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Daughter Of An Alcoholic Mother

*I apologize for the length of this post*

I'm just days shy of 22, which means it's been about 13-14 years (that I know of) that my mother has been struggling with her alcoholism.

I was about 8-9, when I first noticed things weren't "right" at home. I would open cupboards or closets and find empty beer cans. I would lose something under the couch, and when I'd go to reach for it, I'd find more beer cans. I knew something wasn't right with it all, but at the same time I didn't thing it was "wrong."

Time went on, things got worse, but it all happened so "quietly," if you will. We thought things would get better on their own (how foolish). It all became such a normal thing for us, that we didn't realize the severity in it. I practically had to raise my brother because mom was always "too tired" after work and dad worked a lot. It all progressed so slowly, (or so we thought) and before we know it, it was at it's worse, (once again, so we thought).

When I was about 14, I opened the spice cupboard. To my surprise, I found 13 pint size vodka bottles. I didn't know what to do or to say. I remember immediately bursting into tears because I knew that her alcoholism was much worse than we suspected. I decided to wait for my father to come home from work and I told him. I remember my dad and I talking to her about it, while my brother played video games upstairs. I couldn't even tell you what was even said in the conversation because over the years, they all blend together. You can only have the same conversation a billion times.

Fast forward to 2011. 3 days after my brothers 18th birthday, my mother told me her and my father were separating, and would be divorcing soon after. This was no news to us. They rarely got along and never did anything together. Everything was a fight. The alcoholism took it's toll on their relationship and there was no chance fixing it. A short time after my father moved out, he started dating a woman, (who he is still currently with). My brother and I didn't know how to react, and especially didn't know how to tell my mother. We both agreed that it wasn't our job to tell her and that our father could be the adult and tell her. He owed her that at least. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way. One of my brothers friends, (who ironically is the daughter of my dads girlfriend), was the one to accidentally spill the beans to my mother about my fathers new girlfriend. My mom was a mess. She soon quit her job in town and decided to move in with her parents 45 minutes away. With both parents gone, my brother and I had the house to ourselves for about a month, until we were kicked out by the landlord and were forced to move in with our aunt and uncle.

Their separation became so ugly after my mom learned about my dad's girlfriend. My brother and I were instantly the messenger, we had to listen to them argue when they saw each other had to talk on the phone, and they both talked so negative about each other to us. It was terrible and unfortunately, it's still ugly, not as bad as it used to be, since they don't speak anymore, but it's still terrible. My brother had to have two graduation parties, which I think broke his heart, but he knew that is was impossible to have my parents plan something together, let alone be in the same room together.

Late August 2011 slowly rolled around and I couldn't be happier. My brother was going to college, so I decided to finally go to. I didn't go to college as soon as I graduated. I didn't feel like I was ready and I didn't want my brother to be home alone. That all being said, I was moving 4 hours away to go to college and was happy to finally do something for myself. I knew there was nothing I could do for my mom anymore. Her drinking progressed so much that I couldn't even carry on a conversation with her.

I was home for the weekend to celebrate the birthday of one of my best friends. I was just about to leave for dinner when I received a phone call from my grandmother in a panic. She told me my mom was being taken to the hospital by ambulance. She said my mother began seizing at their house. I was soon at the hospital and I had no idea what to expect. But at the same time I knew exactly what to expect. Just as I suspected, it was a grand mal seizure.

Six weeks later, I was home again. It was Thanksgiving weekend. That Sunday, I was packing my things to go back home, and once again, I received a phone call from my grandma, in a panic. Mom seized again. My cousin saw it. It was his 18th birthday. If he didn't act right away and take charge, my mother would no longer be here. We were once again at the hospital, but this time it was different. My mother would not be returning home with us. She was admitted into BHU - detox, through court order. (With her court order, she had to stay sober for 6 months) They say the average time in detox is 3 days. She was there 8 days.

I went back to school that night, but I couldn't focus on anything. I came home that Wednesday. My brother and I went to visit her everyday. I don't know if that's a good thing, or a bad thing. She was so out of it. She didn't know who we were, she didn't make sense, she constantly asked us to help her escape. This was extremely hard. Honestly, probably the hardest part of her alcoholism. Her alcoholism caused us embarrassment, financial struggles, & we had so many arguments, even with all of that, seeing her like this, was the worst. After 8 days, she was allowed to go home.

My grandparents made sure there was no alcohol in their home. My mother would go to my uncles house and use his computer, because it had a better printer, she claimed. One night she was there and my aunt and uncle went to bed. My aunt woke up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and noticed the light on in their computer room. She found my mom passed out in the computer chair. This violated my mothers court order, and off to detox she went again. This time she was there for three days, but she wasn't allowed to go home. She had to go to an "in-between house." An in-between house is a home for addicts when they are on their way to rehab, but there are no openings. So they go here. My mom was there for 2-3 weeks. A court date, a missed Christmas, & a new year later, my mom was finally in a rehab center.

