Daughter of an Alcoholic Mother

Old 12-06-2010, 06:21 PM
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Daughter of an Alcoholic Mother

Hello all, I'm new here, but not new to alcoholism. I am almost 20 years old, and have been living with a (used to be) high functioning, alcoholic mother.

I am an only child. My father had lymphoma when I was a baby, and could no longer have kids after his chemotherapy. Sometimes I feel like being an only child has only made the pain deeper, and I feel more alone than ever now. My mother started to drink heavily when I was in 7th grade. (I’m a junior in college now, so it’s been 8 years) At this point, I didn’t really understand. I just know my mom and dad fought a lot, and my mother acted weird.
As I got older, it got worse and I started to realize everyone else’s parents don’t drink every day. My mom would drive me and my friends around drunk, acting strangely, swerving, laughing etc. She told me it was because I was an “aweful” child during middle school and that’s why she started drinking. When I was in high school, she tried to commit suicide by overdosing on my dad’s Xanax and drinking a handle of vodka. My dad called 911 and she got her stomach pumped at the hospital. She went to an inpatient rehab for 2 weeks (as required by our insurance), but bought a case of beer on her way home.
During all these years, she never missed a day of work. She is a 5th grade teacher. This year she misses weeks at a time, finding any excuse to drink herself into a coma and sleep all day. She pees and even poops on herself. I am talking totally intoxicated. She tries to drive while she is this drunk, to go get more beer, wine, or vodka. She drinks screwdrivers on her way to work (to teach children) and is drunk by the time she gets home from work. One weekend she lost her keys while my dad was out of town, and pulled a butcher knife on me claiming I hid her keys from her. There are beer bottles hidden all over our house. I haven’t had friends over in years. My boyfriend and I are very serious and I spend large amounts of time with his family. His parents ask about mine all the time, wanting to meet them. However, my mom will show up to any meeting wasted and continue to drink even more. My mom tries to sneak alcohol out of restaurants.
She is extremely angry. Her drinking is something we aren’t allowed to talk about. She will fly off the handle and scream and curse. She told me tonight she drinks because my dad and I make her unhappy, but if she divorces my dad he wouldn’t give her all the money she wants.
I can’t handle the pain anymore. When you try to talk to her about it, she blames me and my dad, says her life sucks, and my dad and I are “selfish pieces of ****.” She sat me down and told me she wouldn’t quit drinking for my dad, her job, or for me. If that’s the case, she said she’d leave. My dad you ask? Where is he? He is suffering from a major heart disease and is bed ridden almost every day. He says he cannot leave her during her time of illness because she was there for him when he had cancer. How is this fair? Why do I have to hurt because of her?
What can I do? Is there anyone else suffering from this kind of situation?
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:57 PM
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Hi Skgarcia and welcome to SR, I am so pleased that you found us but sorry for what you are going through.

Just know that you are not on your own and you will definitely find someone here going through similar circumstances to your own.

How is this fair? Why do I have to hurt because of her?
What can I do? Is there anyone else suffering from this kind of situation?
Alcoholism is a dreadful desease and effects everyone who comes in contact with it, not only the alcoholic. This is why I am so pleased that you found us as you can now start learning about the desease and hopefully make life more bearable for yourself. You will learn ways to protect yourself from feeling hurt by your mother and lesson the suffering you feel due to the situation you find yourself in.

Firstly, I am going to suggest that you google and see if you can find 'Al-anon' meetings close by to you. This is a good source of direct communication with others who are being or have been effected with someone who abuses alcohol. Secondly, keep posting here and reading some of the stickies above. You definitely arent alone, and there is definitely something you can do to make things better.

Many more will be along with some useful insight, so keep reading and welcome once again.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:18 PM
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SK it isn't fair...

...and it's the life my 15 year old daughter has been living as well. It is what it is. You didn't cause it, you can't cure it, and you can't control it.

Good news however! There is a bottom line here, and by finding this website you have begun to find it. Read the sticky posts above and to find the rest of it go here:

How to find a meeting in the US/Canada/Puerto Rico

Try at least six meetings before you decide if it is right for you. It changed my life, and I hope it changes yours too.

Take care,

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Old 12-06-2010, 09:04 PM
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Welcome to the SR family!

Please pull out your keyboard and make yourself at home. You will find support and information here for yourself.

