Boozing Mom

20 Aug

Dear LetterBalm: My mother is drinking more every day. She’s becoming an alcoholic, and I can’t stop her. I’m going into my senior year of college. I live at home, so, I look after her when she vomits or falls down. But after I get my degree, I plan to go away to graduate school, and nobody will be here for her. My parents divorced years ago – it’s just my mom and me. I love her very much, but I’m feeling frustrated and angry. How did she let herself get this bad? I’ve begged her to go to AA or get help, she promises, but she doesn’t do anything. What can I say to her to get her to help herself?

–Depressed

Alcoholism is an illness that devastates marriages, families and communities. Your feelings of frustration and anger are triggering depression that you must take care of. Please contact Al-Anon, which offers support for families; you also can meet other kids dealing with alcoholic parents. Check out student counseling services offered through your college. You can’t make your mom stop her drinking. She’s the only one who can accept that she is ill and needs help. Talk with her doctor about what’s going on and see if you can get her there for a full physical. Is there a trusted, discreet friend or relative who can talk with her? Meanwhile, hand-write a letter to your mom and give it to her when she’s relatively sober:

Dear Mom,

I’m writing this because I love you more than anything.

Mom, I’m so worried about you, especially since I will be leaving home next year for graduate school. Your drinking is getting worse, and there is nothing I can do to help you. You’re the only one who can make the decision to get help. I’m afraid you will be all alone. Will you agree to talk to someone from AA and see Dr. Lloyd for a checkup? Will you do this for my sake if not for your own?

I want you to be happy and live a long life. But only you can do this for yourself. I’ll support you in any way I can.

Love always,

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