Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Alcoholic Mother

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  • #963641 Reply

    So here’s some back story. Im 21, and currently living with my parents due to quarantining and college. I did not live with my parents from 18, and have only been home since March when the pandemic started.
    My mom never drank as I was growing up, and only began when her aunt(who was like a mother to her died in the summer of 2019). She went on a heavy drinking binge that summer, and it has not stopped. When I wasn’t living at home she was able to hide it, but since march its been a constant conversation. She will clean the house and verbally announce that she has earned her right to drink. She never has one beer, and it is almost always to the point of black out. She is NOT a responsible drinker. She is only able to drink 4 out of 7 days a week because she is out of commission and cannot leave her bedroom the next day, otherwise it is drinking at least 3 nights a week. I don’t know what to do because she is my mother and it is not my job to parent her, and she uses the excuse that I also drink to say what she does is ok. For information, I drink Friday nights only, and do not come home so she does not see me drunk.
    I do not know what to do or what to say to her because she thinks she is the farthest from an alcoholic and it is ruining my relationship with her.
    My question is how do I calmly bring this up, it always turns into a screaming match. What can I say that would really help the situation.

    #963642 Reply

    Unfortunately, you CAN’T help the situation. Conversations with addicts about their addictions don’t really work — unless they are ready to quit. It doesn’t sound like she is.

    What you (and your dad) CAN do is get help for yourself. Al-Anon will help you:
    * Learn how to be happy despite HER problems
    * Sidestep the screaming matches so that you reduce your own pain
    * Stop trying to change her, which will drive you crazy
    * Focus on your own life and well-being
    * Recognize (and refuse) when she tries to rope you into crazytown
    * Recognize her good qualities
    * Avoid any enmeshment she has with your money, friends, love life, school, etc.
    * Avoid any self-blame for her drinking / unhappiness

    Some of that may sound selfish, but you need to grab onto the life preserver, because she WILL take you down. It’s just what addicts do. Good luck!

    #963655 Reply

    I’m a child of an alcoholic and a recovering alcoholic myself. You need to go to Al-anon quickly. They have virtual meetings around the clock. You can’t talk your mom out of drinking. And you shouldn’t devote your energy into trying to convince her she has a problem or cleaning up the messes her drinking causes. You have to detangle yourself from your mom’s addiction. It is possible to have a loving relationship with her despite her current struggle, Al-anon will show you how. If you go to a meeting and don’t like it or the people there, try another meeting. They are varied and it might take a try or 2 to find one that works for you. If meetings aren’t appealing read books about codependency. That word gets thrown around a lot, but people don’t usually know the true definition. Codependent No More is one that I know of, but haven’t read. Good luck. I know how painful this situation can be

    #963658 Reply

    Listen to the advice above. You can’t force a person with substance use disorder to stop using, and the important things are to keep yourself well, not get caught in her web of addiction, and keep moving on with your life. Start attending Al Anon. A few sessions with a drug and alcohol therapist or counselor is also an option – they’ll help you come up with a plan. Most rehabs have family programs as well, and you could look into attending a local program. They teach you how to not become “addicted to the person with the addiction”, set boundaries, and live a healthy life regardless of what the person with the addiction chooses to do.

    #963666 Reply

    I just looked into that Al-Anon and it seems like exactly the resource I need right now. thank you for the recommendation and the kinds words.

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