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My mum is an alcoholic

(20 Posts)
artlessflirt Sat 27-Aug-16 22:30:35

I know there's a similar thread knocking about but need a place to vent tonight.

My mum has been an alcoholic for as long as I remember. She's high functioning, in as much as she doesn't have a drink until an 'acceptable' time of day. So if she's at work she won't drink until after 4pm. But when she gets 'on it' she hits it hard and will pretty much demolish a bottle of vodka in an evening.

When she is sober she is the most beautiful, generous, loving person. When she is drunk she becomes selfish, argumentative, bordering on violent and abusive. It's a Jekyll and Hyde situation.

When she is drunk everyone around her is wrong. My dad bears the brunt of it, but if he's not there and I am, it will be me. There is always a reason or an excuse why she is unhappy and drinks and it usually boils down to us.

I live about 50 minutes drive away from DPs and have a DD of nearly 10 months. Because my OH works most weekends I like to go and visit. I know my mum gets lonely, especially as my dad goes out and plays golf or watches the football. But she always ruins lovely days with me and DD by getting drunk. I try and distract her, or plan activities where she can't drink, but it just mean she hits it twice as hard when she gets the opportunity.

I love her but I'm just losing patience. This has gone on for too long and it's emotionally draining. I hate who she becomes when she's drunk. She's obnoxious and rude and embarrassing. But she's my mum and I love her and I don't know how to help her.

OP’s posts: |
ImperialBlether Sat 27-Aug-16 22:33:07

Have you ever talked to her about it?

Lupinlady5 Sat 27-Aug-16 22:35:22

I really feel for you. Hard as it is, it isn't your job to sort this out. You can't control it.

To be honest, I would tell her you aren't willing to see her when she's been drinking. If you go over and she's drinking, leave.

Jonso Sat 27-Aug-16 22:35:40

Have you ever approached her about it? I imagine she's aware that she's too dependent on alcohol. Or ask to wait to have drink until the day out with you and dd is over ?

pontificationcentral Sat 27-Aug-16 22:37:02

You can only support her if she decides she wants to change. Otherwise you are stuck deciding whether to cut down your visits (probably causing her to drink more in the process and you to feel guiltier) or to come up with a compromise whereby you continue to visit, but every time she hits the bottle, you load up dd and go home, no arguments, no discussion, just factually stating 'I don't want to be here when you are drinking' and leaving.

It's impossible for you to help her - she has to want to do it herself.

Does she drink openly or secretively? Is her drinking the reason your dad goes out so often?

artlessflirt Sat 27-Aug-16 22:40:01

Many, many times.

I've written letters to her that she's read whilst sober, we have had countless conversations and blazing rows, especially when I was in my teens.

I struggled terribly with her drinking when I was younger, as well as with other things, and suffered from depression. I don't blame her for the way I felt but it certainly didn't help.

She will not, or cannot, take responsibility for her addiction. It is my dad's fault she drinks because he cheated on her 20 years ago, or its my fault because I was depressed, or my sisters fault because she was out celebrating the end of her exams with her friends, or because her mum died just after I was born.

I know it has to come from her to make the change, but I feel so, so, so helpless and resent the fact that my DD and sister's little boy will grow up knowing her to be like that.

OP’s posts: |
artlessflirt Sat 27-Aug-16 22:44:42

Ponti, I'd imaging it's half the reason he goes out, which then becomes part of a vicious circle as she feels abandoned and so will drink more.

If me and OH visit we tend to leave just before she tips over the edge and turns nasty. But often OH will drop me off for the weekend and so me and DD have no choice but to stay. She's a fantastic grandmother when sober.

I do feel guilty at thought of being so blunt with her about it. I feel if I said it to her face it might cause her to do more damage rather than go the other way. She has been hospitalised several times due to drinking or drinking related injuries and it's made no difference.

