Jo spoke for us on Friday 24th February at our new venue ‘The Plantation’.
Jo started her very personal story of living with an alcoholic when she was 6 years old. She lived with her Mum, Dad and older Sister. She explained that she only ever remembers her father being a drinker, but it was when she was 6 that his drinking worsened.
The day Jo’s parents lost a child was the beginning of her Dad’s relationship with alcohol. Alcohol became his focus and he became the focus of the family. The drink consumed him and it was his way of coping with what had happened.
Living in an alcoholic home is complex and the environment can be unpredictable, unsafe and confusing for the children. Jo explained about the experience from her point of view, growing up with an absent Dad because he was having a relationship with the bottle.
Jo recalls her Dad sitting in his car and just listening to music whilst drinking, friends would ask why he sat in his car and Jo just covered it up and said he likes listening to music. Everyone in the house knew about the drinking but no one talked about it. That’s what happens in these situations, it’s the ‘Elephant in the room’. Jo’s explained the shame and embarrassment about her Dad’s drinking, he would say and do embarrassing things in front of friends and strangers.
With all the drinking Jo explained how money became an issue over the years because her Dad’s drinking worsened and a lot of the money was going on the alcohol. Jo’s Mum was working part-time as well as being a host to foreign students and a mum. Jo and her sister had to help around the house and do chores which led to them being overly responsible.
Jo’s Dad was a very strict, aggressive and at times scary man and she explained her fear of him. The expectations he set for her sister and her were unachievable. Jo never really learnt what was good enough and was forever being asked by her Dad “When are you going to change”. This had a dramatic effect on Jo’s life as an adult, low self-esteem and self-worth riddled her life.
Unfortunately after years of abuse and hospitalisation, sectioning and illness Jo’s Dad passed about two months before her 21st birthday. It was a bitter sweet pill because he was the only Dad she had and she loved him, but it was a relief at the same time.
Once the period of grief passed Jo got on with her life as did the rest of the family. For years Jo explained of her difficulties creating and maintaining relationships. She would experience disagreements and issues with friends and repetitively picked partners she could rescue.
Soon after her Dad’s death Jo sought help, she knew that in order to have better relationships something had to change. Jo went to her first counselling session and never looked back. It’s over 15 years since that first session and Jo continues her self-development journey. She explained how she invested in various therapy, self-help books, events and training.
Jo qualified as a Master Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner and Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner. You can view more about her and how she helps others on her website: www.johuey.co.uk
For anyone that has lived with an alcoholic and experienced the trauma that it can bring, you aren’t alone. Jo knows this only too well, Al-Anon was one of the biggest changes for Jo and she recommends it to others that want to connect with like-minded people. NACOA is a service available for children of alcoholics and they offer a free helpline 24/7 so that they can call anytime day or night.
You can also follow Jo on her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jolhuey where she focuses on the positive and creating a more fulfilling and calmer life. Change is possible if that’s what you seek.