Living With An Alcoholic Mother For 15 Years

My mother is a wonderful person, she is caring, fun, incredibly loving and smart. However when she is drinking, I feel like I am the mother to a chatty yet sleepy child.

I constantly try to look back into her life and see where this all came from. As far as I know she had a normal childhood, her parents are happily married for more than 50 years. She has 2 older siblings, one brother and one sister, and 1 younger brother. I think maybe during her childhood she suffered from the "middle child" syndrome, because her older siblings seem to always take on the leader role and her younger brother is a hemophiliac so he was constantly sick as a child. I feel like she was always lacking attention from her parents and that she just never got over it.

There have always been addictions within our family, her cousin died of anorexia in her early 30s, and I feel like even her siblings have addictions.. not poisonous ones such as alcoholism or drug addiction, but more common things such as work addiction.

For pretty much my entire life I have been dealing with her addiction. I was born in the US but my fathers family lived in Canada after immigrating from Italy. After living in the states for a few years and having an abusive relationship, my parents brought me to Canada, thinking that it would help save their marriage. Needless to say, it didn't. My mother and I left Canada and returned to the states when I was 5. She was unable to cope and we ended up in a rehab for mothers and children. I can't recall how many years we stayed there, but when we came out she was back on track and doing well with her life. I remember not seeing her a lot because she now was focusing entirely on work and working out. I was happy, I stayed with my grandparents and saw my mom when she came home every night for a few hours before bed.

Then we moved out of my grandparents house, we were finally on our own, we rented a townhouse and owned a Deli. She was dating, going out with her friends.. she was happy. Then the stress got to her again, after about 4 years at the deli we were forced to close it and she claimed bankruptcy, we were then back with my grandparents except now in the apartments they built in the back of their house. She went back into a rehab and had a rough couple of years and then got herself back on track again. She got a job at a school district as a supervisor and was doing well for 6 years, then everything fell apart again.

In 2005 at the end of my Sophomore year of college I was torn apart because my mother was calling me crying that she couldn't handle it any more and didn't want to live anymore. My school is about 45 minutes away and I don't own a car. I am also a very private person and I don't like to share my personal life with many people, so I didn't want to ask anyone for help or confess my drama filled life to even my closest friends. My aunt, who now despises my mother, came to pick me up from school. I had to miss a few days of my final days of school to come home and reason with my mom and convince her that life is really not as hard as she is making it.

She lost her job at the school district due to money missing that she swears was stolen and she did not take, after that my uncles and aunt have gone completely against her. She owes my grandparents a lot of money between loans for the deli and my schooling that is under my grandmothers name due to my moms bad credit. She is paying them back as fast as they can, but she is a single mother so there is not much left over for her to hand over to them. Now, everyday, because of my uncles and aunts influence my grandmother calls my mother and flips out about money and her drinking.. which is causing her to fall into a deeper depression and want to resort to drinking more.

After 1 year of not working she was actually coping with everything and becoming happier, the only problem was since she was not working and it was summer time I was home and working. I worked 40+ hours a week at Lowe's running my *** off and working harder then I ever thought I could.. and the money that I was making she needed to pay the bills. Therefore, I made around $3,000 that summer and got about $200 out of it to go shopping for clothes and school supplies.

She now has a job at a new school district and as much as I want to be happy for her, I can't help to be bitter and have a complete resentment against her. It seems as though every time I get my hopes up and feel like everything is working out and she is getting better, she falls into the same cycle again and I am let down. It is summer time and she is on vacation and it has been a 3-4 day drinking binge. I beg and plead her to go for help, go back to a rehab, anything but she refuses. She claims that she has been through the process and knows all the steps and that she can do it herself. She calls a couseling center occasionally but it seems as though nothing is working. She went to an AA meeting a few days ago and was happy afterwards, but then I found more boxes of wine and beer cans hidden throughout the house.

I am at my wits end. I am 20 years old and going into my senior year of college and I feel like I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Everytime I see her under the influence I can't help but get so incredibly angry and just yell, then afterwards I feel bad and feel like I am contributing to the fact. When I am at school and away from the house I feel like a different person, I feel a release, I don't have to worry about who is calling and what is going to happen in an hour. But then I stop and think about my mom sitting at home, alone, and I get nervous and worry about how she is and if she is safe from herself. I want to move out and take care of myself, but I know as soon as I do my mom will self-destruct again due to depression.

I just wish I could take all of this away, and clear my mothers mind. I wish she would realize that you can only deal with one thing at a time and if you do then life isn't so hard. I came on this site because I feel like it is a safe way for me to share what is on my mind and everything that is happening, without having to actually say it to anyone and have them thing that my life is a complete mess. When people look at me and my mother they would never think that any of this is happening inside. I hate when people have pity for me because I feel like they are looking down on me and that their lives are so much better. I just need a miracle.

nc510 nc510
18-21, F
6 Responses Jun 28, 2007

I feel bad for you. I am the Mother of a recovering drug addict. Alanon is the only thing that will bring you peace. Once there, you will start to focus on yourself. The program is for you, not for the alcoholic. You will meet people in your same shoes and be able to communicate with them. You can never talk an addict into getting help for an extended period of time. They have to hit rock bottom. Once you learn to let go, your Mother will get better.

My son after 9 years has been drug free for two years. He hit his bottom and realized there was no place to go but up.

I'm in a similar situation. My mom is amazing- when sober. But she drinks and become that I truly, truly hate. She has threatened to take her life on a few occasions, I even have to attend court because of a dispute she and her drunk fiance had when the cops were called. I'm a senior in high- school, and even though I can't wait to get away (though I have no car or money yet) I know I will worry too much about her when I do leave. My sister won't talk to my mom very often, they have a very tense relationship because my sister knows how horrible our mother is when drunk. It's hard to deal with someone like this with little outside help- I wish you all the best, good luck.

My mom gets the same when shes drunk. Its like shes a completely different person, she becomes someone I hate and I let all my anger out on her when shes sober and it hurts me to be so mean but I feel like its such a hard thing to deal with

You sound very intelligent. You are going to do something great with your life and YOU will be fine. I am going through the same thing with my mother, of course the details are different. I know about the roller coaster of thinking she will change and being happy when she's sober. Only to be let down when she's drunk again. My honest and best advice is to move out on your own set boundries for your relationship and do not let her move in with you. I'm living with that mistake now. Love yourself enough to say no!


I know how you're feeling, EPErica. I lived that life for twenty years, but I finally got out. I know you feel this incredible guilt whenever you even think about leaving her, but you need to think about YOURSELF. I'm not saying that you should burn bridges and abandon her, but staying in that toxic environment does you nothing but harm. There's no rule saying that you can't be supportive from your own apartment! Keep in mind that you are not your mother's keeper - you're young, starting your own life, and it's selfish of her to be dragging you down this way.<br />
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Sometimes tough love is the way to go in these situations. My mother tried to guilt me into staying when I told her I was moving out, and granted, things were tense between us for awhile afterward, but eventually she started to realize that she had driven me away. Our relationship has improved a lot because she knows now that my trust and respect have to earned.<br />
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I urge you to take a stand. Don't enable her. She made her bed, and now she has to lie in it. You don't have to be her bedfellow to help her.

It sounds like you are having a very rough time with this. There are support programs for people who have family members with alcohol addiction that you could look into if you are interested. Beyond that, I don't know how to help you. Is your mother unwilling to work over the summer? Perhaps the money you make could go to your grandmother to pay off your student loans rather than to your mother. I hope you can find a way to work everything out.