Struggling with Addiction: Learning to Love an Alcoholic

 2020 we kept telling ourselves we were only going to focus on the positive. But stuff happened to a lot of people and not recognizing the trauma isn't good for the soul. I have said I always wanted to share my entire life even the bad parts with you, but I didn’t this past year because I didn’t want to bring anyone else worry or maybe I didn't think it was my place to tell. I went back and forth about sharing this because of how personal it is, but I decided to share it because if can help one person then it is worth it.

I'm sorry to distract from my normal positive posts, but I have always wanted to be real and help others. That's why I started this blog and I hope to continue doing that.



My mom has drank as long as I can remember. When I was growing up she would have a few glasses of Franzia white Zinfandel from those huge boxes that she kept in the fridge. I knew she liked to drink, but I didn’t know it was a problem. I remember her doing things when she was drunk (I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time) that were embarrassing. And even now something will happen and I'll randomly remember something that I must have blocked out.


When my daughter was a baby we stayed over at her house for a night because we wanted to wake up early and ride somewhere together. She lives over an hour and a half away from me one way. I remember her having “a night cap”  which she said was "part of her routine" and the next day when we were talking about it, she clearly didn’t realize she had drank not just one, but four shots of rum. 


About four years ago is when her drinking started becoming a real problem. She had decided she was disabled and could no longer work. I say she decided because she had to go through a company to finally get on paid disability. They kept telling her that with her education, she should be able to find something even if it was no longer in a classroom setting. I sent her sites to apply for, but she told me her memory wasn't what it use to be and that her nerves were causing her a ton of pain. But my friend had told me disability can be hard to get approved for, so I didn’t really think much of it. But not working was the worse thing for my mother. That's when her depression started getting really bad.


In 2018, she stayed with me for a week. We just thought it might be something fun to do. Towards mid-week she started getting more irritable and was eating anything/everything in sight. Those are both signs of alcohol detoxing as well as nerve damage and memory loss. 


In 2019, something happened with my little brother that I won’t talk about because it his business. I will say this is when I realized my mother needed help for her alcoholism. But she didn’t get it, denied she needed it until she went to her pain clinic and they found alcohol (which she wasn’t suppose to be combining with her pain meds) in her system. My mother does have a ton of illnesses and she will be quick to let you know what they are, but they are all linked to liver problems from over indulging in alcohol. She is never honest with the doctors, but I think it’s because she doesn’t even realize herself how bad she has gotten. Because she is never honest with the doctors, they would give her pains meds and others things trying to figure out what is wrong with her. She only admitted she had a problem when the pain clinic finally kicked her out.


After that I told her she needed to quick drinking and get help. She said she was going to quit and admitted she had a problem. But quickly started drinking again. So I told her that I had to draw some boundaries between her, myself, and especially my children because I didn’t want them to see her like that. I found out she had started drinking again through my younger brother who still lives at home. She had been avoiding texts and calls, but apparently that wasn’t just me. I called and texted her this past Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Years Day, but she didn’t send me anything back until January 4th.


I had multiple conversations where I told my mom she was depressed. But she said no because she didn’t feel like killing herself. Alcohol is a depressant and only makes things worse. Suicide and depression don’t always go hand in hand, but someone can be slowly killing themselves in other ways. I asked her to get involved in a church or senior center, but she wouldn’t even try though I found some local to her. My brother and step dad said transportation wouldn’t be an issue. I asked her to try water aerobics again (something she had done previously), but kept saying she would ask her doctors if it was okay (she has been on oxygen for the past yew years) and never did. I even toyed with the idea of her coming and living with me for a while so I could help her, but she refuses to stay for more than a week.


This past Monday I get a text from my little brother asking me to call him. My mom fell and was so incoherent that they took her to the hospital. They had to call an ambulance to get her because she couldn't get up, but she wasn't injured during her fall. My step dad (who has been buying her the alcohol) had bought 6 bottles of 1.75 ml of rum three prior and she had drank through three already. That's 39 shots a day. My little brother had a conversation with him that regardless of how much my mom complains or screams and yells, he has to stop buying it for her. I was at the gym and we had to run. And while running, I started thinking about "what if she dies and I don't get to say goodbye?" So although I still have to have some boundaries, I have decided to alter them and let her back into my life a little more. As of today, my mom is still in the hospital, still denying exactly what happened, and we're waiting on her liver tests to come back.


This story doesn’t have an ending. It is just what my family has been dealing with for the last few years, decode or so, really my entire life. There is a history of trauma in my mom’s life that has caused her pain and now has trickled down to her children. She went to therapy a few times, but says she is cured and doesn't need it anymore even though I told her that's not how that works. Plus I thought it would be good for her to talk to someone. 


I wanted to share this story because alcohol has become so acceptable in our culture. “It’s coffee time until wine time” someone said to me the other day. And I think this past year has made it worse for some. Alcoholism sneaks up on you. One glass a day can turn into two then three and the next thing you know the whole bottle is gone, but you still aren’t satisfied. You just keep chasing that feeling. This isn’t for people who can stop, that know how to control it. This post is for people like me who don’t know how to. Alcoholism runs in my family, but I feel like with depression rates rising in the past year this is an issue that needs light shed on it.


Dry January was very eye opening for me. My anxiety improved, I felt better, I had more energy, my cardio was never impacted, and has improved other aspects of my life as well. I'm sharing my experience because I want to help, not judge. This post isn't written the best because it was all the thoughts I had in my head and I wanted to write them down. I might add more as I remember things or answer any questions that may come up.


Thank you for listening and please share your experience or any questions you have with me.




1 comment

  1. I feel you, and your raw honesty is refreshing. I grew up around many family members with serious alcohol problems. Don’t give up hope, after 40 years of becoming an alcoholic my dad is now sober and has been for almost 10 years. Over the past year, I can’t help but pray for all those struggling during these lockdowns.

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