OP’s posts: |
Jonso Sat 27-Aug-16 22:59:58

Sounds tough, artless, especially as what shines through the most is your utter loyalty and love for your sober mum.

whattimestea Sat 27-Aug-16 23:27:48

My DM is an alcoholic too. A functioning one as is yours artless. My story is very similar to yours, however she walked out on her marriage as my DF gave her an ultimatum - him or alcohol. He lost unfortunately! We were all lower in the pecking order to alcohol where she was concerned. I could fill a hundred posts talking about her alcohol abuse. Its' impact on me growing up, on me as an adult and how it's royally screwed up my DM's past, present and future too. I feel that once I started I wouldn't be able to stop!

Your love for your dm shines through in your post though. Mine for my dm is tainted with our past and I couldn't speak of mine with the affection you do for yours. Your mum is very lucky to have you.

I'm sorry I haven't been able to offer much advice but I just wanted to post so that you know that in some way you're understood and I can empathise with your situation.

pontificationcentral Sun 28-Aug-16 01:23:44

She sounds very like my lovely friend, whose dh is still with her but her dd has decided she can't live at home at present.
I think I would just put the rules in place as above - make it clear that the minute she picks up a glass, you leave with dd. That way you can enjoy sober mum/ grandma but are clear that you do not condone her drinking and will not enable her. Anything she does as a result is her own decision. It's so hard, but you do have to let that aspect go.
Can you talk to your dad about it? I know my friend's dh is finding it extraordinarily hard.

artlessflirt Sun 28-Aug-16 10:05:32

Thank you for all of your lovely posts.

I find it extremely hard to reconcile the person she is sober with the person she is drunk.

I have some terrible memories. My dads and her relationship has been turbulent because of the drinking, peppered with violence on both sides. I feel very resentful of it and it makes me so angry. But the thought of going NC is so difficult.

I moved away from the family home to the other side of the country to go to university, and it was the best thing I ever did. But I worry that if I gave her an ultimatum, she would become even worse, and I'd feel it was all on my shoulders.

I've spoken to my dad about it, and I know he finds it difficult, too - probably more so than anyone else in the family. He bears the brunt of 90% of her anger and vitriol and I think he feels the same about leaving. If he did I am confident he would have a fantastic, fulfilled life, but hers would be very different.

Thank you all for lending an ear for this. It's something I struggle with terribly.

OP’s posts: |
whattimestea Sun 28-Aug-16 10:29:14

I feel that regardless of whether you give an ultimatum to your dm that you have little to no control or influence over the path her alcoholism takes and the severity of it. My own dm didn't deteriorate once I left home or her marriage broke down. All that meant was she was free to drink just as much as she had always done - just without any grief or hassle from anyone. She still continued to see the side of her family which enabled her drinking though.

I'm not NC with my DM. Like you and regardless of how angry, sad and I suppose bitter her alcoholism has made me and to some extent ruined any chance of a normal relationship we could've had, I just feel that to sever contact completely would make me feel worse. What we do have is limited contact with one another. And a pretence of a relationship which is normal, when it's anything but.

pontificationcentral Sun 28-Aug-16 15:50:57

That's exactly the conundrum - and why so many families and friends of alcoholics struggle with guilt and have their own lives affected. You do have to be able to put some sort of line in place in order to protect you and yours, and come to the point where you release yourself of any guilt and responsibility for what happens on the other side of that line. And it's so hard, because you (we) only want to help.
My friend has more than one suicide attempt under her belt, many hospitalisations. She is the most wonderful kind and generous person sober, and I was lucky enough to meet her when she was actually dry for three years. Addiction is a bitch. Drunk she is vindictive, abusive, and has seriously disordered thinking. I've had to learn to dissociate at these points.

what - we are hoping that her dd can come to that sort of acceptance.

Art, is there any way you can avoid OH dropping you off? You do need to be able to be the one in control of whether you stay or go - is OH aware that this is putting you in a difficult position and potentially harming dd? Would your ddad be able to give you a ride if you chose to leave and OH was not there?

