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Family

What to do when you're the child of an alcoholic

My dad was an addict, and growing up with him taught me a lot.

alcoholism, kids and alcoholism, alcoholic parents
Photo with permission from writer Ashley Tieperman.

Ashley Tieperman and her father.


There was never just one moment in my family when we “found out" that my dad was an addict.

I think I always knew, but I never saw him actually drinking. Usually, he downed a fifth of vodka before he came home from work or hid tiny bottles in the garage and bathroom cabinets.


My name is Ashley, and I am the child of an addict. As a kid, I cried when our family dinner reservation shrunk from four to three after a man with glassy eyes stumbled through the door. I didn't guzzle the vodka, but I felt the heartbreak of missed birthdays. I feel like I should weigh 500 pounds from all the “I'm sorry" chocolate donuts. I had to grow up quicker, but it made me into the person I am today.

addiction, coping, 12 step programs, recovery

Me and my dad.

Photo with permission from writer Ashley Tieperman.

I spent many years shouting into journals about why this was happening to me. But this is the thing that no one will tell you about loving someone who has an addiction: it will force you to see the world through different eyes.

Here are some things I've learned:

1. When your family's yelling about burnt toast, they're probably also yelling about something else.

My family yelled about everything — and nothing — to avoid the messy stuff. We all handled my dad's addiction differently. My brother devoured sports. My mom took bubble baths. I slammed doors and slammed boyfriends for not understanding my family's secrets.

Regardless of the preferred coping mechanism, everyone feels pain differently.

2. Your "knight in shining armor" can't fix this.

Boyfriends became my great escape when I was young. But when I expected them to rescue me from the pain I grew up with, it never worked out. No matter how strapping they looked galloping in on those white horses, they couldn't save me or fix anything.

In the end, I realized that I had to find healing on my own before I could build a strong relationship.

3. “Don't tell anyone" is a normal phase.

When my dad punched holes in the wall, my mom covered them up with artwork. I wanted to rip the artwork down to expose all the holes, especially as a bratty teenager. But eventually I realized that it wasn't my choice. My parents had bills to pay and jobs to keep. I've learned it's common to cover up for dysfunction in your family, especially when it feels like the world expects perfection.

4. Friends probably won't get it, but you'll need them anyway.

Bulldozed by broken promises, I remember collapsing on a friend's couch from the crippling pain of unmet expectations. I hyperventilated. Things felt uncontrollable and hopeless. My friend rubbed my back and just listened.

These are the kinds of friends I will keep forever, the ones who crawled down into the dark places with me and didn't make me get back up until I was ready.

5. You can't fix addiction, but you can help.

When I was a teenager, I called a family meeting. I started by playing a Switchfoot song: “This is your life. Are you who you want to be?"

Let's skip to the punchline: It didn't work.

It wasn't just me. Nothing anyone did worked. My dad had to lose a lot — mostly himself — before he hit that place they call “rock bottom." And, in all honesty, I hate that label because “rock bottom" isn't just a one-and-done kind of place.

What can you do while you wait for someone to actually want to get help? Sometimes, you just wait. And you hope. And you pray. And you love. And you mostly just wait.

6. Recovery is awkward.

When a counselor gave me scripted lines to follow if my dad relapsed, I wanted to shred those “1-2-3 easy steps" into a million pieces.

For me, there was nothing easy about my dad's recovery. My whole family had to learn steps to a new dance when my dad went into recovery. The healing dance felt like shuffling and awkwardly stepping on toes. It was uncomfortable; new words, like trust and respect, take time to sink in. And that awkwardness is also OK.

7. I still can't talk about addiction in the past tense.

Nothing about an addict's life happens linearly. I learned that early on. My dad cycled through 12-step programs again and again, to the point where I just wanted to hurl whenever anyone tried to talk about it. And then we finally reached a point where it felt like recovery stuck.

But even now, I'll never say, “My dad used to deal with addiction." My whole family continues to wrestle with the highs and lows of life with an addict every single day.

