I’m almost 22, in my final year of university and my mum has struggled with alcohol problems ever since my teens, but with full blown addiction since 2020. This has left her in hospital on multiple occasions, including in intensive care. Following a stay in hospital roughly six months ago, she decided she would stop. She often tried to stop before but it only lasted a day or two, however this time she lasted 6 months completely sober. During this time, I started to see ‘my mum’ come back, she was so positive and I started to enjoy speaking to her again. I felt hopeful for the first time in 2.5 years that we were out of the worst of it and began to rebuild a close relationship.

A week ago she relapsed. Badly, and has gone back to drinking morning until she takes herself to bed. I feel crushed, like everything was starting to fall back into place and it’s all fallen back down. It feels worse this time, as I had gotten my hopes up that everything would be okay. We had plans for when I came back from uni for Easter, she was talking about a dress she was planning on wearing to my graduation. Everything feels completely ruined, and like this is never going to end.

I guess I’m just posting this in the hope that someone will understand. I have good friends and housemates, but I just feel so incredibly lonely. I feel like I’m also starting to get snappy with friends, as I feel so horrible and everything everybody says just makes me feel worse.

  • mountainchaser

    Hi sunflowerz,

    Thank you very much for sharing your story and feelings.

    It is hard when you get your hopes up only to get them crushed.
    I get that, I completely hear you and understand the devastation you have over plans you made together and now you are left with uncertainty of what will happen and you have broken heart as your idea of how you planned to spend Easter has just vanished.

    My both parents are alcoholics, for as long as I can remember, and I am 37. I know first hand what it means when you have that hope that you have your parent back, but then realise no, you don't.

    You have done right to reach out, people who haven't been in that position will struggle to understand, even if they are good friends, even if they want to help you.
    Remember - you can always call the free helpline of NACOA to speak to someone if you need to feel supported in the moment.

    Unfortunately we can't control other people, as much as we just want our parents to stop drinking, it is up to them to make that decision. I really hope and wish for your mum to go back to being sober and continue to have great relationship with you.
    Hope after you posted here, you feel a bit lighter, seen and heard in your pain.
    Remember, that you can concentrate on your expectations, and chose what to do, how to react, what to say - you are always in control of yourself.

  • listener

    Hi sunflowerz,

    Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. This is always the hardest step sometimes to talk about something that is so complex and painful.

    I am so sorry to hear of your mother's relapse. It can feel incredibly difficult to watch a loved one go back to the drink after a break and especially when things started feeling a bit more positive for you and you could make plans.

    As mountainchaser mentioned, one of the most difficult things is often having to adjust to the notion that only the drinker can really get the help, which makes it more emotional for you and other members because you care for them and just want them to be their healthiest and happiest selves.

    It is important to try and put yourself first and prioritise your needs. It is not selfish to do so, as often these situations can be mentally and physically draining so it is why it is good to remind ourselves it is okay to start thinking about boundaries and what is best for you at present.

    I hope that reaching out here did a little bit to offload any pain. You are never alone here.

    Take good care,

    Helpline Listener

  • ashbash

    Hi there
    I am sorry to hear about the difficult time you are having. I know the feeling all too well of a period of sobriety and “normalcy” for your parent to relapse again. It really is crushing.
    I wonder if something happened that lead to your mums relapse or if she was really struggling with sobriety.
    Just know that you cannot control it.
    That is so amazing that you will be graduating and you should be super proud. I hope you can enjoy your graduation despite the difficulties with your mum.
    If you are struggling and feeling snappy please try to take care of yourself although I know how hard that is when finishing uni. Try to make time for yourself to do things you enjoy.

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