I mentioned before that I consider my mother to have a drinking problem. It’s existed as long as I remember. It’s never affected her duties as a mother, but it made me feel upset many a time. I asked her to stop and she refused to acknowledge that she had a problem. These days she seems to have scaled her drinking back a lot. But who am I to tell – what people perceive to be true isn’t always the case.
My mothers drinking and her refusal to stop made me feel angry and frustrated and sad. It made me feel unimportant. Why couldn’t she stop, for me? Once when she was drunk she told me that she ‘needed it to cope – what else have I?’ That shook me. Weren’t we enough?
I’ve been angry for a long time. This evening I had a huge argument with someone close to me and I was distraught. I contemplated going out. I had a fleeting thought about drinking, but I knew that it wouldn’t make me feel any better. I knew that had I gone out I wouldn’t drink. But somehow I ended up staying in, with my mum. Who had had some wine to drink. She talked to me about life and the past and her and my father. What she told me upset me, but I needed to hear it. She cried, but I held it together. She suffered from depression when I was a child and told me a lot about her struggles. She told me that she wants to try to change her life now – start exercising regularly and taking better care of herself. She asked me to help her. Of course I said yes. The night ended on a positive note.
Now, lying in my bed I feel guilt.
For the anger and frustration I’ve felt over the years. For brushing my mother off and making her feel like a bad person. For adding to what made her sad. For being impatient with her, and not making her feel as loved as I could have. For forgetting that she’s human too.
We’re not that different, my mother and I. Maybe eventually I can help her in the way that I’m helping myself.