8. Happy hours and wedding receptions aren't easy to attend.

My family will also probably never clink glasses of red wine or stock the fridge full of beer. I'm convinced happy hours and wedding receptions will get easier, but they might not. People get offended when my dad orders a Diet Coke instead of their fine whisky.

Plus, there's the paranoia factor. Surrounded by flowing liquor, I hate watching my dad crawl out of his skin, tempted to look “normal" and tackle small talk with people we barely know. I've learned that this fear will probably last for a while, and it's because I care.

9. If you close your eyes, the world doesn't just “get prettier."

With constant fear of the unknown, sometimes our world is not a pretty place. I remember watching the breaking news on 9/11 and feeling the terror of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers as if I was there.

My dad numbed the anxiety of these dark days with vodka, but this didn't paint a prettier world for him when he woke up the next day. I've dealt with the fear of the unknown with the help of boys, booze, and bad dancing on pool tables. Life hurts for everyone, and I think we all have to decide how we're going to handle the darkness.

10. Rip off the sign on your back that reads: “KICK ME. MY LIFE SUCKS."

Sometimes I look in the mirror and I see only my broken journey. In some twisted way, I'm comforted by the dysfunction because it's kept me company for so long. It's easy to let the shadow of my family's past follow me around and choose to drown in the darkness.

But every day, I'm learning to turn on the light. I have to write the next chapter in my recovery story, but I can't climb that mountain with all this crap weighing me down.

11. It's OK to forgive, too.

Some people have given me sucky advice about how I should write an anthem on daddy bashing, or how to hit the delete button on the things that shaped my story.

Instead, my dad and I are both learning to celebrate the little things, like the day that he could change my flat tire. On that day, I didn't have to wonder if he was too drunk to come help me.

I can't forget all the dark nights of my childhood.

But I've learned that for my own well-being, I can't harbor bitterness until I explode.

Instead, I can love my dad, day by day, and learn to trust in the New Dad — the one with clearer eyes and a full heart. The one who rescues me when I call.


This article was written by Ashley Tieperman and originally appeared on 04.27.16

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

There was a time when every other girl was named Ashley. That time has ended.

As we know, baby name trends are constantly changing. One generation’s Barbara is another generation’s Bethany. But it doesn’t make it any less odd when you suddenly realize that your very own name has suddenly made it into the “old and unhip” pile. And for many of us 80s babies…that time is now.

In a now-viral TikTok post, baby name consultant Colleen Slagen went through the top 100 girl names from 1986 to find which ones “did not age well” and were no longer ranked top 1,000 today. Such a descent from popularity would mark them as what she calls “timestamp names.”

Spoiler alert: what might be even more surprising than the names now considered old school are the names that are still going strong.


The first name that Slagen says is “officially out” is Heather. That’s right, not even cult movie fame could help it keep its ranking.

via GIPHY

Other extinct names include Erica, Courtney, Lindsay, Tara, Crystal, Shannon, Brandy and Dana. Tiffany, Brittany and Casey are also heading very much in that direction.

“My name is Brandy. The Gen Z hostess at Olive Garden told me that she’d never heard my name before and it was so unique,” one viewer wrote.

However, Andrea ranks “surprisingly high,” and Jessica, Ashley and Stephanie have survived…so far.

Gobsmacked, one person asked “How is Stephanie still in there? I don’t think I’ve met a Stephanie younger than myself at 34.”

But the biggest holdout still belongs to Jennifer. “She was a top 100 name all the way up until 2008. Round of applause for Jennifer,” Slagen says in the clip.

@namingbebe Sorry Lindsay, Heather, and Courtney. #babynames #nametok #nameconsultant #girlnames #80skid #1986 #nametrend ♬ original sound - Colleen

If your name has found its way into relic of a bygone era status, fret not. Slagen, whose name also ranks out of the top 1000, assures it just means “we are creatures of the 80's.”

Of course, while we still have baby names that become incredibly common for extended periods of time (looking at you, little Liam and Olivia), the real contemporary trend is going for uniqueness. As an article in The Atlantic notes, for most of American history families tended to name their children after a previous family member, with the goal of blending in, rather than standing out. But now, things have changed.