Whatever she does if you leave is her decision entirely. Your decision is to leave if she drinks. Whatever she does beyond that is her decision entirely. I will say that since my friend's dd left the house, she has not made a suicide attempt. She has threatened, and she has disappeared for a night here and there to drink in a hotel on her own. Having to support the dd through the decision to leave knowing that her mum might downward spiral is obviously hard - but in the same way that she is not responsible for the actions of her mother, you are not responsible for the actions of yours, whatever her reaction to your putting a line in place. My lovely friend is currently trying every emotional blackmail in the book to get her dd home. It's awful, but is merely underlining to the dd that this is not a person she can live with currently.

pontificationcentral Sun 28-Aug-16 15:54:33

<I should add- she isn't NC. She sees her mum a few times a week and stayed for a few nights in the summer. But mum is now threatening to withdraw funds for university or move away if the dd doesn't return home to live. It has actually crossed my mind that she is now deliberately - or perhaps unconsciously - sabotaging the relationship so that the dd does NOT return home...>

whattimestea Sun 28-Aug-16 16:43:48

I outwardly appear to accept it. In so much as I have given up arguing with her. Her health is in absolute pieces through her alcohol abuse. She now has very bad memory issues that are quite possibly alcohol caused. She's a frail and pathetic looking woman who looks and acts 10 years older than she is.

She actually hasn't drunk for around a year now. After an accident she had (whilst drunk), she had a long spell in hospital. She obviously couldn't drink, suffered horrendous withdrawal and had to be medically detoxed. Certain members of my family assume as she's not drinking anymore that we can all come together again and build relationships back up. Sadly I can't forget the woman that my DM was for the last 30 years.

It's utterly horrendous being the child of an alcoholic parent. I don't think I can forgive my mum deep down regardless of how I may seem to come across to her or other people. Your friends daughter may come to her own way of accepting it but deep down you don't ever forget and sometimes you can't forgive either.

pontificationcentral Sun 28-Aug-16 17:02:54

Thanks for sharing what - it really can't be easy and addiction is so selfish. People rarely realize what they are destroying in others as they are so wrapped in up in themselves and their own needs. All you can do is try to protect yourself a little from the damage, and sometimes little or no contact is the only way. It still leaves a hole. sad
This dd is under the same sort of pressure - expected to get back in there and suck it up, and forget the emotional abuse and the years of finding her mum after suicide attempts etc. Everyone is trying to convince her that it's her mum who needs the sympathy as she is the one who is unwell. Telling her she should just get over herself. They weren't on the receiving end of the harm though. The lack of understanding and support for families of alcoholics is a tragedy.

whattimestea Sun 28-Aug-16 17:24:13

I absolutely agree with you. You are conflicted in every aspect of your thought process. And alot of the time people just don't understand. Every angry or negative thought I have about my mum I argue with in my mind as to why I shouldn't feel like that. I hate her, love her, resent her and pity her all at the same time! I have no idea what my mum is like sober or unaffected by alcohol. I don't know who she is as a person, alcohol stole her from me. We could have been so close OR we could have clashed over everything and rarely see each other. I just never got the chance to find out, and it's all too late now. This is the newest torment I battle with. My anger and sadness at what I had to deal with growing up is being overtaken by this thinking now. Probably due to her failing health I am realising that this is as good as my relationship with my DM is going to get. It's pathetic really, and such a waste. And it didn't have to be like this.

Tatlerer Mon 29-Aug-16 19:55:10

Hello ladies, can I join you? I posted about my mum on Friday. I too have a very odd relationship with my mum. I still love her but can't forgive her for basically fucking up since I was 13. Sorry not to post more this evening and to name check you all. I'm on my phone and it's always hard!!

artlessflirt Mon 29-Aug-16 22:33:35

Ah, it's so sad the some of you are experiencing similar, yet it's nice to have people around who understand.

I'm sure my OH just thinks I'm a glutton for punishment, rather than understanding how complex the emotions are!

OP’s posts: |
Theonlywayis Tue 06-Sep-16 09:56:37

I lost my mum to end stage liver disease when I was 28 and she was 48. I can really empathise with everything you've said. I still struggle with guilt that I could have done more to help her but anger that she should have helped herself. There really isn't anything you can do except try and keep things as sane as possible for yourself and your Dd.

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