Alcoholism at Christmas

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
I suppose I’m writing this to try and ease my own guilt at Christmas. My mum has had a difficult life and as a result of this has been an alcoholic for over 10 years. Because of this I was taken into care at 11 and I have some awful memories of Christmas. Most years my carers would drop me off only to find her drunk, so I would return home and spend the rest of the day in bed, not wanting to join in with their happy Christmas celebrations.

Around 2 years ago my mum ended up spending Christmas in ICU because of her drinking and I really hoped this would be the wake up call she needed. To make up for this I made a real effort at Christmas. We had the usual anxiety around Christmas morning and after a bit of upset I eventually persuaded her to come to my house and we had a good day.

This year there have been a number of incidents where I have visited my mum to find her drunk or find stashes if alcohol around the house. After lots of anger l and making up this happened again a couple of months ago and it feel like this is the last straw. Each time this happens I get very upset and this is now starting to impact on my boyfriend.

I suppose you could say I’ve given my mum an ultimatum after 13 years of this. I’ve told her that she needs to seek help for her drinking before we can try and get our relationship back on track. I even gave her details for a local service that would support with this. Sadly, 2 months have passed and she hasn’t engaged with this. We’ve had no contact apart from the odd call or text and I am now starting to feel really guilty because I know she has no other family or friends. This month she failed to send me a card for my birthday, something she does most years because she thinks her not seeing me is a bigger issue than her missing her child’s birthday.

Christmas is approaching and seeing all the happy families in tv is making me upset and also feeling guilty. I’m going to spend Christmas with my boyfriends family which means my mum will be on her own for Christmas. I’m starting to feel awful but my Muk has ruined most of my christmases and I just want a ‘normal’ day where I’m not brought to tears at some point. I’m going to drop presents off on Christmas Eve but I know this will be difficult.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Merry Christmas xx
Sadly, if mum doesn't want to change, there is nothing anyone can say or do which will make her change. You will be forever disappointed. Make a happy life for youself, please don't allow the drink to destroy you. As a child, you had to put up with things. As an adult, you have choices. Ultimately we are all responsible for our own happiness.
Hi Natasha
You have nothing to be guilty about. You did not cause her alcoholism, and only she is responsible for getting herself out of it if she chooses to.
On here we say change the word "guilt" to"sad" and see how your story reads now, it is sad Mum had a bad start. It is sad that impacted on you. It is sad that she hasnt accessed help. It is sad if she has chosen not to speak to you for a while.
On the other hand you have tried to help, you are making a life for yourself and have a boyfriend who loves you and who's family welcomes you.
Alcoholism is harder on the carers than the sufferers as there is NOTHING you can do to cure her.Any cure or recovery has to come from her and her alone.The best a carer can do is look after yourself emotionally and physically as it is a long long haul. So allow yourself a little sadness about her situation, but then look after yourself and look forward and enjoy spending time with those who care for you.

Christmas is hard for lots of people, don't let it be harder by allowing the Guilt Monster in unnecessarily
Hi Natasha,
Excellent advice from Mrs A and BB.
I hope you have a lovely time with your boyfriend and his family.

Look around this site a bit and you'll find images of happy families on the tv upsetting people who aren't having that sort of Christmas comes up again and again as making a difficult time even harder. I find people generally aren't very understanding if you have a difficult relationship with your parents, even the ones who empathize with most things.
Thanks everyone. I know tomorrow is going to be really hard for me. Whether that will be because she will push me away or look really well, making me feel even more bad about my decision.

The fact that she isn’t drunk every day makes it harder to deal with because I’m always on pins wondering if it will be a good day or bad day. I just hope I can switch off at Christmas and try to enjoy my day!
Natasha, if you don't get your hopes up high, you won't be disappointed. If it gets difficult, don't stick around, say you have a headache and go for a walk, or retire early. It is, after all the hype, just another day, which will pass. Plan to do something special for yourself in the following days, your own treat to yourself. It doesn't have to involve a lot of money, a good walk along the beach followed by a latte and cake can feel very special if you want it to, going at the pace you want, being very aware of the sights, sounds and smells as you go along. If the weather is wet or cold, my personal special treat is taking time out to sew with my favourite music on my CD player, especially when my sons are watching something male orientated in the lounge!