I am 37 years old and an only child. For as long as I can remember my Mam has been an alcoholic.
My earliest memory is going with my Dad in the car to pick her up from a night out and she was falling over and sick out of the car door. I thought it was just a one off. But as time went on she didn’t need to go out to get drunk.
She didn’t drink all the time, just now and again something would set her off and she would retreat to her bedroom for two or three weeks, only leaving to shout abuse at me and my Dad or to go to the shops for more alcohol. She drank constantly during that time and I would find empty bottles everywhere. I used to fill half full ones with vinegar, pour them down the sink and even hide her keys and purse to stop her buying more. Nothing worked.
It was like living with Jekyll and Hyde. When she was sober she was lovely and when she was drunk she was awful!
I was blackmailed with toys as a child not to tell my Dad she had bought alcohol when we were out shopping, I told him anyway.
My Dad and her argued constantly and I begged him to leave her but he wouldn’t. Life at home was hell most of the time and happy memories are few and far between. I could tell if she had been drinking just by looking at the house from the outside and then as soon as I walked in and the fumes hit me I knew. I spent a lot of childhood in my room alone or out with friends to hide from her, I wasn’t a bad child and didn’t turn to drugs or alcohol I was just a normal teenager.
She told me all the time that I wasn’t wanted and that she hated me! Instead of supporting me on my achievements such as buying a car, a house, getting a degree she used them as reasons to get drunk because she couldn’t cope with me growing up!
She embarrassed me in front of my friends all the time and would come find me when I was out with them and scream and shout at me. I would hide the fact she drank like it was a dark secret and I never really opened up about it to anyone, as I got older I leaned on friends to help me cope.
Christmas and my birthday were close together and she was always drunk. As a result I hated Christmas and my Birthday as a child and still do.
I moved out at 14 to live with my Aunty as I couldn’t cope, then at 16 I moved in to a flat with friends but after assurances from her that she would try and stop I moved back at 18. At 21 I bought my own house and moved out for good. I felt guilty for leaving my Dad to deal with it all but I had no choice, I had to get out.
Nothing I ever did was good enough for her and I never had her love.
She refused to accept she had a problem no matter what me and my Dad did she wouldn’t accept help and said she was in control, until the next time. Each time she drank she was awful to us both but when she sobered up she apologized and it was forgotten. Never dealt with. The longest I have known her not have a drink for is a year and she was great.
She ruined my wedding day, my children’s christenings and every birthday I can remember. Then when my marriage broke down she made my life hell for over a year blaming me for it and drinking none stop hurling abuse at me down the phone.
I have been through so much more, more than I can ever explain to anyone and more than I can probably remember.
On New Year’s Day this year I had it out with her. I told her everything she had put me through and how I felt about it all. Screaming out for an apology or an acknowledgement of her wrong doings but nothing, she refused to believe everything I said. All I got was blamed for it and I was the reason she drank. To me that was it, the last time I would ever tell her what she did, I realised then there was no point I would never get the closure I needed from her so I had to fix myself.
I tried to cut her off after that and for 6 months I did and life was easier but I missed my Mam and therefore again I gave her another chance.
These past few months since we have been back in touch things have changed dramatically, she has gone from this woman I knew who took no crap and was opinionated and headstrong to a frail old lady with memory loss and the inability to process information I am telling her. It’s like she aged overnight but the drinking has all but stopped.
The change in her has been surreal and is something I am struggling to deal with after knowing the person she was and the way she treated me my whole life! How can I continue to hold on to this anger I have at her for ruining my childhood when she can barely remember it.
The relationship I wanted was a Mam and daughter but I never had it. I struggle with relationships with partners and friends because of my need to feel loved, something I have not felt from my parents.
I have never dealt with what I went through as a child and have fought to be different and strong but lately I feel that my past is holding me back and I need to talk about it and process it all in order to move forward.
My kids don’t know the things I have gone through and I refuse to ever tell them. I will not let them look at her in a different way nor do I want them to look at me differently. I have protected them from it and will always do so. I have fought to be everything to my kids that she wasn’t to me and I have broken the cycle.
I wish I had spoken more openly about this years ago and come to terms with it all and now as an adult I feel like I need to ‘get over it’ which is easier said than done.