Laura Wattenberg, the founder of Namerology, told the outlet that “Parents are thinking about naming kids more like how companies think about naming products, which is a kind of competitive marketplace where you need to be able to get attention to succeed.”

But again, even with a keen eye on individualism, patterns pop up. “The same thing we see in fashion trend cycles, we see in names,” Jessie Paquette, another professional baby namer, told Vox. “We’re seeing Eleanor, Maude, Edith—cool-girl grandma names.”

So who knows…give it time (or maybe just a pop song) and one of these 80s names could make a comeback.

Married couple looking out into a forest

We all know on some level that no marriage is without its issues. But in this highlight-reel-only modern day existence, it can be easy to feel like every other couple is completely squabble-free.

So, in case you need a reminder that every marriage does, in fact, have its problems, and the research to prove this doesn’t cut it—read on.

A Redditor recently asked happily married couples: “What are some serious issues that have plagued your otherwise great relationship?

As you can guess, these happy couples still had conflict around common subjects like money, intimacy, and communication. But even with their issues, these partners still consider their relationships as healthy. That's saying something.

Here are 12 “serious issues” that even happy marriages continue to face:


1.“Neither of us have many friends so we rely on each other to meet too many of our needs”. -howyafeelin

couples

Solemn looking couple.

Photo credit: Canva

“I feel like people who say “oh but that’s okay because your spouse should be all you need” don’t understand how much pressure that puts on both partners. No one person can or should be your everything.” -Square-Raspberry560

And on the opposite side of the spectrum, we have…

2. “Not enough time for ourselves.We both have big families and friend circles. If we are not seeing my friends, we are seeing her friends. If we are not seeing her family, we are seeing my family.This is on top of working long hours and being fairly introverted to boot.We have to schedule dates and ‘alone time’ so we can recover.Honestly, I couldn't imagine managing all this with anyone else and I am so thankful for her.” -Shahfluffers

3. “The hardest things have ever been for us was when we let others dictate our relationship. My mom was always an enemy of our relationship, and her sister was always against us. As soon as we stopped letting them have opinions on us, our lives became infinitely better.-TitularFoil

in-laws, mil

Woman ignoring her in-laws

Photo credit: Canva

4. “No longer a pain point, but is a good reminder: just talk, don’t internalize your stresses/fears/etc. All that happens when you hold things in is that vacuum is filled with assumptions that benefit neither you or your spouse.” -Avamedic

This!! I suffered a panic attack 2 weeks ago because I was keeping everything inside me. Once I told my wife everything I had in my head, suddenly it felt really silly that I was keeping it inside. Should have talked more from the beginning.” -MikePap

5. "Different sex drives.”-quivalent-Ad844

different sex drives in couples

Couple in bed

Photo credit: Canva

“Yep -I've experienced both being the partner with a lower sex drive and, more recently, being the one with the higher sex drive.Both were extremely difficult on our relationship and have been some of the most vulnerable and sensitive times for either of us.” -Rubinovyy17

6. "Kids put an incredible amount of stress on a relationship.” -inkyblinkypinkysue

parenting styles

Parents having a talk with their child.

Photo credit: Canva

“Parenting styles I feel like is something that is never discussed. It’s always “do you want kids?” It’s never “how do you plan on handling xyz when it comes to kids”. I’m currently trying to navigate this with my husband. I have to constantly be the bad cop because he will cave to the meltdown which requires me to do double duty trying to undo any enabling. It’s exhausting at times.” -ZolaMonster


7. “My husband has a serious phone addiction. He’s always on it, whether it’s in the bathroom, to in bed, movie night just the two of us, during meals. We can’t even eat out without him having to check his phone (for social reasons, not even work related reasons). I’ve discussed this with him multiple times and it’s in one ear out the other.” -ieatnoodlesw_sticks

phone addiction

Man with cellphone

Photo credit: Canva

8. “Holidays. My wife's parents are divorced so we have 3 different families we're trying to please PLUS our own. So basically whenever Christmas comes around, we need to find time to celebrate for ourself, my parents/siblings, her dad, her mom/grandma. It's such a pain having to schedule early holidays and traveling all over the state to visit everyone.” -AFunkinDiscoBall