I am sorry that your mother has turned to alcohol to escape.
I am sorry that she is not the mother you need her to be.

You are a young woman taking steps to find answers and a better way. You show strength and determination. Good on you!

Alcoholism affects the entire family.

When I first came to this website, I learned about the 3 C's of alcoholism:
I did not cause it
I can not control it
I will not cure it

I could not control or cure my loved ones addiction to alcohol. I tried love, yelling, begging, manipulating, etc. to the point of frustration and exhaustion.

I finally accepted that I was powerless over alcohol and my life had become unmanageable. I began here to look for help and I also started attending Alanon meetings.

There is another 12 step support group that may interest you: ACOA. We have a group here at SR for ACOA's. Adult Children of Alcholics.

You are not alone SK.

Please keep reaching out for help and support. We care about you.

Here is a link to the ACOA forum:
Adult Children of Addicted/Alcoholic Parents - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information

And here is a link to one of our sticky (permanent) posts that contains steps that have helped some of us:
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:31 PM
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Thank you everyone for the very helpful replies. It's late here, but sometime in the morning I will check into the websites listed. I appreciate it so much.

I'm starting to resent my dad, as well. It seems the more I read here, spouses of 20+ years left for the sake of their children. It frustrates me my dad didn't leave when I was younger, so I didn't have to go through all this pain. Being an only child makes it worse, I have almost no one to talk to about it.

I've given up on trying to get her to quit. Is it normal for a heavy alcoholic like her to enjoy drinking the way she does? She will tell you to your face sober or drunk she doesn't WANT to quit.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by skgarcia View Post
I've given up on trying to get her to quit. Is it normal for a heavy alcoholic like her to enjoy drinking the way she does?.
Alcohol has become her priority. Everything else is an option.

Alcoholics become addicted to the alcohol.
They become addicted physically and need the alcohol fix to function.
They become addicted mentally and need the alcohol to cope.
They become addicted emotionally and need to have it around like a safety blanket.

SK, I am a recovering Alcoholic.
I am a mom, too.

I had become addicted to alcohol.
It became my obsession.

I had a warped sense of reality and I was in denial about how my drinking was affecting my family.

Today, in my life, we are all recovering.

i encourage you to keep reaching out for the support you need.
We are here to help you.
We care about YOU!
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theuncertainty (12-21-2010)
Old 12-07-2010, 07:23 AM
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Hi, Sk.

I am a 40 year old woman, have a 5 year old son, and have aan alcoholic significant other who is in recovery.

I feel for you. I am sorry that your mom has kind of checked out of life like this, and that your dad is scared and weak and cannot leave.

My dad was an alcoholic, he was in bad shape when he died when I was 13. On the very day that my dad died, my non-drinking mother picked up his bottle of gin, chugged it, and began 25 years of alcoholism. I spent my teens putting her to bed, barred my own friend s from our house out of sheer terror that they would see how truly f'ed up everything was, first, when my dad was drinking, and then when my mom took it up after he died. After my dad died, my mom spent years drunkenly accusingme of killing him. If I had only been better, she would say. She did go to rehab, got sober, did her steps, made amends, then 4 years later CHOSE out loud to drink again, and is now not there for any of me or my 5 brothers and sisters.
My child(her grandson) does not spend time alone with her.

Your mom is abusive to you. The things she says and has said and done to you are vicious, irresponsible and unsafe She is not present anymore. She is in an advanced stage of alcoholism.

First off, you may know this in your mind, but do you know in your HEART that you are not the things she calls you? That you are NOT the cause of her drinking?

You are 20 years old. I suggest you remove yourself from your family dynamic. You are quite young enough to change the way you move forward in life.

If you cannot do that right away, I would suggest starting to make a plan. If you can, begin setting aside money to move. If I were you, I would move far enough away that I can begin to allow the smoke to clear and a new way of living to emerge without being threatened by all of your parents dysfunction.

Many people who live in severly dysfunctional families can choose, early on to not continue the chain of sickness. You are young enough to do that. You can go, find healthy friends, start building the kind of life and relationships that you always knew were out there.

My A is my sons father, and he is very sick with alcoholism, is sober, in recovery, and he has found that his family patterns are so ingrained...he feels overwhelmed and that his life will just be a mess, no escape..
BUT, his oldest brother lived the worst of the abuse, the worst of the dysfunction in their house growing up. He moved away the day he turned 21. He moved 2500 miles away. He got into college, studied psychology, met a great girl. HE removed himself from that family, and he is now, 15 years later, the entire familys' go-to guy for help in any issue.

