Posted by: tt | 2007/12/02

alcohol & parents

My father is an alcoholic - he drinks every single day as early during the day as possible cos his hands shake in the morning whe he hasn't had a drink. I warned him and my mother about this back in 2002 when it could have been avoided & they thought I was being disrespectful and ashamed of them despite sacrificing so much for me, educating me & this was the thanks i was giving them ... the whole guilt trip. I'm black & "children" (I'm 26) are not expected to voice their opinions to adults; I am very opinionated, i find it difficult to keep my mouth shut.
My mother gets drunk on weekends, it's been about 2 yrs, i think & i've been at home this entire year and it's driving me nuts. I've pointed out that my father is an alcoholic, he admitted that he might need help once, when he had been drinking. In black culture it's more acceptable for men to drink than women, so I have more of a problem with my mother. I try not to say anything, but I sometimes lose it. I will not lie: I'm ashamed of her when she's drunk, I cannot respect a drunk person so I tell her how i feel in the unnicest way possible. & the next morning she remembers a "brawl" but will either not say anything or sulk & make comments in passing about my lack of respect. She seems to think it's ok cos she only drinks 3 days or so in a week - i think she looks forward to the weekend just for that. If i leave her with my baby for just two hours, she cant resist for that long.

The only thing that's been keeping me more quiet than i'd ordinarily be is that i'm living in their house. i'm moving out end of this year & i'm afraid i will resent coming home so as not to witness this: last year i'd come home on long weekends & i got so sick of preaching about alcoholism i didn't bother to come even when i was on 2 weeks' leave.

I cannot get through to them. When sober, my mother doesn't look capable of the person that she becomes on weekends. i don't even know how to bring it up, i think i'm afraid of her when she's not drunk because she can say horrible things to make me feel bad & if i say a word back i'm disrespectful.
Do i leave them to their own wares?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

This is, indeed, a very difficult situation. Cultural traditions deserve some respect, but not when nthey are abused to enable someone to ignore a disease thet have or a habit which is damaging their health and risking their life and that of others. And I believe that people who expect to be respected, must expect of themselves to act respectably, and not to use their expectation of respect to enable them to get away with bad behaviour.
But there is nothing that can be done realistically to help an alcoholic unless and until THEY consistently admit that they have a serious problem and that they need help for it. Are there any older family members, uncles, aunts, whoever, to whom THEY in turn owe some respect culturally, and who they might listen to, who could approach them ?
An addtional p roblem with alcohol is that beyond a certain point not only don't they want to remember how they behaved when drunk, but they may not, while sober, be able to fully remember what happened

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Our users say:
Posted by: Britty | 2007/12/02

Take a video of your mother drunk, maybe if she saw how awful she appeared to others she could see why you don't "respect" her. Because they are your parents and older than you does not entitle them to your respect. Are there any other family members your parents respect who will help you and perhaps they will see sense. Family members often become distanced from each other due to alcohol so try and stay in touch after you left the family home however make it very clear they can't drink and expect to visit you or for you to visit them. Take Care.

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