This patient support community is for loved ones of people who drink and are trying to quit for discussions relating to abuse, behavioral issues, caring for yourself, counseling, divorce and separation, enabling, guilt, and when to get medical help.
I am new to this as you have probabally noticed from the title. I just need a bit of advice on what to do. I am 21 and live at home with my mum. She is a single parent and an alcoholic and has been since I can remember. In recent years she has gotten worse. She was admitted to hospital after having very bad alcohol withdrawel three years ago. She had a seizure and was very ill, shaking, vomitting, paranoia etc. After a few days in hospital and numerous tests, luckily all that was diagnosed was anemia, so she was let out. Counselling was offered but she didnt go. For the next year she stayed off the drink. I thought she would be off it for life and everything was great. I started college the following year and had to move away. I still came home at weekends. This is when the drinking started again. Well she started having a few relapses. last summer I was away for three months in a different country and this is when the drinking got worse. She wouldnt answer the phone and any time she did she was drunk. It was very worrying for me because I didnt want her to become ill again. when I got home it was clear that she had been drinking alot from her appearance and from the food supply. I know that sounds weird, but when she is drinking, its the cheapest food and not very much bought. I didnt go back to college because of money reasons, so I have been at home for a year. She has been back on the drink since.she will stop for two weeks and then go on a binge for a week. The worst thing is, its back to the way it was before she had the seizure. She just lies in bed all day and night. She is really mean to me and I just feel like she hates me. We fight and I get so mad that I throw things at her and slap her, this just makes me feel even more guilty.She used to drink at home but now she goes away for hours and comes back drunk. She drinks on her own in a place that is notorious for teenage drinkers. A few weeks ago she brought my dog for a walk and came back with blood all over her and no dog. I thought my dog was dead, she said a dog attacked them and my dog ran off. I now know that she had just fallen. Luckily my dog was brought back by kind neighbours. I dont know what to do anymore, I want to go back to college in september but she is just going to get worse. I know it might seem silly, but I worry about my dog too. I cant bring him with me if I go. Its got to the stage where i am starting to really resent her and not care. Sometimes I pray she will have another seizure so that she realises what she is doing to her health and quits.
It's time to stop the madness. You are now engaging in physical violence and it has to stop. The relationship with your mom has become toxic. Nothing you say or do can change the course of destruction she is walking. Why should she change? You're there to pick up the pieces every time she falls down. The courageous thing to do is to walk away and let her experience the full consequences of her drinking. That's the only thing that might get her to stop. Or it won't and she'll die. Death awaits any alcoholic who doesn't stop drinking.
Everything you write illustrates that your entire focus is on your mom and her drinking. Your life now revolves around her. It doesn't have to stay that way, nor should it. We as family members of an alcoholic get just as sick as the alcoholic and you're a classic example. Don't feel badly - I am too! It's so easy to think, "If Mom would just stop drinking, life would return to normal." It doesn't. Stopping the drinking is just the first step. Without working on ourselves and learning new skills to deal with life and all its difficulties, we're stuck in the same situations and same behaviors that contributed to the drinking. Thus is relapse born. The seeds of relapse are just waiting to be watered and nurtured with alcohol.
That's what AA and Al-Anon are all about - learning new behavior and working on ourselves. One of the big "Don'ts" with Al-Anon is to not argue with an alcoholic when she's intoxicated. One, it doesn't do any good; two, she probably won't remember it; and three, it can lead to physical violence. An alcoholic certainly sees the destruction her drinking causes, but it's not personal against you. That's why the "if you loved me" argument doesn't work. Her motivation is entirely impersonal. Only when the destruction becomes personal enough to cause her real pain (losing you, her home, her money, and everything else) will she MAYBE see the light. Prolonging that epiphany by helping her financially and even with your comforting presence only puts off the crash and potential recovery.
We try to deal with the alcoholic by putting a veneer of normality on our lives with them when it's anything BUT normal. We fool ourselves and the alcoholic into believing that things aren't really as bad as we know they are. We go about our usual daily business and try to shrug off the dread when we go home. We certainly don't tell the neighbors what's going on! As another member on the Addiction forum says, "Our secrets keep us sick." That goes for family members as well as the alcoholic. That's why we get just as sick in our own way as the alcoholic.
You are an adult. If you want to finish school you'll have to find a way to do it without your mother's emotional or financial support. Can you afford to find a place of your own to live? Being a resident on a campus isn't necessary to getting an education. There's always night school. Sure, that degree will take longer to achieve part-time, but it's far from impossible. You can even keep your dog with you. I wouldn't leave any animal to the tender mercies of an alcoholic or an addict. It's not because they would necessarily harm the animal on purpose, but neglect is certainly a problem. They can't take care of themselves properly; how can they be expected to take care of an animal - or another person for that matter?
No. You can't change your mother. You can, however, change yourself. It's entirely up to you. Sure, the path you set your feet on toward college may have to be a different one. Your lifestyle may be very different than what you imagined and hoped for, but it will be YOURS. It will be what YOU actively decide to do rather than a response to your mother's actions.
You have to focus and do what is right for you. She is going to do and behave the way she wants to whether you are there or not. All the fighting in the world doesn't make a person want to stop their behavior. Go to college, go towards your goals. I think the hardest thing sometimes when we are dealing with loved ones or relatives is letting go and knowing when to do that. My own mother has been in and out so many times that I honestly cannot keep up with it. I have separated myself from her and the behavior, granted not all cases are that extreme, but we do have to prioritize ourselves.
I pray for them but that is all I can do, I can't babysit a 56 year old human being that is entitled to make their own choices and decisions. If this helps at all sometimes local colleges do hold Alanon groups there with students going through the same thing so it might be good for you to check into that to kind of help support you while you are trying to focus on your schooling. Please do keep us posted.
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