Day 177: Will alcoholism kill my mom?

As I approach the 6 month mark, I am faced with a difficult piece of news. Last week I found out that my mother (a heavy alcoholic since as far back as I can remember) has recently developed alcohol induced hepatitis, or as she puts it… her liver is “very tired”.

This is how I put it: shit just got reaaaaaal, man.

Until now, my mother had always boasted that her liver was fine. My father had always marveled at “how strong and solid that woman is”.

But now it’s not. Now she is not.

She is mortal. She is 60. She has induced her own accelerated mortality. She has been slowly drinking herself to death for decades. Her little sister drank herself to death. And traumatized her own three kids who found her in the bathroom one day coming home from school.

Alcoholic Hepatitis is the stage before fibrosis and cirrhosis. The damage to the liver is real. If it isn’t too severe, it can sometimes be reversible, on one condition: the person has to quit drinking completely, ASAP (note: I am not a doctor and in no position to give medical advice. Please ask your doctor if you are facing anything similar!!!!). Knowing my mother and her consumption, however, I am skeptical as to whether she is still in the “not too severe damage” category.

Either way, here it is, at last. The moment both dreaded and awaited, for so long. The taboo in the family, finally broken. It so simple: If she wants to live, my alcoholic mother has no choice but to quit drinking, “forever”. Holy fucking shit.

Obviously, I got my hopes up. I mean, she set a date. My dad also said he’d quit with her, for emotional support. I said “I’m six months ahead of you down the road, we’re on the same path, we can all do this together !”. Hell, she even saw a doctor (I’ll skip the whole bit about her own medical career and how she uses it as an excuse to refuse getting help herself).

She would never choose option B -drinking herself to death-, right?

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight ? That would be insane, right?

Come to think of it… she did say she was going to do this without medication. And she did dryly reply “I’ll find my own way, thanks” when I sent her a link to One Year No Beer, hoping the community might give her extra support. hmmm……..

Then I spoke her on the phone the other day. “Ooooh, turns out my quit date was a bit too ambitious. I’m going to cut down more slowly and then I’ll stop”.

Urgh.

My stomach sank when I heard those words. It sank like it has so many times before, and I got that familiar feeling I felt to often as a kid: never get your hopes up.

The broken promises. The disappointed hopes. The anger, the frustration. The fear. The certainty: never trust your alcoholic parent. Not even when their life is at stake, apparently.

Sigh.

I mean, I get it…. a week or two before my own quit date, I was terrified. I lied, I hid my drinking. Anything but having to give it up.

If MY first couple of weeks were hard, then what’s it going to be like for HER? This is a lady who’s been pouring herself a glass of wine first thing in the morning for YEARS.

So once more, I find myself having to detach. To give up hope, even when it’s the hope that my mother won’t drink herself to death.

It’s really hard, because I care. It has taken me 30 years and a lot of therapy to stop wanting to change this, to fix her.

By now, I know that all I can do is keep “setting the right example”, and refrain from preaching. This is her life, her choice, her responsibility. I cannot save my alcoholic parent. I can only focus on my own path.

Maybe she will quit, just not as soon as she announced. Either way: it’s her path.

As I approach this 6 month mark, I therefore find new motivation: to keep going, at least until I hit 1 year. There’s no way I’m sitting at a bar, downing pints, while my mother’s “tired” liver slowly carries her to a sad, poisoned, pickled (yes, that’s a reference) death. This has also given me more fuel to keep ignoring the “you’ve come so far, one drink won’t hurt” crap.

And remember why I’m doing it in the first place. To not become her.

xxx Hang in there everyone!

Anne

Published by nomorebeer

Learning how sobriety helps you ENJOY life.

39 thoughts on “Day 177: Will alcoholism kill my mom?

