Depressed middle age Asian man standing in the room with drinking beer and think about life problem. Stressed unemployed guy feel upset and tired at home. Mental health and alcohol addiction and economic problem concept.

“My Dad’s Alcoholism”

A winning essay from our Brighter Future Scholarship contest

From a young age, I always viewed alcohol as a normal thing. It was around me everywhere, at home, at family gatherings, even at my grandfather’s funeral. Coming from the parents of Mexican immigrants, alcohol is unfortunately a part of our culture. Ever since I could remember, my dad would always come home from work with a 12 pack of beer, sit down, pop one open and watch TV for the rest of the night. He would always finish that 12 pack by the end of the day. Alcohol has absolutely ruined my father, and to this day he suffers from alcohol addiction, alongside severe bipolar disorder. It has made my father turn into an absolute monster, from breaking things while yelling at everyone, to crying and feeling remorse for his indescribable actions. I have always been so terrified of my father because of the way alcohol makes him act, and I cannot remember the last time my dad has made it through the day without being drunk by the end of it. Living with an alcoholic has made it close to impossible to move around the house without getting yelled at. There was one night, where my dad was getting drunk as usual, but this time he overdid it. He became very violent which forced me, my mom and little sister to move out of the house for a bit. Alcohol has made my parent’s relationship so incredibly toxic, which has a huge effect on me and my little sister. Typically, I am always the one breaking up their fights, but sometimes their arguments can be so scary and loud I didn’t want to get involved.

As I grew up, I only saw the negative outcomes of my situation at home, but it took a huge leap of maturity to realize that there are some positives that come out of problems like this. Since my father’s alcoholism influences him to pick fights all the time, I have gained the talent of being able to work under pressure very well. There have been multiple nights where I am doing homework or studying, and my father is in the background having a nasty argument with my mom. Perfecting this talent has allowed me to be able to work diligently in loud spaces and tune out anything that can be a distraction. Of course, I did not gain these qualities through a healthy approach, and it took me years to come to the realization that I possess these talents because of my situation. If I had the opportunity to take away these ‘talents’ from myself at the cost of my father’s alcoholism and the trauma it has brought, I would do it in a heartbeat. As a high-schooler, I of course have been to many high school parties where alcohol is in the picture. I have never been the type to willingly drink at parties, because every time I think or smell of alcohol, I think of the monster my father becomes when he is intoxicated with it. Every time I hear the beer open, or the cap pop off, I am instantly brought back to those nights where my parents are fighting because of my father’s intoxication. I never minded the fact that I was viewed as lame or “no fun” because I usually didn’t want to drink alcohol at parties, but I didn’t mind. The kids who I was surrounded by clearly viewed alcohol as fun and a good time, but I viewed it as traumatic and something I’d never want to get addicted to. My dad’s addiction is the biggest toll on my mental health. He helped influence the decision of never wanting to have alcohol in my life because of the traumatic tie I have to it.

By receiving this scholarship, it would help me pay for nursing school, and help others in similar situations as me. I want to be a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. My biggest goal in this career is to be able to sympathize with all of my patients, especially the ones who are being raised by parents of addiction. As a healthcare provider, it is important to put yourself in the shoes of your patients, and I know that with childhood my dad has given me, I will be able to relate to my patients on a deeper level. Every time the topic of addiction is mentioned, I never judge the person who is being affected by it second hand. It isn’t something to be embarrassed about, in fact, it should be normalized. Many want to stay silent if they are being affected by a person with addiction, but it is important to raise awareness and to encourage them that they are not alone.

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