My mum passed away last Tuesday. She was 55. She has alcohol-induced fatty liver which caused a heart arrhythmia.
She had been an alcoholic since before I was born. I am 31. I am an only child and she was a single parent.

Last year she went through rehab treatment and during this process, I was asked to write a letter to my mum discussing how her drinking had affected me.
My mum felt very guilty for events from the past which often led her to drink. I brought many of these memories up, some of which she didn’t remember. I said that I had felt so many emotions over the years that I don’t feel anything about her being in rehab.
Once she left rehab she began drinking heavily and almost relentlessly.

My mum’s funeral is on Thursday my emotions are all over the place.
At the moment I feel guilty for writing the letter. I feel guilty for not being supportive of her journey. I had been let down so many times before that this attempt didn’t feel any different. Maybe I was wrong and mum felt this was her last chance and I didn’t support her.

I am sorry that this may seem like a muddled mess of rambling. I am writing my mum’s eulogy, came across the letter from last year and needed to write this down. I feel guilty and I feel I could have done more to help in the last year.


  • helper01

    Dear J,

    I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your mum last Tuesday. I can't imagine the range of emotions you must be experiencing at the moment.

    Please know that what happened to your mum is not your fault. I know this may feel hard to believe, but it's true. Ultimately, no matter what anyone does, only the person who drinks can stop their drinking. No one else can influence this.

    If you would like to talk about this in more depth, please know that you can call or email the helpline for support, as much as you would like. The number is 0800 358 3456, and the email address is In the meantime, please remember that you are not alone, and that Nacoa is here for you every step of the way.


  • blue96

    Hi J,

    Firstly, I'm so sorry to hear about how you're feeling and about your Mum's passing.

    The most important thing for you to acknowledge is that you shouldn't feel guilty at all. None of this is your fault and you couldn't have done any more.

    You also can't feel guilty for writing down how you are feeling as its an important part of the healing process and one that I find helpful personally.

    There are some really useful resources on the NACOA website so I'd definitely recommend having a scroll through each of the tabs at the top.

    The NACOA helpline is also a brilliant resource is you just want to get things off your chest about how you're feeling. There's also a really nice community feel on these message boards, so remember you aren't alone and there are people out there who know how you feel.

    Best wishes!

  • uniquemind

    Hi J,

    Sorry to hear the passing of your mother. Alcoholism is a very difficult disease to cope with as a family member. Writing a letter to your mother to explain her affect on you is a part of therapy for yourself. Although, the letter has probably just put past events into order to make sense more for your mother and could've also helped her put into terms the affect of her drinking so her rehab attempt could've been successful this time. Please do not feel guilty for looking after your own mental and emotional health. For example, the years of being let down has made you more resistant to supporting your mother through her recovery. Which is very understandable, as a child of an alcoholic parent I can fully understand your actions and why you did this due to being let down all of the time. You are not alone and there are so many others in your situation before your mothers passing and currently.

    Grief is a difficult process, I could assume within an alcohol related death you're overwhelmed with guilt and also grief. Try to contact local mental health services if it becomes too much to process.

    Please take care.

  • nacoa17

    Hi there,
    I am very sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. Regardless of circumstances death is always a tough situation to come to terms with and can bring up some difficult emotions- guilt being one of them. I would first like you to understand that your mother's death is not your fault, and neither was her drinking. Unfortunately addicts become taken over by their disease and oftentimes no matter how much they love, or are hurting their friends family, the disease is too overpowering to stop. The letter you were asked to write was written by you out of love and care for your mother, not as a punishment. You were asked by medical professionals to do this, thinking it would benefit your mother so do not beat yourself up wondering if this letter attained to your mother's relapse. As I mentioned before, addiction is a disease that can only be stopped by the person experiencing it wanting to stop- do not blame yourself.
    There are many articles on our website designed to support people in yours or similar situations, and so I recommend you checking these out for solace and advice. If it appeals to you, we could refer you to some counselling, either free or private depending on what you are looking for. If this is something you would like, don't hesitate to call us on our helpline or to email us.
    I wish you the best,

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