Trouble coping

Old 05-08-2013, 04:13 AM
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Trouble coping

This is my first time really asking for help about this issue.

A little background- I'm an only child, in my 20's, still living at home. When I was 14 we moved to another country, this is when I think my mother started drinking. I was a little depressed about being away from my childhood friends and the rest of my family and I fell into the wrong crowd, I dated a way older guy who pressured me into having sex. I started to feel really depressed, out of control and guilty about having made such bad decisions; I developed an eating disorder and started cutting myself. This when on for about 4 years; my mother's habit got exponentially worse and my dad started compulsively over eating.

Since then, I've recovered but her drinking has gotten worse. She doesn't work, just stays at home getting drunk everyday. I deal with quite a bit of the cooking and cleaning, which I'm perfectly ok with, but I'm angry the reason she doesn't do much is her inebriation.

My dad lives at home, but seems to avoid being around as much as possible. When he is home, he avoids her. He knows she has a problem, but never actually does anything about it.

I've tried talking to her, and she always says that she doesn't really have a problem but will stop soon, just not right now. When she claims there isn't a problem I always end up feeling like I'm completely insane and overreacting, she makes out that her stopping would just be like a favor to appease her crazy daughter... It's like she thinks everyone is blind- she'll be falling over drunk, hardly able to walk, but when you look at her she just smiles sheepishly and acts like nothing's wrong.

Tonight I made dinner, and she was so drunk she vomited on her plate at the table, then some more in the rubbish bin. She even tried to tell me it was because she "found a chewy bit in the steak."

Other than just getting all this out there, I really just need some advice; do you think it's my fault she's doing this? If I hadn't had done so many stupid things through high school may this never would have happened. Is there something I can be doing to fix this? I want to talk to her about it, but I don't know how? How do I cope with this?

Please help!
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:46 AM
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Hi Kikki, I'm sorry for the reason you have to post here, but you've come to the right place for support.
Have you heard of the 3 Cs?
-You didn't cause it.
-You can't control it.
-You can't cure it.

So no matter how hard you try, you won't be able to stop your mother's addiction; think of that as a burden you don't have to bear. She is an adult, and only she is responsible for her life.
You're not responsible for looking after her either. I think your father is putting an unfair burden on you by avoiding facing what's going on.
Is there any support around you? Friends of your parents, church, relative, counselling from either yours or your father's workplace? Please don't carry this on your own. You don't have to.
My parents drank heavily when I was a teenager, and I found it devastating. I understand how you feel. Please keep posting and tell us your ideas about how you can find support for yourself.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:48 AM
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do you think it's my fault she's doing this? If I hadn't had done so many stupid things through high school may this never would have happened. Is there something I can be doing to fix this? I want to talk to her about it, but I don't know how? How do I cope with this?
One at a time here:

1. No, you didn't cause it. It is not your fault. You're not holding a gun to her head forcing her to drink.

Try to think from a police officer's standpoint - if a drunk driver got out of a car after being pulled over, vomited on the ground in front of the police officer, then said "it's not my fault" or "I'll stop, just not now" or "My daughter just thinks I'm crazy, I don't have a drinking problem" ... do you think that would prevent said officer from hauling her off to the drunk tank to sleep it off?

If the officer won't believe the story, why are you? Alcoholics/addicts LOVE to blame shift. They love to pretend it's not their fault. Yet they're the ones who continue to drink, they're the ones who continue to say and do ludicrous things (chewy steak, right?), they're the ones who live in the fantasy that there's nothing wrong with them. No one with any degree of detachment from the situation is going to believe them, though.

My father blames me and the victim for his incarceration. No one believes him, particularly since he's admitted to doing the crimes for which he's incarcerated. It's the same mental process - your mom is doing the drinking, but blaming others. If she was tried, convicted and sent to prison, then blamed you for it, would you be asking if that was your fault? (Hypothetical question, but one worth thinking about - especially if she drives).

2. There is nothing you can do to fix "this" if "this" is defined as your mum's drinking.

If you change "this" to be defined as "how I feel inside myself and the guilt I'm carrying" then yes, yes there is definitely something you can do to fix it. Start reading the stickied posts at the top of the page. You have the right to not participate in the crazy-making behaviors of your family. That's my favorite one. But there are many things you can do - read books, go to ACA or AlAnon, seek out a therapist, or just come here and share and ask questions and get a little support.

3. You've tried talking to her. It didn't work out very well. Talking to her again is likely to end up with similar results (blame shifting and nothing resolved and that horrible feeling of emptiness that comes when a need isn't fulfilled). If it were me, I wouldn't bother talking to her.

4. You cope with this by shifting your focus from her to you. What do YOU need that does not involve her changing her behavior? What do you want (again, not involving her changing her behavior)?

The problem here is that the things you want right now (at least this is my guess) involve her changing. And that may or may not happen. Probably 'may not'. None of us can change the behavior of another person, any other person. And? People have the right to kill themselves in whatever manner they so choose. And? What are YOU going to do about YOU? What needs do you have that are unmet that make you want to change her? Spend a little time asking yourself "what do I need that I'm not getting" and I bet you'll find that the problem isn't so much that your mum drinks, it's that you have needs that aren't being met.

Then it's time to figure out how you can meet those needs without your mum. Sounds simple, right? It's not. I spend a good deal of time asking myself those very questions - because I want to make sure that I'm being the healthiest me I can be at this moment in time. When the answer comes back "because I need Person to do X behavior" that is not MY need. My need is usually more along the lines of "because I need to feel that I'm worth being loved." Then I can start working on how to fill that need in a healthy way.

Share as much as you want. Take what you need, leave the rest.
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:16 PM
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I agree with the other two posters, your Mom's drinking has nothing to do with you or your life. Please don't accept that thought. Even if you weren't perfect, and who is perfect? No one, even if you weren't perfect growing up this is not your fault.

