Right, I have to let you know, before I start that this is my place to work things out sometimes. Today is a day like that. I am not sure if I have been the most hideous daughter a woman could want, or just very honest. Maybe sometimes honesty is not the best policy.
Ok, here goes.
For as long as I can remember its been a family joke that there was never a photo of my mum without her holding a cigarette and a glass of Scotch. As I grew older I began to realise that this was not actually a joke. Actually it was quite serious.Stuff has happened in our family that I won't go into here, but more and more I was aware of her drinking especially.
A few years ago we went on holiday with my mum and over the 2 weeks we were away she drank ( together with the wine that we all drank ) 2 litres of scotch. That seemed like a lot for 1 person to drink and when we got home I contacted Al-Anon the organisation for families of alcoholics. They said that basically there was nothing I could do. It was her life, her decision to do something if she thought she had a problem.
That was a shock. I thought they might come to the rescue. But, no. And to be honest the more I thought about it the more I realised they were right. One day, in the morning so she was sober I talked to her. I said that I needed to be honest with her and I told her that I was worried. I said I was sorry for upsetting her, but that I couldn't live with myself if I just stood by and saw her getting worse without trying to help.
Basically I was told to mind my own business. There was no problem. She was very angry and I said I would never raise the issue again. Until today.
We spent the day together. It was lovely, apart from her drinking. She drank steadily all day. Red wine and scotch. Her old friend had been there for the weekend and confided in me that the night before they had gone out to eat and my mum had been a nightmare. Slurring, forgetting what she'd ordered and shouting about not being allowed to smoke in the restaurant. The day went on and I tried hard to ignore everything. When we got back home there was a message from her wanting to talk about an ongoing problem between my sister and my brother. Its something that's been going on for ages, we all know about it and consider it their problem. They are adults. It will be resolved. All of a sudden my mum is in tears " Is there a problem in my family ? "
I just snapped. I didn't shout, but I did say what I thought. And that was that she knew full well what the problem was and I wasn't prepared to discuss it when she had obviously been drinking. " I have not been drinking !" Yes, you have. You have been drinking all day, just like every other day and I'm sick of it. You have a problem which you need to sort out. You need to look at how much you drink and realise that it is not normal. I am sorry to be so blunt, but I cannot sit here and pretend that everything is alright. I said I would never speak to you about this again, but I have to. You have a problem and you are the only one who can do anything about it.
"Well, you should have a look at yourself ! "
Mummy, I know full well that I am not perfect, but I don't have a drink problem and you do. You drink every day. Wine and Scotch.
"This conversation is over. Goodbye. "
More was said but this was the gist of it.
And that was an hour ago. Part of me is glad that I was honest and said to her face what most people say behind her back. Part of me is appalled that I have hurt my mum. This is a place I can come to put down my thoughts. There are times as an adult when you feel quite lost and I am gutted that we have come to this.