The story of living with an alcoholic


Everybody likes a glass of wine or a beer. It’s cozy and to be honest: it just tastes good. Still, there are a lot of people all over the world who can’t resist more than one or two glasses and need alcohol to get through the day. Tine’s daddy couldn’t control his alcohol consumption for years and the whole family suffered as a result. She tells her story to Nasrien

‘People who say that alcohol is not a hard drug, have clearly never come into contact with people who really had an alcohol problem’

A normal childhood

I grew up in a warm family. A mom, a dad and 2 sisters. We were a normal family. Three sisters who sometimes bother each other, or steal clothes from each other. A dad who worked hard to support his family and a mom who was a housewife. She did everything she could to offer her children and husband a warm home. Pretty normal, though there was one thing that might have been a little different from other families. 

My dad was, and still is, a very warm man. A social type who worked his ass off to support his family. He used to work in a very big company. But due to circumstances he had to take over his father’s small butcher shop. He hadn’t been trained for that, but he got the money he needed to give his family what they needed. Everybody had stress in his life and with a small self-employed person this is no different. Instead of venting his stress by doing sports or reading books, every night after he closed the shop, he went drinking in the restaurants where he delivered meat.

Nothing wrong with that you would think, social contact and ventilating the stress of the day by talking about it. No, that’s right. He just drank alcohol during those moments. A lot. And because he got up very early and he often had a sleep deprivation, those couple of beers made him drunk very quickly.

An agressive drunk

Sometimes people are fun and happy when they’re drunk. That wasn’t the case with him. He was mean and verbally very aggressive. My childhood, between the ages of 14 and 18, is full of bad memories of evenings full of arguments, accusations and rough remarks. When my dad drank alcohol, his bad side came up. Actually, the devil that was inside of him. He said the things he knew were going to hurt us and verbally drilled us into the ground. Physically, fortunately, he never touched us. The next day he was always very sorry, didn’t know what had been saying and said he was going to improve his life. He never did. 

In that period I wrote more than 100 poems for him, made drawings and put leaflets under his pillow of talking groups. Nothing helped and that made us suffer a lot. The hardest period easily lasted 5 years. After that, he didn’t drink every day anymore, but it still happened a few days a week. 

The turnaround

Last year he got prostate cancer. The doctors were clear: stop drinking or we won’t operate. That was a wake-up call for him. Since his surgery in February he has closed his butcher shop and hasn’t touched a drop, but we are afraid of what will happen after the lockdown. What if social contact is allowed again and the bars reopen? 

Because of his mental aggressiveness he has made sure that all four of us (my sisters, me and my mom) have become very combative on the one hand, but also very insecure on the other hand. The feeling of ‘we’re not enough’ lingers today. People who say that alcohol is not a hard drug have clearly never come into contact with people who really had an alcohol problem. 

The interview has been done and written out by @NASRIEN CNOPS

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