'How I lost my dad to alcohol addiction'

Charlotte at home in Cambridge

When Charlotte's dad was taken to hospital he couldn't open his mouth any more.

His face was paralysed and his heart and liver had become enlarged after years of drinking far too much alcohol.

Then one by one, his internal organs shut down. He died just before Christmas last year, aged 59.

But Charlotte, 27, tells Newsbeat she feels like she lost him to alcohol addiction years ago.

"In your teenage years you become more aware of your parents' behaviour," she says.

"I'd realise that finding bottles of wine hidden behind the sofa isn't normal. Finding dad passed out in front of the television at two o'clock in the morning isn't normal."

I'd realise that finding bottles of wine hidden behind the sofa isn't normal

Hiding it

Charlotte was about 15 when she realised her dad, Iain Hayman, was having problems with alcohol.

"The older I got the more I realised his relationship with alcohol was incredibly unhealthy because he was hiding it. He'd lie to mum and say, 'I haven't had a drink today' and you'd think, 'I saw you earlier. Yes you did.'

"We never knew how much he was drinking. It started off with a bottle of wine a night and then it would go up to three or four.

"Every time you find a bottle of wine you struggle with 'Do I dob him in and cause an argument or do I lie to my mum?'

"The more you tidied, the more you found out about dad."

Charlotte and her sister, Kirsty, with Iain
Image caption Charlotte and her sister, Kirsty, with Iain

'It's quite an embarrassing illness'

Charlotte explains how her father was effectively "living two lives".

"I'd come home from school and he'd be asleep in bed. He'd be really down," she says.

"It was a slow deterioration. Every time he felt positive you really wanted to get behind him and support him, which is what he needed..

I'll have days when I remember the nice things, and then there are days when I have the horrible memories

"But the more it happened and the more he failed, it became difficult to put that aside.

"He was living two lives because until I was 18 it didn't really come out that he was an alcoholic

"He hid very well that he wasn't paying the mortgage [on our house].

"It came out that we were really close to losing the house. We had bailiffs knocking on the door.

"I was working in the village pub and you'd often be told stories like 'Charlotte, I saw your dad passed out on the path and I almost tripped over him.'

"It's quite an embarrassing illness for your parent to have because they lose their inhibitions and don't care what people think of them."

Daddy's girl

"I was a proper daddy's girl. We were very close.

Your teenage years are difficult enough. To have that as an extra worry, you just don't need it.

"I have so many nice memories of him. I'll have days when I remember the nice things, and then there are days when I have the horrible memories and I think of him drunk, and I think of him not able to stop for us.

"It's a mixed bag of emotions because you have the anger that he did this to himself."

Role reversal

"It was a role reversal because you end up looking out for him and making sure he gets ready for the day. And then always worrying about what he was doing.

"Your teenage years are difficult enough. To have that as an extra worry, you just don't need it.

"You should be able to rely on your parents to help you and support you, and it just wasn't there [from him]. Emotionally it's very difficult."

Charlotte's dad
Image caption Charlotte says her dad was a 'kind, caring' man

I distanced myself from him

After years of struggling with the effects of Iain's addiction, Charlotte's mum decided she couldn't take any more. She asked him to move out of their home last year.

Sadly, that's when his drinking increased. He'd lost his job and even began stealing alcohol.

"In the last year I distanced myself from him because I found it too difficult. You really wanted to get behind him and support him, but the more he failed [to stop drinking] it became difficult to put that aside.

"He was in a bad way again, he was out of breath. And then he ended up fainting, got an ambulance to the hospital, and then he never came out.

"He couldn't even talk for the last three weeks of his life.

"You have this anger that he's done this to himself. But we all just had to put it to one side and we just had to be forgiving.

"Now we can grieve the man we lost when I was a teenager."

Links to help and advice

LINKS TO ADVICE

You can get advice about alcohol on these BBC Advice pages.

Support groups and helplines are offered by a number of organisations in the UK including Al-Anon (linked to the Alcoholics Anonymous organisation) and DrugFam.

The National Association for Children of Alcoholics and Children of Addicted Parents groups can also offer support and advice.

For more stories like this one you can now download the BBC Newsbeat app straight to your device. For iPhone go here. For Android go here.