When can you leave home? This is not good for you to stay there. Can you find any other way to live without being at home? This should be a priority for you to be out of there.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:41 AM
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I think it is the job of a teenager to have problems that stress out the parents while the parents try to help the teenager gain life skills to cope with those problems.

It's called growing up, and this is how you get ready to be an adult.

It's a difficult messy business at best, helping a kid become an adult. But in a dysfunctional family with an active alcoholic? Kid is not allowed to cause stress... the natural order is reversed. The kid is used by the parents.

I would personally not choose to cook dinner again for someone who vomited it back at me. It's not about teaching her a lesson about drinking, it's about me not cooking dinner for someone who vomits it at the table.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:58 AM
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Natural consequences are a good thing for alcoholics to have to deal with.

If she is used to you 'taking care of things' because she is too drunk too, she will lash out at you when you stop. But maybe you should stop? Get involved in some social activities. Join a church, book club, exercise group, study group (or anything else that interests you).

Connect with others and get out of the house. She and your Dad will have to fend for themselves when you are not around and you won't have to be around to deal with the abuse they will likely want to direct at you (although you don't deserve it).

Do it not to try and 'fix her' (you can't). Do it to bring yourself some sanity. Do it to learn that some people will appreciate you for who you are, not what you have to offer (domestic service, sex, ect). You deserve to be happy. The earlier you break away from the crazy making at home the easier it will be to find. Know that you are a magnet for abusive people right now. They have some sort of spidey sense and can pick us ACA people out of a crowd. I swear. I've been a magnet for them my whole life, and I'm a guy. I can't imagine what it's like for a girl. Participate in your chosen activities, but be wary of anyone who 'comes on strong' (not just sexually, anyone who just seems to cling to you like glue).

You asked if you 'caused' her problem with your actions. I'll reverse that. Where was she when you started dating this guy? Did your parents check him out? Did they warn you in a loving and caring way? Where they approachable when he hurt you? Where they available to console you? Did they notice the cutting and try to get you help?

I'm not saying they caused your behavior. You control you, nobody else. But parents are supposed to be their for us. To teach us, to give us tools to cope. Unfortunately for us, our parents were not able to. So, we must learn for ourselves. The trick is to identify what works and leads to happiness and cherish it, and to eliminate quickly those dysfunctional things that we learned to survive in the alcoholic home and delete them from our inventory. If you have done some things that you are not proud of, forgive yourself. Learn how to keep from repeating that mistake. Hold your head high and keep on living your life.
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:43 PM
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I cannot thank you all enough for your kind words and support; opening up about this has been a pretty major step for me, and it is really amazing to get such a supportive response.

Since the other night I've talked to both of my parents about what's going on, and it actually seems to have gotten somewhere. My mother admitted that things have gotten way out of control and decided to stop drinking (although, for whatever reason she is not willing to admit the vomiting was due to alcohol. Just my bad cooking, go figure); she's said the same thing before, but I'm still hopeful.

Reading your responses has really made me realise how dysfunctional everything is; she's an adult, capable of making her own decisions so her problems are not my responsibility. I can realise that rationally, but I still feel a twinge of guilt when I think about it- it might just take some time. I also just need to shift the focus onto myself; I need to find a way to be okay, regardless of what she does.

At the moment, I'm not in a financial position to move out of home but I think you guys are right- I need to get out and socialise more; for as long as I can remember I've been afraid of having people come over due to embarrassment, and I have been afraid to go out because I felt like I needed to be home to take care of her.

And Mracoa, you're definitely right; I do tend to attract all the wrong types of people- I actively seek friends/partners who seem more nurturing and want to be together all the time as I've seemed to miss out on getting a caretaker, but they always end up being really controlling.

I'll keep you updated on what happens next (if you would like?) but I mostly just wanted to say thank you all so much
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:31 PM
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Sometimes things work out. I hope it does. But please don't be disappointed if this doesn't last.

One thing alcoholics are good at is making promises and one thing alcoholics are bad at is keeping them.

Yes please keep us posted, we would love to hear how things are going.
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Old 05-10-2013, 05:19 AM
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I'll keep you updated on what happens next (if you would like?)
Of course we would like it if you kept us updated!

And yes, you can hope that maybe you got through to your mom. You can hope for many things in life. I tell myself to hope for the best, prepare for the worst. If your mom stops drinking, wow, that would be wonderful! If she doesn't? Then you're no worse off than you are right now.

As long as you're very grounded that "hope" is nothing more than a wish, and that reality may or may not give you what you hope for, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with hoping.

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Old 05-14-2013, 04:36 AM
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Hi Kikki,

I'm in a similar situation to you. I'm 23 and live at home with my alcoholic mum. One difference, my dad left a few years back due to my mum persistently blaming him for her drinking.

My mum doesn't work and hasn't done for around 7 years. I work full-time and, like you, do a lot of the cooking and housework. Sometimes I feel angry because she's at home all day doing nothing and I have everything to do after a 9 hour day at work.

Sometimes I feel like I can't cope. I ask myself all kinds of questions about why she does it and how I can stop it, but the truth is that there is no way I can answer these questions. My mum chooses to drink and only she can stop doing it.

Always remember that YOU are never to blame. You didn't cause your mum's problem, you cannot control it and you certainly cannot cure it.

And finally, never feel alone. There is always someone to talk to. I used to think I was the only person in the world whose mum was an alcoholic, but there are so many other people who understand what you are going through.

Try to keep strong and remember the 3 C's.
You didn't cause it.
You can't control it.
You can't cure it.

'We're just a million little Gods causing rainstorms turning every good thing to rust'
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