My Mum is an alcoholic; I am a child of an alcoholic. But I am also a woman, who likes the X factor, the colour purple, has a penchant for kissing and shopping and has a crush on Alan Hansen.
So here is where we are now. My mum has just been screwed over by someone, some dodgy agency, so no longer owns her house. She lies in her sodden clothes, for days on end, on her stained marked sofa. She lives in a small terraced house with no carpets. She has no money, no friends, no sense of reality and no direction. Soon it’ll be her 50th, but what has she got to celebrate?
The thing is, after all my reading, soul searching, googling, talking, crying, and hurting myself, I have slowly accepted, no one can sort you out, apart from yourself. People can support, influence, assist and inspire, but you’ve got to want to do it, be motivated, and want to change. But in her case nothing motivates her, not even her kids. I ask her what will help her. Her response, ‘Your Dad’. He died seven years ago.
Alcohol is her friend, her escapism, her crux and her excuse. Sometimes I wish she was the silent drunk, maybe even the violent drunk, but I know these fleeting thoughts would not be the answer. She has been lost for a long time. But you get to see glimmers of her, when the acting drops. But then I realise, we are merely the audience, watching this tragedy unfold. We have seen this film so many times; we know the lines off by heart. But it still hurts.
I never thought I’d say this, but I don’t understand why she is still alive. If she hates life so much, why do this to herself and her family. I’ve been angry at her for so long, especially when she would go on a bender, and then everyone would welcome her back. I didn’t. How could she sleep? Continue on as normal, when she was wrecking so many people’s lives.
I am very open and honest with my friends about her situation, about the realities of it. Perhaps sometimes too open, but my friends use the information and humour me. That’s the way I like it.
Of-course her alcohol I believe, has had a profound effect on my life. I suffered low self-esteem, a lack of sense of self, self harm, an eating disorder, attempted suicide, anxiety, and depression and welcomed an abusive lover into my life. But would I still have done this is she was sober? Who knows. All I’ve got is my experience.
However, I’m still here. With a bag of experiences, a University degree and a future as bright as the sky. I remember when I was at my lowest ebb, I got angry with the people that looked on the bright side, ‘always look on the bright side of life,’ Rubbish. ‘Things aren’t as bad as what they seem.’ Shut up. ‘Things will get better, they always do.’ Anger. I was confused, I did want to get better, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t want my history, I didn’t want this pain, and I didn’t want this. Who really was I?
Then looking at statistics on the internet, I knew due to my past I was prone this, prone to that, had more of a chance of this. Negative, negative, negative. But that was my comfort. But I’m over it now.
I’ve recognized where I was going wrong, this is a part of me, but it doesn’t have to hold me back. I read recently, we are here to learn to love more. Each experience helps us learn, grow to bring more love into our lives. Don’t get me wrong if someone told me that a couple of years ago; I’d given them a right look. But now, it’s not as though I would want to go through it all again, or make my situation anyone else’s reality, it’s part of me.
As I’ve discovered from friends of the family, Mums drinking started when we were young. So it has always been in the background, like a misty cloud over our lives.
As I reached to my teenage years, and the drinking escalated, my humour distanced me from talking about the real issues of my life. The hormones kicked in, and the negative thoughts were a regular guest in my already confused mind. Then I became suicidal, but I couldn’t tell anyone, as I felt they all had more important things to worry about. I attempted suicide, but no one knew until my twenties. But I survived. I live, as they say, to tell the tale.
So here I am, with 3 amazing brothers and sisters, a good job, a better attitude and hope. I still yearn for the day when I can say and think, I’ve had a bad day, I’m in a bad mood and I’m not happy. Not because of depression, my past, just because I’ve got a cold, I’ve had an argument with my boyfriend and I didn’t sleep very well. Normal stuff. I’ve started to engage in real relationships, talk to people, openly and feel more comfortable with my feelings. I’m excited about life.
I don’t hate my Mum anymore, I’m over the anger, I think what prevails is an overwhelming sense of sadness. She didn’t have an easy life, both her parents died when she was young, she suffered low self esteem, anorexia and my Dad suffered 4 heart attacks before his fatal one in his forties. She fought all her life, and I don’t know if she strong enough anymore. But I will learn, and not be the sequel.
My advice, for all of you going through a similar situation out there is to talk about it. Please don’t keep it in; it’s not your fault. You are the innocent party.
You are not your parent’s mistakes; you are the successor of them. Learn to love more. Hopefully one day you will see your experience, as a horrible event in your life, which YOU overcame.