My mum was an alcoholic for as long as I can remember. I have been through years of heartache, anger and resentment. Despite losing everything-friends, family, job, house she was in denial till the bitter end. She lost her battle and died in August. Her post-mortem has confirmed her death was entirely alcohol related. I don’t know how to feel, I’m angry, sad and dare I say relieved and with that I feel guilty. I question why? Could I have done more? I suppose my question is how have others overcome the grief? It’s not like normal grief as I have guilt / resentment. I want to remember the happy times but they were so long ago that’s it’s hard to look back that far. I can’t open up to people as most people don’t understand.

  • here2help

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mum. It is awful to see how addiction can destroy every aspect of someone’s life. However you are feeling right now is ok, we experience grief in different ways, and it can feel even more complicated in this situation. You’ve said you don’t feel you could open up to others, that must make it harder to process how you are feeling. You can contact the Nacoa helpline if you do want to speak to someone who understands.

    In regards to how others have dealt with the grief, I guess everyone’s answer will be different. After my father’s death I also felt others didn’t understand how I felt. Eventually I received some counselling at the university I was attending and it helped, and I’ve had counselling many times since then too as sometimes things resurface which is normal too. Grief is not a process of recovery that feels like a straight line, it is a wobbly process where some days are much better than others, with peaks and troughs, but slowly we continue to move forward. Make space for yourself to process everything you are feeling, be kind to yourself and take good care.


    • bereaved

      Thank you
      I hid huge parts of my life and the challenges of having an alcoholic parent from everyone for many years because of the stigma and my own personal embarrassment -things we’re very different even 10 years ago. I finally went to a counsellor who helped me see I didn’t need to hide and I did open up to a handful of close family and friends and talking definitely did help. I think it’s maybe time to speak to a counsellor again to help me process my grief properly. NACOA is such a great resource/charity.

      • here2help

        Ah I’m so glad you’ve had support and found counselling and opening up to friends helpful. It might be helpful to explore those avenues again. What about creative outlets of expressing difficult emotions? Sometimes journaling / free writing or making some sort of art can be a helpful release too. I hope the journey gets easier for you soon. Take care of yourself.

        • martinp

          Thank you for sharing your story. So sorry for your loss.

          I feel after speaking to alot of people regarding their losses i feel there isn't a normal way to grieve. Everyone has processed it in a different way.

          All emotions is vaild for process of grief. What i mean is if your angry be angry, if your sad be sad. When i was trying to survive at home i forced myself to not feel emotions and it deeply effected me later on. I try to process the emotion as it comes.

          There is so many different emotions you feel when living with an alcoholic parent i don't think there is a right one emotion for grieving.

          I absolutely relate to all them feelings that you have highlighted. I have thought of all these questions in mind alot when i was living at home as well. Thes are all completely valid.

  • ashbash

    I am sorry for your loss. I also lost my mum 20 years ago to alcohol related issues. I understand the pain and mixed emotions you are feeling.
    Please remember you didn’t cause this and you couldn’t control it.
    Grief can be a stagnate thing, take your time and it is okay to feel what you’re feeling. Take care.

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