Ready to wash hands of Drunk Mother.
I am 27. My mother is an alcoholic. Shes struggled with alcoholism her whole life. Until 2 years ago she was functioning and held a steady job - Until she spiraled out of control after ending a 12 year relationship. She let her two alcoholic brothers move in with her and things got worse. She was arrested several times for being drunk and disorderly. She got them to leave but now has an alcoholic, mentally abusive boyfriend living with her.
She recently told me that she needs to get out of the situation shes in. She is working toward finishing her probation requirements - but has made no mention of getting sober. When I tell her that her current situation is a direct result of drinking - she makes other excuses as to why she lost her job and has hit (what I think to be) rock bottom. She does agree that drinking doesn't make things better.
She lives out of state and I thought if she were closer that I could help get her into a rehab. Maybe she'd need to stay with me for a few weeks- but that she'd at least be away from the abusive guy and could focus on getting sober.
Well- she called me drunk again last night and has shattered my hopes of anything positive happening if I moving her closer to me to help her out. Where do I draw the line? I know I need to distance myself from her and her problems and I do- but as soon as she ropes me back in she quickly leaves me disappointed.
How have you dealt with alcoholic parents in your life? Does it EVER end while they are still alive? Has anyone actually cut them out entirely?
Last edited by MelissaH; 04-03-2012 at 02:12 PM.
Melissa, I'm so sorry to hear of your struggle.
Without knowing anything other than what you wrote here, here is my opinion:
You won't be able to do anything to get your mother to quit drinking. The only thing you can do is not rescue her from her pain. If she has not stated her wish and intent to get sober, then you should not bring her to live with you. She'll make your life hell and will resent you for wanting her to be sober. Until she makes a firm decision to change (based on the appropriate level of pain), there is nothing you can do. Even if you were able to "get her into" a rehab, it will be time and money wasted until the decision is hers.
If I were you I would refuse to talk to her when she calls drunk. I would tell her that you will talk when she's sober. Let her know that you are there to support her, but only if she admits that the alcohol use is out of control.
Tough love. Something a child should not have to deal with.
Big hugs to you!
Thank you for your kind words. I know in my head what I should do, its my heart that doesn't always make it easy.
Die hard recovery fanatic
I'm really glad you're here, and I can totally relate to how you're feeling right now. My mom was an alcoholic for 20 years. She started drinking when my dad died, and a lot of times I wished she'd found someone to spend her time with, but she never did. You know how they say an alcoholic stops maturing at the age they start drinking? It was kind of like that for Mom... she never let my dad go, and as soon as she picked up that bottle, she stopped living. I am thankful that she never hooked up with someone abusive like your mom did. It's hell enough to watch your mother self-destruct, not to mention her having someone help her along.
I have to tell you, the only person that can judge where your mother's "rock bottom" is, is your mother. You may THINK, "Wow, she can't go any lower than this, this is it," but she has to make the decision for herself. My mom developed heart and kidney failure after being diagnosed with diabetes, underwent quadruple bypass on her heart, had two toes amputated, lost her job, wrecked her car several times, and spent half a winter without heat. I always thought, "Ok, NOW she'll see what's happening to her." Sometimes she'd stop drinking for a few days or slow down, but in the end, she still went back to the bottle.
I did cut my mom out of my life for a while. I had told my mom several times that I didn't like that she drank, begged her to stop, screamed, yelled, cried, all of it... She didn't drive much so I told her I was fine with helping her out as long as it wasn't for alcohol. One day, I asked my mom if she wanted to spend the day visiting antique shops with me. She went along, but the whole time she acted like she wasn't really into it. Halfway through the stores she would say she wanted to go back to the car and wait until I was done. At the end of the day, she asked if we could stop at the store so she could get some pop. She came back out with a brown paper bag, and as soon as she got to the car, put it in the back seat, tucked deep into her tote bag. Then she wanted to stop at the dollar store to pick up something else she needed. While she was in there, I looked in the paper bag (like I didn't already know what was in it), and there was a fifth of Southern Comfort. I was SO pissed, I could hardly talk to her for the rest of the ride, and I carried it around with me for months. One day, I finally decided I had to tell her. I couldn't bring myself to do a face-to-face confrontation. I wrote her a letter and told her how disappointed I was that I tried to have a mother/daughter day with her and she was preoccupied the whole day, and then she weaseled her way to getting alcohol. Twenty-eight years of anger, resentment, hurt and a sad little girl wanting her mommy went into that 7-page letter. I didn't hear from her again for 4 months. When we did talk again, all that was ever said about that letter was a snide, biting comment or two here and there that she'd make about something I said. I didn't have the guts to throw the ball back in her court, or walk away, because I was pregnant for my daughter, and more than anything I wanted my mom to be around for that. I swallowed it all, forgave her without even realizing it, because I had a new focus in life. My mom passed away when my little girl was nearly 3 weeks old. I did have a lot of guilt about writing that letter, and I had a lot of people tell me that I needed to do it, and that she needed to hear it. It took me a long time to actually believe that. Now, the only thing I wish I'd done differently is to sit her down and talk out all of the things I brought up in that letter, no matter how hard it was. Even though we were talking again, there was a big space between us that never got bridged. So I guess my whole point in this story is for you to make sure, if you decide to cut your mom out of your life, that that is what you want. I totally understand how you feel, but there are boundaries that you can set without losing your mom completely. You just have to stick to them. That's the hard part.
Don't let your mom calling you drunk last night shatter your hope. Alcoholics/addicts will normally fall several times before they finally make that decision that it will NOT happen again. Try to have compassion for your mom. Trust me, I know it is hard, especially when she calls you up drunk or refuses to change her situation! The saying, "You never know how someone else feels until you walk a mile in their shoes" could be applied here. I agree 100% with Sue that forcing someone into a rehab is a bad idea. On the other hand, I know how much it sucks to watch your mom suffer. In my opinion, I think you need to be honest with her about how you feel, and what you are and are not willing to do. I imagine you feel a lot like I did - I felt like I was the responsible, mother-like role, and she was the child a lot of times. Even children have to deal with the consequences of their actions, though.
I highly recommend finding an Al-Anon meeting in your area. I went for a while and got a whole lot out of it. The things they teach you can be applied to any aspect of life. They won't tell you how to get her to stop drinking, but they will give you tools to keep the focus on yourself and where to draw the line with your mom. And they will all know what you're going through, which sometimes means the most.
Good luck, Melissa, and I hope you come back and let us know how you're doing. Feel free to message me anytime if you want or need!