After all these years……
this is my first post, I’m 62 and still feeling the effects of my mums drinking.
Until very recently I thought my Mum had started drinking after I was born and I carried the guilt for that, thinking it must have been me coming along or something I did that made her start. I have found out that she started long before that and that it wasn’t my arrival that kicked it off.
When I was growing up i felt like I was the only one who could see what was going on, my Grandad would bring baskets of laundry round with a bottle of sherry hidden in it, sometimes two or three times a week. That was in addition to there always being drink in the house, my Dad liked a drink too.
My brother who was 9 years older than me ignored it, and my sister 10 years my senior positively denied it. I would come home from school and find Mum comatose on the floor. She even got sacked from being a dinner lady at my primary school for being drunk at work, that soon got round the playground.
So I started bunking off, I was looking for a way out and applied to join the Navy but my Dad wouldn’t sign the paperwork. He said I needed a proper career. Now, I think he didn’t want to be left alone at home with my mum when she was drunk.
I know now I missed out on a lot of the love, care and guidance I should have had as a child and have lived a life of broken relationships, failed jobs, affairs and never took any responsibility for it. I also know now that a lot of it was learnt behaviour, I saw that when things got tough you simply hid away from them or ignored them, life was easier if you lied about how you really felt.
That is until recently, I’ve been married for 21 years and I have treated my wife terribly, when confronted I’ve lied and promised it will get better and it does for a while, much like when on those rare occasions my Dad told my Mum she drank too much and she would stop for a week or two.
My wife gave me an ultimatum, address my issues or leave, no fuss no arguments no accusations.
For the first time I didn’t run away, I started therapy a couple of months ago and the change has been remarkable for us both. I am looking closely at my childhood and it was only when I realised just how often Mum was drunk that I realised where my problems started.
Don’t get me wrong, I take responsibility for not addressing this earlier and reducing the hurt I have caused through my life.
I’m posting this because I made a mistake in not realising sooner that Mums drinking was not my fault, I grew up thinking maybe it was normal, I blamed myself for not doing something about it, I was ashamed to admit Mum was an alcoholic, when my brother and sister just put it down to her ‘liking a drink’ I even questioned if I had misread it.
Talking to my therapist, and my wife, (she has learnt more about me in the last couple of months than the past 21 years!) has freed me from my Mum, I felt real guilt that I loved my mother in law more than my mum, but now I realise that Mum in law gave me more parental love than I ever got at home.
So when I found this group and read some of the posts I felt driven to post my own experience. The 6C’s are absolutely bang on, this is the hand we are dealt with having an alcoholic parent, we do have a choice how we play it. Me? I’m playing my hand very openly and I’m playing it for today.
Good wishes and luck to you all.