I’m 43 years old and I’ve been the child of an alcoholic for many years. My father was a man that was very proud, being ex-military he was very strict, methodical and had high expectations. Living in a house with him and his drinking was by far the most difficult thing I’ve had to endure in my life.

His drinking started when I was around 6 years old and pretty much continued until his death 2 months before my 21st birthday.

Some of the hardest parts of my childhood were the disconnection I felt, that walking on eggshells feeling that you get when you’re anticipating their action. Dad was unpredictable in his mood and often got aggressive.

Like my Mum and older sister, I was petrified of him. He was a bully, he intimidated us and used his power to dictate everything in the house. It was regimented, we lived on edge when he was around and all felt a sigh of relief when he wasn’t at home.

On the flip side I was his daughter and I loved him, I was loyal to him and would always defend his drinking and make excuses for him. I had a lot of embarrassment because of how he’d behave when he’d been drinking.

He never really had time for me or felt part of the family, which funnily enough was a good thing because it was just so uncomfortable when he was around, but I longed for a close relationship with him.

I experienced anxiety, extreme loneliness, confusion and disconnection. For me its the subtle comments, the ongoing negative words that hurt the most. The lack of support, inspiration and positivity took it’s toll over the years. Being physically hit seems insignificant to the ongoing torture of the mental stress I endured.

Dad’s drinking worsened over the years, experiencing hallucinations, liver problems, diabetes, pneumonia and being sectioned to the local mental health institution.

By the time I was nearly 21 his drinking had taken his life. It was a double edge sword because I loved him and he was the only Dad I had, but I felt a huge sense of relief.

It’s only now I’m 43 years old and I’ve been learning more about alcohol misuse, that I understand more of what he went through. As a child I couldn’t make sense of things, life was confusing.

There is no doubt in my mind that this experience has hugely impacted on my adult life in so many ways. So many adult children of alcoholics don’t realise their issues are connected to their past. They are, massively.

I now work to support families of alcoholics and educate professionals about how they can support children. It’s my job to change perceptions which inevitably will change lives.