Dear ACOA. A poem for those who grew up in a home with an alcoholic parent

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It's a four letter word
and it's not kind
or love, or hope.
The word that best describes
growing up with
an alcoholic parent
is shit.

And it lingers for years.
Stalking you into adulthood.
Smearing itself on the edge
 of broken promises
 making reality hard to grasp.
Silencing speech.
Scapegoating smellers.
It's shit.

The unspoken rules.
The sense you get 
 that you're second
 to a substance
 because they'd rather booze-up
 than buy you shoes
 or a basic meal.
By the way,  'best go to bed,
they’re still at the bottle shop.
It's shit.

And all the ways you blame yourself - 
performing through perfection
for attention
then swinging to rebellion,
anything
anything to be seen
and loved
and held
more than a bottle
for the beloved you are
and your heart is bleeding.
It's shit.

And I'm sorry.
And I'd love to tell you
 it doesn't matter
  but it does
  because you do
  and always have.
And that deep anger
 and sadness that seeps
 from your scars are normal,
 and they exist 
 because you know
 deep in your love-seeded soul
 that you did nothing
 to deserve the neglect,
 or the harm or the shame 
 from that parent
 who may have loved you
 but failed terribly
 at loving themselves
 or parenting themselves
 with any maturity.
It's shit.

And I'm sorry.
And I’m praying 
 that you keep walking
 towards the light
  of healing
  and wholeness
  as slowly as you need
  with guides
  at your side.

 
Dear ACOA
For the one with the alcoholic parent. 
By David Tensen '21

 *contains language that may offend.


This is poem 18 in a series I am writing to Instagram followers who DM me their stories. Several wrote in with a stories of growing up in homes with alcoholic parents. This can be so hard to not only come to terms with, but heal through and walk through, later in life. It’s complex and a quick search on characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) can be alarming at first.  It’s something that has affected my own world through marriage.  My heart genuinely goes out to all those who grew up trying to make sense of carers and parents who suffered addictions.

Follow and write me on instagram @david_tensen


#poem #poetry #ACOA #alcoholic #alcoholism #parenting #adultchildrenofalcoholics #mentalhealth #health #addiction #substanceabuse #hope

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Author

Thank you for this beautiful and pertinent poem about such a tragic but all-too-common problem.

Author — Elise Cadwell