Zooty Owl's Crafty Blog

Colourful Crochet, Craft, Cooking, and Contemplations

Friday 4 September 2020

The day before my father went to Alcoholics Anonymos

Early January 1982 we went with my mommy to drop my father Jacob Johannes Kruger off at work.  He was a belligerent functional alcoholic. 

The night before had been particularly horrible.  He had been drinking most of the night, throwing stuff and hitting my mom.  For a change I hadn't had a beating (he got my mom pregnant before she was 18 and apparently it was my fault that he was such a failure).  I was just short of fifteen and for what I can remember of those fifteen years mommy and I had been abused every day. 

For the first seven years we lived next door to my beloved grandparents and it was just emotional abuse and fear, having a gun stuck in my face and being told to shut up about what he did to my mom. 

After we moved away the physical abuse started.  He always beat us where no one could see it.

Most of the time he was out of steam when it came to my sister Tania who was five years younger than me.  She has the same selfish nature as our father and loves to play the victim.  I think that is why he left her alone for the most part.  My nature is the exact opposite. 

On the way to Krugersdorp where he was manager at Stern's Jewellers, my sister was as usual whining about something. He stopped the car just by the railway in Wentworth Park.   Got out of the car, went into the bush and cut a branch off a tree.    He always was armed and had a lead pipe and a massive bush knife in the car.  He pulled me out of the car and beat me actross my back, legs and shoulders.  Then made me get back in the car telling me to shut up or he would give me something to tjank about (whine in Afrikaans).

He had beaten me so badly that my skin split open and haematoma started forming ( I have permanent nerve damage in my shoulders, back and legs).   Mom had tried to shield me and he had for the first time hit her where it could be seen splitting her arms open.  

Mom had to take me to my Nanna's doctor as she could not afford the doctors fee because my father drank out all the money.   The doctor phoned my Grandparents.  They came to the rooms.   The doctor phoned my father and told him he had a record of the abuse.   My Oupa went to my father's work and told him if he ever touched me again he would have him jailed, and if he didn't get sober he and my Nanna would have us taken away.  That was the first time my grandparents found out about this as mom and I had hidden it so well.

That night Mon fetched him.  We stayed home and found a place to hide.  He just dropped mom off and went straight to the bar.  

He came home drunk out of his mind after the bar closed.   Having already lost control of his bodily functions he threw his soiled clothes in the passage and started raging around naked.  Hurling glass and pots out of the cupboards looking for more booze.   He was so off his face he drank methylated spirits.  Which he vomited up all over the kitchen.  

I locked myself and my sister in the sitting room which was the only door with a key and we hiid under the furniture.   We could hear him hitting mom with a police belt he called "Sloegem".   His favourite was beating us with the buckle end.

The next day was the first day of my second year of high school.  I patted baby powder over my face to cover up the redness from crying most of the night.   Put on my uniform and went to school as if nothing had happened.

When we got home there was an intervention from Alcoholics Anonymous.  That was the last day he drank.

He got sober.  Got the badges and the pats on the shoulder for beating his addiction.   He got to be the hero.  

The fact that my father had broken me in every way possible was conveniently forgotten.   He remained an emotional abuser and gas lighter.

My grandfather got cancer and died February 1983.

The thing that enrages me the most was that his sanctimonious eldest sister, Kitty, knew about the abuse and did nothing. If my brother abused his family I sure as hell wouldn't turn a blind eye.

The first time I tried to commit suicide  was just after I left school.  I had been interviewing  for a bursary and he told me I was too stupid to get it and would remain a nothing for the rest of my life.  I  have an IQ  of 145 which by no means makes me a genius  but I'm far from stupid.

Luckily  I knew nothing about meds back then and took just enough paracetamol  to make me violently ill.  I had to be hospitalised  for two weeks.

I did get the bursary, came first in my class and got a brilliant job.   I had to work for two years at the company  to repay my bursary.   

I hope this helps give others a voice to speak out and find healing.

Name THEM and shame THEM 


  1. Oh, how terrible. It's amazing you survived that. My heart goes out to you.

  2. I feel for you. My father was also a functioning alcoholic, but no where as bad as your father. He left me alone except for one time when I blamed him for my pregancy when I was 17. I told him that it was his fault because he didn't pay any attention to me as I was growing up. Just mostly got in my mother's face. Did not beat her, but terrorized her. This was mostly on the week ends cause he did not drink during the week.

  3. I too was beaten as a child by an alcoholic father .. so I know what you went thru only I had no mother to help me ... I was the oldest of 4... and it was my grandmother who knew what was going on and said nothing

  4. It always makes me so angry when I hear about child abuse. I am so sorry this happened to you. I hope you are able to heal from this horrible abuse.

  5. Bless you. You have gone through Hell and came out on the other side. No one should have to suffer from the hand of a loved one. And the shame and guilt last long after the abuse. You are a wonderfully talented woman. I'm glad the pills didn't work, as the world needs creative to inspire the rest of us and give us something to do to sooth our souls. Again may God bless you.

  6. I’m worried that I can’t find the right words to write a comment...but by the say token, I can’t NOT write something after reading this post. I read with growing horror as you wrote about your life with such violence. What resilience you have shown despite such a background; such strength of character despite such adversity.

  7. I am so sorry that this ever happened to you or your family. As a social worker/therapist, I work hard to protect such abuse from ever happening. My heart goes out to you. You are amazing. So brave to tell your story and to be a survivor. Says a lot about how strong and resilient you really are. Thank you for sharing. I hope it spurs others on to get the help that is out there. We need to talk about such things and get them into the open so people can get the help they need--both the victims and the abusers. No one should ever have to experience what you and your family did.

  8. I know it took a lot to have to think about your past abuse and write it down, at least I believe it to be painful memories. It's a horrible way to grow up and I am touched by your will to survive it and overcome it.
    It is good to get an alcoholic into AA but it is heartbreaking that what you endured was not addressed properly. I feel that is wrong, he should have been made for face what he did and make ammends. However, I do not feel that it would have made a difference to you after having went through that horror, but it would have been nice if he acknowledged his actions toward you and the rest of the family. At least it would have been something. Thank you for sharing your story.

  9. I am so sorry for what you have been through. The scars remain forever don’t they? I am the sister of an alcoholic, who still drinks. Her 3 kids were raised by their father but there was a time when she saw them regularly, bringing them into a situation where she was often drunk, sometimes impossible to awaken (the kids aged 2, 5 and 8, were sometimes terrified that she had died) and where there was often violence between their mother and her new man. It was only when I threatened their father (who kept letting them go to stay with her) with informing Child Protective Services, that they stopped going. I am sorry that you didn’t have an adult to step in and protect you. Every child should be safe and should live without violence and the constant fear of violence. Thank you for sharing your story. We can all bear witness, we hear you.

  10. Oh Gosh, your post made me cry. I am so sorry that this happened to you. I am at a loss for words. Parents alter their kids lives forever, and like you said, they come out as heroes when they beat their addition. It is good that he recovered but at what cost to your Mom and sister.

  11. OMG..bless your heart, It takes a strong person to survive physical and mental abuse and come out on the other side. There is no excuse for your father's sister..was she thinking out of sight out of mind..Bless you for getting this off of your chest..may God help you heal!

  12. MY heart broke reading this...I grew up with an alcoholic, rageaholic, wife beater of a step father. My mother took the beatings that were meant for me. He didn't touch my step sister cause that was his child and I was the bastard child. Sending light, love, prayers and healing energy your way. You are a warrior goddess!