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JLeslie's avatar

Would you say something to the children of an alcoholic?

Here are two scenarios.

I had neighbors who my husband and I loved. We became friends with them, and got to know their adult children. One day, I don’t remember the situation exactly, but I was talking careers and life with their daughter who was graduating and thinking of maybe doing a masters. We talked and at one point I mentioned briefly to start saving money young and I told her ”don’t ever drink.” Not a lecture, but I said it in passing, those three words, in a serious tone. She gave me a look, not angry, but like she knew I knew her parents drink too much. I also tied it into how expensive alcohol is.

Last night I went to a gathering for a dear friend since elementary school who just died. 51 years old, I’m pretty upset about it, she was an alcoholic for many years. I don’t know if she was dry the last 5 years, but she had been dry for at least a few years before that. My guess is she was still not drinking.

I was talking to one of her daughters who was excited to tell me about her major, shed very smart and likes college, and the other person in the conversation was her mom’s old college roommate. Her roommate starts talking about (with a smile) how my girlfriend could drink a six of beer, barely study, wake up the next morning and ace a test. WTF?! I was so mad. I wanted to say at minimum, “don’t ever drink,” to her daughter, but I couldn’t. Not then, her mom just died from liver disease and kidney failure. Her girlfriend was recalling memories with fondness.

Note that all of these children I’m sure have had some horrible times dealing with their alcoholic parents. It’s not like they don’t know alcohol can be bad, but they are from drinking extended families, and so also drinking is “normal” like brushing your teeth in the morning.

Do you ever make a point to say something to the children of alcoholics? Any warning?

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