Posted by: whimsigal | October 9, 2008

Same Song Different Day

For months, my mother has been totally dry. Something that has made all of our lives so much richer. She was able to leave the house, able to travel to Disney World, able to be a connected and social grandmother to my and my sister’s kids. Now that status has changed. My sister just called and told me that she was on the phone with our mom and she sounded tipsy. Not good considering it’s only 4:30 in the afternoon. I can tell you the moment when things changed and it was while we were on our Disney trip.

There we were, my parents, me, my boys, Beth, Kevin, and their daughter, all sitting in the Rose and Crown Pub at Epcot. The waiter came and asked for our beverage order and my dad ordered my mother a cider. I remember thinking, “What is he doing?” but not saying a word. When the drink came to the table my mother took a sip and said, “John, this tastes like beer!” He laughed and said it did have alcohol in it but only a little. She was visibly perturbed and didn’t drink much of it. She’s an alcoholic, she can’t have anything with “just a little” alcohol, never mind that what he said was a boldfaced lie. Later in the trip, they walked around Epcot and had a couple of glasses of wine. Then back at our hotel, she ordered a glass of white wine with dinner. Thankfully the waitress didn’t speak English well and brought her red wine which she doesn’t like and didn’t drink as a result. I asked her then if she was going to start drinking again and she said no. I wanted so badly to believe her. More than I have ever wanted to believe anything in my life. Unfortunately today, we know that is not the case. What can I do? Nothing. That’s the worst thing is that I can do nothing to help her out. It’s up to her to find her way back and I am completely helpless.

In days past, this falling off the wagon would have completely devastated me because it’s incredibly hard to watch someone like your mother go down such a dark, unhealthy path. It’s also dangerous for her. As a result of her drinking she has to go see a doctor every few months so he can test her liver function. Usually her M.O. is to dry out before the test so her score is not as bad as it would be and has been in the past. She has learned how to trick the test. My kids are old enough now to know that Nana is talking funny, repeating herself, falling down, and all the rest. They know what being drunk is and I don’t want them to be around my mom when she’s like that. It doesn’t feel like responsible parenting to drop my kids off to be babysat by someone who is getting drunk around them. I wouldn’t pay a babysitter to come over and watch them and get drunk in the process. My dad is not much better so I can’t count on him to be the sober one out of the two. It’s an unending and frustrating process.

What does one do when faced with a situation like this? Do I say something or do I just let her go? I’m not upset like I would have been in the past. I’ve moved on from that phase of things for the most part. I’m disappointed that my father is her greatest saboteur when he should be there to support her instead. I can tell you this much, I won’t be doing things at night when I need them to babysit. It feels like child neglect to drop my kids off with a drunk. 9am is different because I know she won’t be drunk then but I cannot in good conscience leave them there in the afternoon and evening because I have no faith that she won’t be drunk.

How sad. Just when my kids were getting to know what an incredible woman their grandmother is, she disappears. That is what I find upsetting. If she keeps this up, they will never know her for anything other than a drunk. How sad is that.



  1. Hi. I so understand. I grew up in an alcoholic home as well with my father being the drinker in the family. He is a wonderful thoughtful man when he’s sober. I just don’t like being around him when he’s drinking – I tend to revert back to that little girl I was, standing outside the bar in the small town where we lived waiting for my Daddy to come out and take me home. (Yeah, times have changed)

    For the last year it has been a constant worry for me. No one there to look after him anymore since Mom passed away. Yet, there is that voice inside that says “he’s an adult”…but that little girl doesn’t want to be an orphan either – and given that he also had heart troubles recently…

    And so, as children of alcoholics, it is all we can do to raise our children and hope they see that our moms and dads are seen for their goodness rather than this thing that seems to have such a strong hold on them.


  2. Hugs right back at ya, Audrey! You summarized exactly how I feel when you said that you revert back to being a little girl. That is SO what happens to me it’s not funny.

    I appreciate the perspective you offer and join you in your hope that our kids see the good people in our parents. I wish I had that filter, too!


  3. Alanon. I’ve been to a few meetings and I think they can be very, very helpful. (((Evie)))

  4. Big Squeezes to you.
    I’m sorry you’re feeling let down and cheated.
    It’s so hard to get over childhood hurts!

  5. My brother was an alcoholic and growing up I never felt like I really knew him. My Father-in-law and Mother-in-law, up until he broke his hip last year, would have to drink a case of beer every night just so they would sleep. My MIL no longer has the shakes like she had been doing since I have known them. We never spent the night over there because Jamey didn’t want our boys to see them getting drunk. It was hard for him and his brothers to grow up with them being alcoholics. I don’t know what to say but give you big hugs and I’ll be here if you need to talk.

  6. I’m so sorry that your having to go through this again. It’s so, so sad to see our parents falling into their own traps. It just makes me so much more determined to be different. Even though it leaves me feeling so completely helpless at the same time. Big hugs Evie!

  7. Hugs.

  8. I am so sorry Evıe. I can’t offer many words or advıce. I just want you to know that I am thınkıng of you and your boys. What a huge thıng..-K

  9. It is very sad. I am sorry for you and sorry for your boys. It sucks when you see someone close to you spinning out of control and there is nothing you can do to stop them.


  10. Hey guys! Thanks for all the kind comments. She actually got back on the wagon so I’m glad I didn’t go all apeshit about it. I just have to recognize it’s a process for her and not something easy to control. I just love her immensely and can’t bear to see her do that to herself. It’s a relief that she stopped herself so quickly. I just wish she would get professional help instead of trying to do it on her own.

    Thanks again! You guys are the best!

    Marin, I sent you an email, did you get it?

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