My Sober Mum
I recently managed to give up drinking alcohol after being a heavy drinker for most of my life. In doing this it’s made me face up to the effect that my drinking had on my three children. The sudden realisation of what I had been doing to my family over the years made me want to do something positive and try and help other families who are in a similar situation.
I spoke to my youngest daughter Summer about an idea I had to create an Instagram account together to highlight the affect that alcohol can have on the child and hopefully inspire other parents to question their own drinking. By showing both sides of our story and also our new alcohol-free life together, we want to show people that it’s not too late to change and also offer our support. We decided to call it mysobermum because seeing it from the child’s view is the most important.
What started as a harmless glass of wine with dinner, or a drink or two on a night out, slowly escalated into a whole bottle of wine every evening at home, and enough drinks on a night out that I could hardly even remember it. Although I was physically present in my children’s lives, I was not mentally present and if I hadn’t already had a drink then I was counting down the minutes until I could have one.
Alcohol was slowly taking over and becoming the most important thing in my life. I tried not to think about this and carried on pretending to myself for years that there was no problem, but recently Summer was becoming increasingly distressed and anxious by my drinking (and I was also finding I was needing to drink more and more) so I finally admitted to myself it was time to stop. It was hard at first but by reading sober literature and finding support through sober groups I’ve managed to stick with it and I don’t miss alcohol at all now. I’ve found I’ve become a calmer and more positive person and a much better parent, along with the obvious health benefits of my new lifestyle.
New time we have together
Summer and I are enjoying the new time we have together and I am also starting to rebuild my relationship with my older girls, one of whom has been sober herself for over a year.
I found the secret to giving up was to stop telling myself I would quit after the next Birthday or Christmas or holiday – because there will always be another birthday or Christmas or holiday – but each one of these is a missed opportunity to spend it being fully present with your child.
My biggest regret is that I didn’t do this years ago but I hope we can try and stop others from drinking away their children’s precious years.
Mum was quite secretive about her alcohol addiction in the early years, it wasn’t until 2016 when it suddenly became clear. We had gone on holiday to Tenerife and it had been an awful experience. To cope with the stress and anxiety whilst we got through the last week or so of the holiday, she turned to excessive drinking. At first it was quite funny and I enjoyed some of the silliness until it became frightening. I wasn’t used to the her behaving in this way and it got to the point where I was scared to even go to sleep in case she’d do something else. From that time onwards, it just got repeatedly worse. I even ended up having to go to my grandparents overnight one evening as my Mum had returned home from a day out drinking very, very drunk.
However, my life turned around on 8th August of this year. Mum decided that life wasn’t fun drinking alcohol like it used to be. She realised the negative impacts this was having on me and pledged to stop drinking altogether. Mum and I now have a more stable, happy relationship and it has meant that we are seeing each other often as well as going out more. It’s changed my life for the better.
Anna and Summer
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