“I can’t really remember my mum before she was alcoholic, she has been drinking for most of my formative years.
I don’t really know how it started, we started finding hidden bottles around the house, but obviously because of how young I was I never realised that it was an issue.
By the time I was old enough to understand was happening it had already happened.
To start with I was more upset than anything else because my mum wasn’t acting like a mum but as I grew older I became angry. Angry not because of what she was doing to herself but what she was doing to our family. She became selfish and every time we tried to help she would push us away and I felt like she didn’t care about us anymore. All she cared about was drinking. She had two choices, one was her family and one was the bottle, the bottle always won.
I became cold towards her, and a lot of other things. It’s such a hard thing to comprehend and there’s so many emotions kicking about that you have to become hardened to things because otherwise it will destroy and consume you.
When things were really bad, she became violent, constantly shouting, throwing things and swinging for me with the bottle. The amount of times I’ve had to take a step back and remember that that’s not my mum – she was simply a stranger that lived in our house.
Alright, she threw stuff, tried to hit me but thankfully she was always too drunk to succeed – that’s one thing I never thought I’d be thankful about.
The worst part of it was, I had my degree to my finish and I wanted to prioritise that. I wanted to say “fuck you I’m not letting this stop me achieving what I set out to”, but then there’s always the guilt.
The guilt that she;s my mother The guilt that no matter how hard I tried there was nothing I could do to help her, I was helpless and so was she.
At the end of the day she is my mother and I still get glimpses, in the moments of clarity and that’s why I can’t hate her. When she hugs me tight and says she loves me, says she sorry and that she promises to try harder next time.
She never promised she’d give the drink up for good, only that she’d cut down and stop getting drunk so often, that she’d only ever drink on the weekends. I kept telling her how much I loved having my mum back, how proud I was of her when she stayed sober.
But it was never enough, it’s as if she was driving round a roundabout and always missed the turning. The roads were clear, there’s always been a path she could have chosen, one with help to keep her going at every turn. She never chose that path.
So why don’t I hate her? Why haven’t I left home, moved out and tried to start a new life? It’s easy for you to say I should leave, should’ve left a while ago – but you don’t understand, no one ever could apart from me. This is where you might think I’m deluded…
She brought me up, and despite everything, if things were different, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Despite my best efforts not to let her problems define me, they do, they always will. But not in the negative sense you might be imagining.
She’s helped me become resilient, confident, I’ve had to adapt to deal with situations beyond my years, become more responsible. Don’t get me wrong at first I wasn’t confident, wasn’t resilient – I barely bothered to get out of bed most days.
But then I thought to myself “I can’t let her do this to me.”
Yes, most students move out, do their own washing, cleaning, cooking but they don’t have to contend with the genuine and real threat of violence day in day not – not just to me but to herself as well.
I dread the day I may come home and find her injured, or worse. This is something I shouldn’t have to consider until my later in life. No one should have to consider finding one of your parent’s dead in your twenties but this is something I’ve had to come to turns with before I turned 18 years old.
Ironically she seems to have more fucking lives than the luckiest cat in the world. But everyone has to play the hand that their dealt in life – mine just happened to have no kings or queens.
She might be lucky but I don’t feel it. If there’s one thing that I want to say to my mum, that she would understand drunk or sober it’s this:
“I love you mum, and as much as I wish things were different, I can’t thank you enough for who you’ve made me become.”
I know you think I’m stupid, crazy, damn right out of my mind.
But on a light-hearted note, let’s face it if you don’t laugh you’ll cry,
So I’ll leave you with an old Yorkshire adage which I live by everyday: “IT’LL BE REYT”.