9. “Money money money money MONEY....MONEEEEYYYYYYYYY.” -JnyBlkLabel

money management for couples

Couple with bills

Photo credit: Canva


“For us, not just money itself, but differences in attitudes toward it. We were raised differently and value it differently. We're in agreement that neither of our viewpoints/attitudes is inherently right or wrong (regarding money or any of the other ways we were raised differently), but it does cause tension. I'm more of a saver and she's more of a spender, which causes conflict especially when I'm the higher earner. Sure, I like shiny things too, but I also like my money to buy security and early retirement. I think there's a happy medium somewhere.” -PoisonWaffle3

10.“Endometriosis. My wife had stage 4 Endo, which seriously affected her mood, my mood, our sex life, intimacy, and countless other small things. She had her first surgery in 2015. That helped for 8 months but it slowly came back. She then went UNDER for her second surgery in 2021 they got in there and realized it was too serious for this specific doctor (it covered her bladder, bowels, and other major organs). So she had to go through the recovery of a surgery while not actually getting any benefit. She was then referred to a specialist doctor, one of Canadas best. But the wait time was 1.5 years.We hung on…and went through some rough times….But she finally had her surgery in June 2023, a full hysterectomy, and total cleanout of endometriosis…..and she’s feeling incredible! Endometriosis is awful. She was such a trooper, and we are now doing incredible. :)” -ActivE__

marriage

Woman with endometriosis

Photo credit: Canva

11.“Stubbornness. You CANNOT be stubborn in a marriage. You must be able to give, take, be self aware of your giving and taking, and be able to communicate about the nature of each others gives and takes.” -rippa76

12. “Deciding what the heck is for dinner every night !” -Main-Jelly-8589

Bottom line: though of course being able to navigate conflict is integral to every successful marriage, avoiding it entirely is impossible. So if you and your significant other can never seem to "get over" that one nagging problem…you're not alone. And you're not doomed.

Joy

Shelter dog doesn't know what to do with her first toy but melts when offered affection

The stray pup's smelly, itchy skin condition didn't stop Rocky Kanaka from scooping the sweet girl into his arms.

Rocky Kanaka/YouTube (used with permission)

Katie's had a rough life so far, but she's starting to get the care she needs.

When Rocky Kanaka first met Katie, a scruffy beige Australian Shepherd mix, he thought she was a senior dog. As it turned out, the shelter pup was only about a year old. She had just been found by a good samaritan as a stray, her fur and skin in terrible shape, her paws swollen and her spirit muted. She didn't even want to look at Kanaka when he first entered the kennel to sit with her.

That all changed as he took the time to sit with her and earn her trust. Kanaka has gained a huge following on YouTube with his videos sitting with shelter dogs, and his way with them is truly inspiring. He brings his own home-baked treats and a huge amount of patience and compassion, helping abandoned animals learn that humans can be kind and caring companions.

Katie is one of many dogs Kanaka has visited, and her behavior in the kennel showed him that she hadn't had much of a chance in her short life to learn how to be a dog.


For instance, when Kanaka offered her a stuffed unicorn to play with, she didn't know what to do with it. He tried a squeaky toy, which she also didn't know what to do with and found overwhelming after a few squeaks. She took Kanaka's treats, but not immediately and not in the way a dog who understands the concept of treats would.

But throughout the video, the stray pup responded to Kanaka's affection and love by melting right into it. She even wanted to sit in his lap toward the end, but didn't seem to know how. Kanaka scooped her up, despite the foul smell her skin condition created, and it's clear that this pupper just loves being loved.

Watch:

It's hard for animals with obvious health issues, especially something as visible as a skin condition that makes them look and smell bad, to attract people looking to adopt. But by taking half an hour to get to know her, Kanaka helped us all look past all that and see Katie's sweet spirit shine through.

