“In a way, I have lost my dad”

Name: Sanna Kajaskero
Age: 24 years
Relationship with alcohol: Has an alcohol-dependent dad and is herself a teetotaller.

Sanna Kajaskero. Photo: Annika af Klercker

“For as long as I can remember, my dad has spent Friday nights drinking beer until he falls asleep on the sofa. When he was drinking, he would get annoying, repeat sad stories about his own life or mean things about others. I couldn’t bring friends home. The whole family was ashamed, and we still don’t talk about my dad’s drinking with family or friends.

My dad’s drinking problem got worse when I was seventeen years old and he and my mum got divorced. At first, he was sad, and then he started seeing a woman who also had a dependence problem. Both of them manage to do their jobs tolerably, but I have the impression that they drink more or less the whole weekend, and during the weekdays too.

I am very angry with my dad that he can’t get his life together, but at the same time, the whole situation is very sad. By going to therapy, I have learned to accept that I can’t help him, no matter how hard I try.

For a period, I didn’t want to see him at all, because I felt bad about how things were. After a little over a year, he contacted me again and wanted to have lunch. Nowadays, we see each other maybe a few times a month, but only during the day in the middle of the week, often at some lunch restaurant. We can have a perfectly good time during these lunches, but we haven’t talked about how I feel about his drinking. I still refuse to see him when he has been drinking.

He is not a part of my life as a real dad, as a support. In a way, I have lost my dad to alcohol, and I’m still waiting for him to stop drinking and get his life together, for him to realise that he has lost ten years of my brother’s life and mine.

I am a member of Ungdomens nykterhetsförbund [youth temperance society] and have been a teetotaller for a few years now. I feel that alcohol is treacherous, because things that are sold openly give the impression of being much less dangerous than illegal drugs for example. But alcohol also ruins many people’s lives.”

As told to Annika Lund
First published in Swedish in the magazine Medicinsk Vetenskap, no 3, 2015

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