Getting tired




My mum has been an alcoholic ever since I can remember, my earliest memory of her being drunk is around 5 years old, I’m now 27.
I’ve always known that my mum was different and that she would go on drinking binges every few months, but that was just mum, right? It wasn’t until I was a teenager when it really struck me that she was an alcoholic and that she had a problem. We’ve had so, so many incidents over the years as I imagine everyone has.
However, this last year has been the worst of my life. There was a period of 5 months when she was not sober for one day, she fell down the stairs and broke her arm and 3 ribs and was hospitalised. She got home from hospital, drank again, fell out of her bed and bust her eye open. She gradually got back on track (as she does) but I always know that after a few months, she will be drinking again. I linked all of this to the fact that I moved out and it was just her left at home, alone. There is massive guilt on my part and I struggle immensely between having to be there for her, and living my own life.
Of course these past few months, she has been drinking occasionally – not to the extent that I’ve been use to over the past year – but her usual pattern of drinking.
I’m at a point now where I feel that I HAVE to maintain the relationship to keep her alive, and that I have to speak to her everyday to ensure that she’s not lonely and doesn’t drink. In the past after her drinking binges, we’ve pretty much gone back to normal and the relationship (although always strained), it was ok. But recently, I’m not sure why, it is incredibly hard for me to be ‘normal’ with her? And I feel that the relationship is a chore and I can’t have a laugh and a joke with her.
I have never sought help for this but I feel that now my mindset is changing I may need to reach out for help and advise.
As previously said, I am incredibly torn and tired, so tired from having to deal with this for my entire life. I can’t see an end in sight, and it is getting me down

  • listener

    Hi livm94,

    I'm so sorry to hear that this last year has been so hard for you. To see your mum's drinking worsen and watch her deteriorate must be very painful.

    You spoke about the guilt you feel and I just want to reassure you that your mum's continued drinking is not your fault in any way. It's very common to be torn between being there for a parent with an alcohol problem and also living your own life. Having boundaries and making your own wellbeing a priority is so important. Remember that your health is important too.

    It sounds like you feel something has changed in your relationship with your mum, and it feels like a chore. I think this is also common. Having a parent whose alcohol use takes over their life takes a huge toll on everyone around them, especially when you feel you have to maintain that relationship in order to keep them alive. It must be very painful to feel like you've lost that normal relationship with her.

    The 6C's can be helpful when you're experiencing some of the feelings you described:

    • I didn’t cause it
    • I can’t cure it
    • I can’t control it
    • I can take care of myself
    • I can communicate my feelings
    • I can make healthy choices

    Do you have any support from friends or family? Dealing with this alone can be incredibly isolating.

    Nacoa's helpline is there for you - / 0800 358 3456. Feel welcome to reach out to them, and I hope you can continue to use these message boards too.

    Take very good care,

  • williamste

    hi livm94,

    Apologies - I know that this is a little late as you posted a few weeks ago, but after reading your post I felt compelled to respond as so much of what you have said has chimed with the experiences and the emotions I've felt over the last 30+ years.

    Listener is right to set out the 6C's - they are really key to helping you understand the difficult position you're in and ultimately how you can start recover from the hurt that you've experienced.

    I just wanted to pick up on one of the 6C's: 'I can't control it'. When my Mum's alcoholism took a real turn for the worse over three years ago, my natural reaction was to try to getting a better grip on it myself. I would regularly call her to check up on her drinking, and even contacted her neighbours to see if they had any intel. All of this wasn't just futile, it was damaging. It was futile because ultimately only the person who drinks can decide whether or not to stop or not. It was damaging because it caused even more tension between my Mum and I, and caused me a huge amount of hurt and distress.

    As difficult as it is, it's important to try and move away from the control mindset - and instead focus on those things which will help you to live a happy and contented life. It's time to put yourself first.

    Don't forget that the Nacoa helpline is always there for you. Take care of yourself.

    • livm94

      Hi Williamste,

      Thank you so much for your reply! It’s absolutely resonated with me and confirmed that I should begin to focus on myself, and I shouldn’t feel guilty for it.
      Your words have helped hugely - thank you so much

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