I admire him.
I also was him. I was the youngest of 6, and I moved to California from Pennsylvania the day I turned 18. I just had to go and try to build up on some better way of living. I did that. I had a successful life, a happy and solid career. I did retain some messed up traits in and around co dependency, which led me to attract a sever alcoholic as a partner. BUt I did not BECOME that. Al anon is teaching me a lot about my separateness as a person.

I firmly believe even that tendency in me could have been avoided if I had started going to Alanon sooner in my life.
ALanon teaches us the skills to separate our tangled feelings from the sick people in our lives.

You can make these changes, and still love your family. Your mom and dad will still be your mom and dad, but, you can, sadly, realistically accept here and now, that they may never come to rescue you from the sickness that has taken over your family. You have to rescue yourself.
ANd you can. The fact that you are 20, and seeking support here is impressive. I dont know your financial situation, but, if you have the power to change it, and gather some money to make a plan, I would consider that the best thing you can do to help first yourself, then your family.

Dont get me dont have to move thousands of miles away, but you could gain alot of clarity by not being in the day to day of it. I know they are your mom and dad...and it is hard, and I am sorry.
I wrote this the other day, but it is resonating a lot recently:

They say living well is the best revenge, but really living well is the BEST gift you can give to anyone in your life.

There is no honor or progression in going under with someone or two people who do not have the will to save themselves.
You can be no help to you or your parents if you become like them, or keep suffering their abuse and neglect.

I hope that you find the strength to rise up out of this mess. You did not ask for it, you do not deserve it, and you do not have to have a life full of it.

Keep posting, please!
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:29 AM
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Wow, thank you so much for the long and meaningful reply, both of you.

First of all, I do think some of it is my fault... to a degree. She says my dad and I never help her out to do anything. However, my dad really can't and I try my hardest to stay away from this house. She says I never say I love you to her or give her any compassion. But I ask myself why she deserves to receive any love and compassion from me? All she has done my entire life is emotionally damage me. I was the parent, cleaning soiled sheets, driving her home drunk, watching over her incase she drank herself to death. I feel that I could do more, but does she deserve it?

I didn't realize my age would awe you guys. I am, already at this young age, totally incapable of dealing with this anymore. My father is helpless and my mom is still around because of money issues. I am almost through with college, but until I graduate I have to stay home. I make straight A's at the University of Memphis, and I'm afraid if I get a job my grades will slip. I tried telling my dad I needed some help to move out, because I cannot mentally deal with her. I've told him this multiple times--PLEASE, if you can't leave her, please help me get away. He says he can't afford it and brushes me off. We are all miserable and trapped in this house in our own ways. My dad just can't leave her--he will try, threaten it, but in the end never does. She won't leave to do her own thing because she wants more money. I am stuck in the middle, innocent and trapped, more so than any one else in the equation.

It hurts to not have a mother. I have no extended family to talk to, no siblings, just my boyfriend and he doesn't understand. My boyfriend's family is reminiscent of a dream to me: Parents happily dating since high school, have family functions, go out to eat together, go on vacations, have friends and families over, even something as simple as watching TV together NEVER happens in my house. I try to spend time with them, but going home is dreadful.

I honestly think my dad is in denial just as much as my mother. Is there anything you guys could suggest for me to do to try to open his eyes?
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by skgarcia View Post
I honestly think my dad is in denial just as much as my mother.
Can you think of any other reason why he would put up with this type of life, and behavior?

On a side note, colleges usually have free (or low cost/sliding scale payment) counseling programs that could potentially be very beneficial to you - to give you validation that the life you shared at home is not functional, normal, or healthy, and to help you gradually understand the level of dysfunction and abuse (verbal abuse, emotional manipulation and abuse, abandonment) you have been subjected to. A good counselor might also have ideas of resources that you could use to help you remove yourself from that household sooner. Pull out all the stops and use whatever resources are available to you, and you might be surprised at the solutions that present themselves.

Sending encouragement!

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Old 12-07-2010, 11:33 AM
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Good god, I'm so sorry you have to deal with this, all the while going through college. I'm floored that you're doing so well academically. Congrats.