So many people fell in head over heels for Katie through this video:

"OMG, The person who gets her will have the best dog as she is so obviously starved for affection and so willing to give it back ten fold."

"That dog doesn't have an aggressive bone in her body. she was instantly ready for you to pet her."

"Her little tail wag broke my heart for what’s she’s been through but also lifted my spirits that she has a strength to survive and become a loved family member."

"It's shocking how neglected she looks but her desire to be loved is so strong. She's going to bring such joy to her forever home."

"I consider myself somewhat of a tough guy.... I'm from the streets, had a crazy hard life, i did 9 yrs in prison, seen it all, done it all and ain't scared of nothing... I'm telling you that because in spite all that, when i see videos like this, i start crying like a 5 yr old girl...Goes to show you that what life has done to them, we can relate, and we see it in animals that have been hurt by others and part if me wants to knock out someone that would hurt a dog or kitty like that. Animals bring out the love and compassion we've forgotten because we know they're teaching us what we definitely need to learn. What is truly considered, unconditional love...."

Rocky Kanaka's work with dogs is both inspiring and informative, and he's succeeded in helping so many dogs find forever homes instead of languishing in shelters because they don't make the best first impression. Not long after this video aired, Katie was rescued and will hopefully continue to get the tender care and kindness she deserves.

Follow Katie's journey on Kanaka's website here. You can also follow Rocky Kanaka's channels on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.

What a sweet and simple idea.

As far as handmade Mother’s Day gifts go, this might be the sweetest idea ever.

To celebrate mom’s first Mother’s Day ever, a newborn named Olivia and her Golden Retriever Lady created a painting using blackberries for “ink.”

A video posted to their TikTok account @ladyandtheblues shows dad grinding up the blackberries in a granite mortar before dipping Olivia’s tiny hand and Lady’s paw into the bowl and pressing them onto paper.

He then embellished the image with hand painted flowers, along with artfully writing Olivia and Lady’s name.

He even dressed the two in perfectly matching purple outfits. Nice one dad.

As for the inspiration behind the blackberry ink, credit apparently belongs to Olivia, who gave dad the idea “when she stained her dress” eating them.

Still, folks in the comments section rightfully praised dad for this amazingly thoughtful and creative gift.

“This is the best and cutest Mother’s day gift,” one viewer wrote.

“The way I would cry,” wrote another.

Watch for yourself. As the caption suggests, it is “berry cute indeed.”

@ladyandtheblues Berry cute, yes🥹🫐? Olivia gave me this idea when she stained her dress eating blackberries🐶💜👶🏻 #babyanddog #mothersdaygift #sisters #dogsofttiktok ♬ Somewhere only we know cover - Sofía

The overwhelmingly positive response to this video show not that simple, yet sentimental gifts can make a huge impact—particularly for new moms who might want a memento of this fresh chapter.

And this idea is so easy to customize. Instead of blackberries, you could use a fruit ink or non toxic pain in mom’s favorite color, or buy jewelry with both baby and pup’s birthstones in it. Even a nicely framed photo is a nice touch.

But please, if you can, arrange matching outfits for the day. Cause how freaking adorable is that?

Pop Culture

Cool video reveals why people in old movies talked funny

This speech pattern isn’t completely British or completely American.

Photo from YouTube video.

What’s up with the funny talk?

There's a distinct accent that American actors and broadcasters used in the early days of radio and in pre-World War II movies. It's most obvious in old newsreel footage where the announcer speaks in a high-pitched tone, omits his "Rs" at the end of words, and sounds like a New Yorker who just returned from a summer holiday with the British royal family.

This speaking style is also heard in the speeches of Franklin D. Roosevelt and just about any performance by Orson Welles. But today, this accent is all but nonexistent, prompting the question: Did Americans speak differently before the advent of television?


The video below, "Why Do People in Old Movies Talk Weird?," reveals the secret of this distinct inflection known as the Mid-Atlantic accent and why it was so prominent in early 20th-century American media.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17