Should I give my mum another chance?




Hi, I’m Mia, I’m 26 and my mum has been an alcoholic for as long as I can remember. She pretty much raised me and my brother as a single mother, because she and my Dad divorced, and he lived on the other side of the country and could only see us once every month, or even once every few months. He used to pay her child support when I was really young, but she would spend the money on wine, and so he ended up paying for our rent instead. Despite this, my mum would drink excessively nearly every day of the week and would have hangovers so bad I wasn’t allowed to wake her up for school in the morning. My older brother has severe ADHD, and so would act out all the time, either through aggression rebellion, or both. When he got to secondary school he would blatantly refuse to go to school. My mum would always blame her drinking on my brother or my dad, and would always say horrible things about both of them to me. I was only a child, and I was always terrified of her growing up. A lot of my childhood I can’t remember, as I’ve blocked it out as a trauma response.

In October 2019 I ran away from home and moved in with my dad in December 2019, where I currently live now. I’ve always tried to repair the relationship with my mum, and earlier this year I consistently visited her every two weeks, as she has been sober for months. Lately, she’s picked up her old habits, and for the past few weekends I’ve been there, she’s gotten drunk, aggressive, and nasty towards me and my brother, causing hour-long incidences of yelling and sometimes violence. Every morning after these incidences, she’s been extremely apologetic and has promised to change, but then does it again. Last weekend, it got so bad the police were called, and on Monday night when I was back home the social services called my dad.

Since then, my mum has been sending me all kinds of messages telling me she’s sorry, and that if I give her a chance she’ll be the mum I deserve. I love my mum, and although she’s done a lot of harm, there’s also a lot I’m thankful for that she’s done for me. I can’t bring myself to hate her, so it’s been extremely hard to lay boundaries down. Everyone around me is saying I shouldn’t see her for a while, maybe giving me several months before I do, or suggesting I should never visit her ever again.

I feel stuck in the middle, and one side of me is agreeing that I should never see her again, whilst the other side of me is telling me to give her another chance, and visit at the end of November if she keeps up a streak of sobriety.

I guess I’m just reaching out and wondering if anyone has had a similar experience and could maybe give me some advice.

Thank you.

  • listener


    I am so sorry to hear about how much your mum's drinking is affecting you, and you all as a family. It sounds particularly difficult now that you have been trying to rebuild that relationship and you keep getting let down.

    You mentioned that you can't hate your mum and you're grateful for a lot she has done for you. I want to reassure you that it's natural and totally ok to love someone and hate the alcoholism at the same time. Your mum is clearly a lot more than her alcohol problem, and so it's natural to feel these conflicting feelings. Although I appreciate this makes the situation a lot more painful and as you say it makes it harder to stick to boundaries.

    I hear how torn you're feeling about whether you should see your mum and, if so, how much. It's difficult when people have different opinions. There really is no right or wrong answer on this unfortunately. It's important to think about yourself and what it is that you need though. If that means taking a step away for a while (however long that might be), that's ok. Really shifting the focus onto your own wellbeing might give you some answers.

    Do you have much support around you? Are there people in your life who you feel comfortable talking to? I hope you have that, and either way I'm glad you're reaching out on here as it can be so helpful talking to others with similar experiences.

    Take very good care of yourself,

  • marie b

    Hi Mia
    I’m new on here, but reading the message board helps. It’s made me see I’m not alone. There’s people like me out there. Struggling to love someone who loves booze more than their family.

    My dad still thinks he hasn’t got a problem. He’s never said sorry.
    He said to me last week… “you just want me dead”
    I replied quite sharply “I just want you to give a %#^* dad”
    “ I do. Who says I don’t?”

    I broke contact with my dad for a while. Hoping it would make him get help.

    It back fired!!! He ended up on the floor, police smashed the door in and took him to hospital. The flat is absolutely revolting.
    He even said “that hoover hasn’t been switched on since you last came round”.
    The man that wouldn’t leave the house without a shirt n tie. The man that polished boots & shoes every Sunday night. “People will see clean shoes and know you have pride in your appearance”

    Sending love your way

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