I have to agree with Buffalo about making a plan to cut this person out of your life. It hurts tremendously that she is your mother, but all things considered, what choice do you have?

I remember hearing the accusations from my XAH (ex alcoholic husband), telling me I didn't appreciate him enough, didn't show him enough affection, blah blah blah. In the beginning, I did everything in my power to reassure him, to love him, essence I was trying to feed a gaping hole that didn't have a bottom. Whatever I did would NEVER be enough, and of course, it would become an excuse for his drinking. Eventually, I realized EVERYTHING would become an excuse for his drinking.

Have you read this classic reading sticky btw? It's so awesome I keep recommending it to others:
Excuses alcoholics make

And yah, I also second the counselling suggestion. When I was in university, we had access to a counselling service for free. It wasn't stupendous, but it got the ball rolling, and through it, I found other resources that helped me out when I needed it.`

Keep posting! SR is always open...
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:44 PM
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I just helped a young person your age who is making straight As in school get all the funding she needs to declare herself independent of her alcoholic and addicted parents and afford to finish school and live on her own. Go to your school's financial aid office, ask them for a form that you are not a part of your parents' income, ask your dad to sign it, apply for FAFSA, work-study, and anything you're short of, you most likely would qualify for some on campus scholarships because of your grades. If you're still short on funds, you may also qualify for a small student loan to finish out the year. I recommend you get a roommate or two or live on campus if possible where it can be inexpensive. You don't have to live in that environment with your parents. And you can find some good Al-anon groups in the area in Memphis. Lots of good ones there.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:31 PM
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SK, my background is similar to yours. Both of my parents are alcoholics, and have been as long as I can remember. I have a half sister, but she moved out when I was 8, and we have very little contact. I went to a local commuter college, but chose to get my own apartment (with roommates), to have some sanity. I paid for it with small student loans and a part-time job. I graduated with a high GPA, even though I held down a p/t job during school. (Frankly, it helped build my resume.) Working while in school wasn't ideal, but I decided I could spend my time dealing with the craziness, or I could spend my time at a job. The job was less stressful, by far. My parents paid for my schooling, but I paid for my living expenses. It was a compromise I could live with.

If you do want to move out, talk to your school's financial aid department. If your father is still willing to pay for school expenses, you may be able to get an apartment (or live in student housing), and pay for that part yourself. (In my state, to be considered for aid on your own, without considering parents' income, you'd have to be declared emancipated. I don't know how it would work in your state.)

No, you are not responsible for her alcoholism. Like nodaybut2day said, you're trying to fill a hole that can't be filled. Shifting the blame of her alcoholism to you is classic alkie talk. They really have no concept of reality, and will say what they have to say to justify their continued disordered behavior. (Believe me, I have heard some doozies!)
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Old 12-20-2010, 05:47 PM
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Hi skgarcia:

I am really sorry you are going thru this. I am a woman and my mother is a recovering alcoholic. She was very high functioning for a time (no one but us knew) but she went down hill fast. I'm a bit older than you, but I remember her calling me drunk every single night when I was in college and telling me I was a horrible person or trying to pick a fight with me. Like your mom, my mom blamed me. It's just an excuse.

As an example, my mom once tried to convince me she could drink because she figured out what her issues were. That doesn't even make sense, now does it?

It's not a fair illness. I was always the "good child", got great grades, never caused any problems and my mother still was an alcoholic. It wasn't till I was much older that I realized it had nothing to do with me. I could have been a lottery winning Miss America and it still would have turned out that way.

Your mother, like my mother, is ill. And there is nothing you can do, besides support her IF she decides to get treatment. I would suggest going to some Al-Anon meetings, if nothing else, you would feel less alone. It feels sort of corny at first, but it really does help. You will probably look around in amazement, shocked, that people are verbalizing how you feel. I know I did. You could try to ask your dad to go with you, but don't be surprised if he says no. Even if you are the only one that goes, that is enough to start changing things.

As far as moving out or college, try to see if there is anyone in your campus mental health center that can help you go through your options. What helped me was moving away from her and supporting myself until she decided to get help.

I know this is easier said than done, but try not to let this ruin your life. Form friendships with healthy people who are able to care about you as much as you do them. Most kind people will not run away screaming once they hear your mom is an alcoholic, instead, they will empathize and care about you.
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