I can’t make him laugh that much. And I’m scared to try. His laugh is scary. I hate is breath. It makes me real scared. His friends are nasty. I don’t know why he is always angry at mum. I try to make mum laugh but she doesn’t. I look at their faces all the time so I know when it’s coming. I try really hard at school because maybe if get really really good I could make them real happy and they wouldn’t need to argue. Sometimes I think I am nearly there. Then dad shouts a lot of things. Nasty stuff. I heard my friends mum tell her friend that my mum has a lot to answer for. Mum said ignore them, they don’t have a clue, and not to get angry because then they have won. But I punched bobby at school so nobody will know what I’m angry about.

I know what you think. Any maybe you’re right.

I’m 10. We went home early from school. I knew dad was going to be dead. I had been waiting for it. He was. I cried and then managed to stop. Mum said he was alcoholic and gone to a better place. I wondered where that was. And if I’d ever get to go there. I’m gunna be strong for mum. She has had it really really bad and I’m not gunna make it worse. We went back to school. I’m not like the other kids at school.. You looked at me with those eyes. I just make people laugh. My teacher said I was brave. I don’t cry in front of people because I am strong. Sometimes I cry on my own in my bedroom so nobody sees. I know when I cry it’s because I am weak. I am not weak. I am ok. Mum is so proud. She told my Nan she is glad I’m so young that I don’t really understand. I pretend I don’t so mum is happy. We are all happy, so I don’t talk about what makes me sad.

I know what you think. You think I’m brave.

I’m 11. I have to be brave. Mum seems to be quite happy and that makes me feel good. When everybody is happy my world is easier. A girl at school did a dance she learned and was allowed to pick one person to show. She picked me. The dance wasn’t great, but I told her it was amazing. She smiled and that made feel good. Mum keeps telling people that my teacher told her she was real happy the girl chose me because she knew I’d be nice even though the girl has learning difficulties. They tell me what a star I am and how fantastic I’ve done and stuff. I don’t really believe them. But people say nice stuff all the time. I’m glad they don’t know how weak I really am. I am really scared to go to senior school. I tell mum I can’t wait so she doesn’t have to worry.

I know what you think. You think I’m brave.

I’m 12 and at senior school. It’s weird. I don’t like it. We had to start talking about what we want to be when we grow up. I don’t care. I just don’t want to be alcoholic. My teacher thinks I’m a clown and disruptive. Well she don’t have a clue. I get angry at school a lot. I don’t really know why. Making people laugh is about all I have. We still don’t talk about my dad. There’s posters up in the corridors about how bad alcohol is. Some of the posters make me realise my dad did drugs too. A famous footballer died of alcoholism. Everyone talks about how he couldn’t have loved his kids enough. No one says anything nice about him. I start to wonder about my dad, but it makes my head go so fast I can’t think. I can’t ask anyone. I put it to the back of my mind. I still cry most nights. Thank god I’ve never been caught. If people knew the real me…

I know what you think. And I just don’t care.

I’m 13. Me and some of the lads from school drink and smoke weed at the weekends. I love it. That noise in my head goes when I drink or smoke stuff. I ent harming anyone. I don’t care about school. The teacher’s don’t have a clue about me and my life. I don’t care anyway. I love the weekends. I feel part of something at last. I don’t even cry at night anymore. Life is good. I get in trouble a lot at school but who cares. I’m always good at home. I’ll never let my mum down at home. She don’t need it.

I know what you think. And I just don’t care.

At 14, to be honest, I’m confused. I have a group of mates but I don’t feel like I fit. I find it hard to connect properly with them, unless I’m drunk. Then I don’t care. I’ve had a few girlfriends but I’m not into it really. I have to be drunk to talk to them properly. I couldn’t deal with them turning me down. They make me angry anyway. I smashed my last girlfriend’s phone against a wall. I don’t really know why. I get angry a lot. At crazy times. For no reason. It bursts out of me like I have no control. Some days I feel like I wanna burst. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because of my dad. But people have had it much worse. I saw a thing on T.V, an 18-year-old boy lost his dad when he was 10. It was to cancer and he had to watch his dad die slowly. The boy was about to run a marathon for the charity that had helped his family. I imagined running a marathon for my dad, the alcoholic, I’m not sure anyone would donate, or even if there is a charity I could give the money to. Anyway this boy seemed like he had dealt with it. So I should be able to. Deep down I know I can’t though. The crying at night is back, im pathetic really. I wonder if there’s anyone who feels like I do on the inside. At least I have the weekends. They’re fun.

I know what you think, and it plays on my mind.

I’m 15 now. I’ve been arrested a few times. People judge me now. I say I don’t care, but I think I do. I don’t like myself but I act cocky so people don’t realise what a loser I am. People annoy me a lot. They have no idea about my life or the real world. A couple of people have said I should talk to someone.. But about what?! I’ve never talked about anything to anyone. I don’t need to. I’m strong. My dad was a drunk, so what?! Life is tough and you have to get on with it. I don’t really like life. I do think about ending it, that will show them. I’d have to be drunk to do it. But when im drunk I don’t want to do it. So im still here. How do people live like this for so long?! I can’t be like other people.

I know what you think, and it plays on my mind.

I’m 16. I’ve left school. I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I’ve started selling drugs. I go out clubbing and drinking in the pubs. The pubs give me a slight sense of belonging, if I take enough drink that is. People around me seem happy and directed. I’m lost. I try to work people out. Are they like me? People think I’m a good laugh. A real party animal. I guess I am, but I really struggle, there’s pain in me somewhere that I cover up. Is everyone doing that?! If they are the world is a pack of lies. No… Nobody is like me.

I know what you think, and I’m imprisoned by it.

I’m 17. Life is crazy. The police know me well. I’m in trouble a lot. Nobody understands. I hate life and I hate people. I often drink so much I don’t remember a thing the next day. I like fighting. Even getting beaten up feels good. I’ve woken up in hospital a few times. Who cares?! There’s nothing anyone can do to me that will hurt any more than I hurt inside. I couldn’t tell you what goes through my head if I tried. It’s just noise. I do insane things when im drunk. Stuff that makes me feel unbearably ashamed. I can deal with that. It’s alone in my head I can’t do. I tried to kill myself. I failed. Now im a failure at life and a failure at death. What’s the point?! People have started to see the real pathetic person I am. I hate it. I can see the disgust in everyone’s eyes. I drink most days. Do I crave it? Who knows, I just cannot do life. People say I should stop drinking. Drinking isn’t the problem. I am. I do want to die. I still play the clown. I tell people im ok. I don’t want help.

I know what you think, and I’m imprisoned by it.

So I am 18. I’m still alive. Not that I deserve it. I’m rarely sober at all. My life is out of control. I moved out. Didn’t want mum to see what I’ve become. I can’t imagine my life without alcohol but I can’t imagine it with it either! I’m barely existing. I shake all the time. I’m scared to answer the door. The world terrifies me. So I drink. I drink and use. I don’t even know if it works. But I blackout. I have a baby now. I wanted more than anything in the world to be a good dad. I tried to calm my drinking. It didn’t work. I wake up to a smashed up house regularly.  I don’t drink in the pubs. I can’t afford to. I have no idea how I got here. Or why I’m so pathetic. But I’m here. As a child I had 1 dream. To not be an alcoholic. My life has barely begun, and here I am. A dad. An alcoholic.