While she was in rehab, she was clear headed, she laughed, she seemed genuinely happy. It was the closest that we've ever been in my whole life. I finally felt that I had a mom. I never got to have that growing up and I finally had that bond that I've been waiting for.

Which brings us to roughly today. My mom has been out of rehab for nearly 7 months. She has drank since she has been out, numerous times. She has never come out right and told anyone about it. We have just caught her with bottles and she finally confesses. She claims she's sober, but I can tell she's not.

I can feel myself pushing away from her because I'm so afraid of getting hurt by her. I know I can't change if she drinks or not, but I don't think I can handle losing my mom again. I know if she drinks and then stops, she has a very high chances of having another grand mal seizure, and has a very low chance of surviving it.

I know I can't cut her out of my life because I suspect her drinking again. I just don't know how to deal with it anymore. Up until know, I have always felt like I can do this. And now, I don't know if I can.
birdy90 birdy90 22-25, F 3 Responses Sep 22, 2012

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You don't have to cut her out of your life, but you don't have to allow to ruin yours either. My mother was an alcoholic as well and managed to make my life very difficult: continuous verbal abuse, accusations, such as 'You are the most selfish person I ever met in my life', constant meddling in what I was doing, ruining my friendships and relationships. For a while I though she was right, that I really was a selfish person, I felt like a lowlife, didn't really have anybody to talk to (I was too embarrassed), websites like this didn't exist, so I carried this burden all myself. Meanwhile, I had a job that allowed me to travel a lot and I noticed that when I was away from her, like in another town, where she couldn't hurt me, I was not only more relaxed, but was actually being able to be myself. Eventually I moved away, something I never regretted. We speak every week , she's my mother after all, but I have my very own life, of which she is not a part and she cannot hurt me anymore. My personal advice would be to put some geographical distance between the two of you: this would allow you to worry about yourself first and would probably eradicate the guilt you feel for her drinking. It's not a matter of assigning blame: it is a disease and you are not to blame for a disease. You are intelligent: you'll sort this out. Good luck!

Thank you for sharing about your mother. There is a strange sort of comfort knowing that others go through it, even though it hurts the people involved...if that makes any sense. I'm very happy to hear that you and your mother still speak, even though she is not a part of your whole entire life. I hope I can too have something similar with my mother. Thank you for sharing! :)

Lots of people go through it, but they don't talk about it because of shame, cultural condition or whatever. I grew up with the conviction that a 'mother' was something sacred and that I was 'bad' for not liking my mother. Truth is that a lot of mothers do more damage to their children than anybody else, as they have more ammunition. Of course you can do it, but it will take some time. Take care.

I kind of understand how you feel, I'm 18 and my mother has drunk my whole life and last year she had 2 seizures caused by alcohol withdrawal. I know it's difficult and I'm afraid I am not certain of what to do either, but you should try to help yourself. There are groups you can talk to or perhaps even a close friend or family you can talk to about it. Other than that, it is important (if you haven't already) to learn the protocol of what to do if she has another seizure (get her on her side, etc.).
Sorry to hear about your situation, but I hope it gets better :(
Just don't let her mistakes become yours!
Good luck with everything.

Thank you for reading. I'm very sorry to hear about your mother. It is difficult to watch your mother drink your whole life. And the seizures don't make anything easier. There are so many emotions that take place. For me, it was mostly sadness and anger...mostly anger. I was so upset with her. I'd constantly think, "how could she do this to our family?" "WHY would she do this to our family?" "how could she do this to herself?" "WHY would she do this to herself?" After my mothers two seizures, I finally realized the severity of the disease. (All of this I'm sure you can relate to.)

I am so thankful that there are groups for the family members of an alcoholic. I personally have not been to an Al Anon meeting...yet. I have trouble speaking in front of groups...no matter how big or small. So for now, I'm using an online Al Anon group. Eventually, I will get to a physical meeting.

I hope your situation gets better as well. I'd be very interesting in hearing your story if you're ever up to it. If so, add me as a friend on here, or I can give you my personal e-mail.

Your story brought me to tears... my story is eerily similar. My mom started drinking again...is upset. It is chaos. I know what you mean about shutting down emotionally to spare yourself from potential pain. Thank you for sharing. Makes me feel less alone tonight.

Thank you for reading my story. I apologize that it took so long to reply. I'm also very sorry to hear that your mother is drinking again. I can relate that's for sure. Sometimes it is just easier to shut down emotionally than to get hurt or let down time and time again. My moms sister once asked me if I was "made of stone" because I had no emotional reaction to the things happening with my mother. I think maybe people can probably relate to this.

When you're watching a parent or loved one go through something like this, it is so easy to feel alone. It can be embarrassing to talk about with friends, or at meetings. But in reality, you're not alone. There are so many other people going through it too. Although that may not be a lot of comfort, but there is always that option to contact them, probably through the internet...and share stories, emotions, experiences, etc. If you are ever feeling lonely, feel free to contact me on here. I'm more than willing to listen.