Childhood with an Alcoholic Parent: Then and Now

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Hello. I had a fairly rough childhood until I went into high school. My mom is an alcoholic, but once I turned about 13 or 14 she managed to stop drinking. Somewhat scarred and turned off of alcohol, I've only had a few experiences with it in my life so far (I'm 19). I recently moved away to college and my brother came out as an alcoholic, which, I guess, complicated things for my mom. She relapsed. For about 6 months from last September to January, she was drinking pretty often. She's stopped now and I don't suspect her to start up again, but I've lost some trust in her so there's that. Since then, I haven't been okay being around or consuming alcohol. Herein lies my problem: I'm in a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend, who is about a 10 hour drive from my college. Whenever she drinks, I get really, really uneasy. I try not to tell her that it gets to me, but it does. She knows my situation and she understands why I feel this anxiety, but I know it's a natural part of life to consume alcohol and that not everybody who drinks has a problem with it. But still, I can't shake this feeling.

tl;dr: Since I've grown up with an alcoholic parent, I don't trust alcohol. My girlfriend drinks occasionally (she doesn't have a problem), we're long-distance, but I get really uneasy when I know she's out drinking. How can I shake this feeling?

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  • Posted

    I'm not an expert or anything but who says you need to shake the feeling at all?  I was dating a person who was using drugs and it bothered me. I asked her to choose drugs or me. She chose drugs and so I broke things off. I have never ever regretted my decision. At the end of the day, you are the one responsible for your mental, spiritual, and physical health. If your gf cannot see that consumption of alcohol is bothering you, well I'm sure there are some who will understand. But once again I'm just a fat man in a skinny man's world foreging for a nut. 
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  • Posted

    Andrew, I totally understand your anxiety regarding your girlfriend after the nightmare that you have experienced around alcohol in your family.

    Of course alcohol needs to be respected and people should be aware of the dangers. However, the vast majority of people do not get into serious difficulty with alcohol, even those who are irresponsible in their late teens and early twenties.

    It is very difficult when you have experienced what you have, not to be nervous about the dangers of alcohol, just like a person who has been bitten by a dog may be nervous of all dogs. I think you just need to put aside your own experiences and look around you at the people you know who drink in a controlled manner because those people are the majority.

    It sounds like your girlfriend has great empathy and understanding regarding your feelings about alcohol and that is really good. I would just advise you not to give her too difficult a time of it if she does drink alcohol as she is doing what the vast majority of people do without it ever getting into a crisis situation. She knows her drinking makes you nervous and, with that understanding, I think she will continue to consider your feelings on the matter, just don't let it become a wedge between the two of you. Remember, she may have nobody close to her that has ever had an alcohol problem and that means she won't think about it as you do and probably doesn't even need to.

    I think it would be helpful to turn your mistrust of alcohol to a respect for it and a knowledge that, if overused, it can cause serious problems and leave it at that. You are in danger of turning a rational belief that alcohol can be extremely dangerous and ruin lives into an irrational one that it is CERTAIN to destroy the life of anybody who goes near it.

    Good luck adjusting your mindset smile


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