A Mother’s love in the face of a Son’s Alcoholism.
The following is a letter a mother wrote to her son and shared with me to put on this blog in the event it may help other parents. It is beautifully written and shares the pain-filled decision she’s had to make. Names have been replaced by __________ to protect identities.
Once again I am writing to insure there is no confusion regarding what I am about to say.
I have never wavered in my love for you ___________, or in my willingness to do whatever was needed for your safety and well being. I have no doubt that you have the strength and determination necessary to reclaim your life. But I have become painfully aware that I cannot do it for you. Nor will you be able to do so yourself if you continue to drink.
It is excruciatingly painful for me to say and to believe, but there is no doubt in my mind that you are an alcoholic. As long as you continue to drink, nothing will improve for you. For my part, I will no longer support your drinking, or ‘look the other way’. I am doing what you have often requested: ‘treating you like a forty year old man’. When you are willing and able to acknowledge all that you have lost, and to accept the truth of how much your life has been destroyed by alcohol, I believe that you have the strength and the will to change things.
As far as I can see, you have two options:
- To quit drinking and do whatever is needed to take back your life;
- Continue deeper and deeper into alcoholism, until it leaves you sick and alone and possibly homeless. It will inevitably, kill you.
If you choose to quit drinking, I will support you in any way I can and offer you two options:
1.) A Residential treatment center where you can live for up to three months and find help and support from people who know the difficulties of alcohol addiction and are themselves struggling toward sobriety. This is what helped _________________ return to the family and life he had lost.
2.) I will allow you to live at home as long as you follow the program and do not drink. Although this sounds like business as usual, it is not.
To live in my house, I will expect you to:
a.) Meet once with a woman who is an expert on alcohol and its effect on the brain.
b.) Connect with a new doctor (whom I will recommend).
c.) Attend DRA (Dual Recovery Anonymous) meetings 2x/week with _____________ and 2x/week with __________, AND 2x/week on your own. There are AA meetings at ____________ and at the big church on __________ that you can walk to.
If you refuse to stop drinking:
1.) It is only a matter of time that you will be homeless which will inevitably lead to hospitalization and/or jail.
2.) There is no reason for you not to move to Reno where I will buy you a house. You can stay inside, and do exactly what you do here: smoke and drink and inevitably, talk to yourself. If you ever find yourself in jail or the hospital, you will have a home to return to. And someone to call if/when you need help.
I will never stop loving you ____________, but I am 72 years old and could die tomorrow. I can no longer afford the stress of living with your drinking and the constant fear and worry of what it might lead to. Today, I know you have lied to me about many things and, because of my love and devotion to you, I have often looked the other way. Or hoped against hope that you were telling me the truth, even when I knew you were not. In accepting that behavior I was not helping either of us. I believe that I have finally awakened to the reality of what I am dealing with. I can only hope that you will do the same.
All my love,