  1. Firstly … nearly 6 months Anne .. amazing and well done.
    Secondly, what a difficult and emotional situation to find yourself in and as Collette says, you have the right outlook. It’s going to be really tough and I’m sending love. Reach out if you need it xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeah, quitting never happens on THE date but at least she knows she’s dying sooner than later so has a bit more impetus to get on it. You and your dad are doing everything right to support her, the rest is up to her. It’s scary but I had a pretty messed up liver 2 years ago and now after being sober it’s as healthy as ever. If she keeps going back on her word, talk to her about potentially going to rehab. If she outright refuses that, she’s not serious.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, wow thank you for sharing your story, it was really helpful, especially as I feel 100% helpless right now. The f***ed up part is that my mother is a doctor and was an addictologist for the last 10 years or so: she spent the last years of her career helping addicts of all kinds get clean, which makes her denial about her own addiction even more deeply engrained and perverse…. sigh… but you’re right, only she can do this 🙂 And yeah, she must be scared shitless too 🙂 I certainly was when my quit date approached xxx Anne

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Anne, I’m so sorry you are going through this. At least now she has to face it, but you’re right that there’s no way to know what she will do and it’s her decision. You are doing what you can do already. It does seem like she may really need professional help given her history. Rehab could be the best (and safest) thing. But, she has to decide to go. Take good care of yourself! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes thank you ❤ I really don't see her accepting the idea of rehab unfortunately. As a doctor I think he has too much "pride" to put herself in the patient's shoes. WHICH SUCKS. But she's quit for several months on her own before – she knows how to do it. The question is will she actually do it "for good". All I can do right now is hope for the best and let go and live my own life 🙂 xxx Anne

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  4. Anne I feel for you – I could so easily have been your mum to my daughters (hiding behind your profession as if that makes you different from anyone else) and it is so hard to watch someone you love not love themselves enough to take care of themselves. You on the other hand are doing great! I agree with Anne you are showing her it can be done and somewhere inside she will admire you for that and hopefully take from it that it’s never too late to be your best self lots of love and hugs 💞💞💞

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    1. awwww thank you DGS 😉 I hope you are right 🙂 and yes, this is why I keep saying your daughters are lucky to have you as a mom 🙂 but even if my sober-living in the end makes no difference in my own mother’s life, at least it will have in mine 🙂 sending lots of love and hugs back ❤ xx Anne

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  5. Hi Anne, we started together on this and I’ve witnessed your highs and lows but this situation with your mum is a real bummer. But she sees you staying sober, that will and must mean something. I hope she finds the strength. Thinking of you .Jim xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thank you Jim ❤ your comment helped me realize how I am dealing with this "bummer" much better now than I would have a few months ago: sobriety is really helping me with emotional regulation 🙂 I am glad to have you as a witness and be yours in return 🙂 You hold a special place in my heart ! xxx ❤ Anne

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  6. As they say Anne, all we can do is sweep our side of the street. You are doing a great job. Keep sweeping.
    In my limited experience, the ‘smarter’ people are, like your mum, the harder it often seems to be for them to admit defeat and truly accept that they are not as clever as they think they are. The Ego won’t go lightly. I hope your mum finds a way, but as you say, that’s entirely up to her. Just keep taking care of yourself. BB

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ooooooh you are spot on with the ego …. so strange how some people can have such “huge” egos yet be so fragile. Well, not that strange when you think about it, if the ego serves a defense mechanism…. sigh 🙂 but thank you ❤ I hope she makes the right choice, for HER 🙂 xxx Anne

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  7. Dear Anne… this is heavy. It’s soooooo hard to see a loved one make choices that don’t seem to make sense, or that are ultimately selfish. And yet they are just doing their best, just like the rest of us, ultimately, hard as that is to remember. But I feel the same way as the others here, you are doing the right thing in stepping back from trying to convince anyone, while continuing to set a good example in your own actions. People won’t change until they themselves are ready, and sometimes if we try to change them they’ll be even more stubborn just out of subconscious issues.

    Sending so much love. ❤️You are such a caring and wise-hearted being. Always love reading your posts. xoxoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. awww Nadine ❤ So good to hear from you ! Than you for your kind kind words as always. I know you have been through so much recently, so thank you for taking the time to comment here ❤ (Yes, my mother is definitely a stubborn contrarian – as are all my romantic partners… hmmmmm…. food for thought ^^) 🙂 ❤ Anyway, we are so glad to have you back xoxoxo Anne

      Liked by 1 person

  8. ALCOHOLISM IS A 100%v genetic disease its nobody’s fault its nothing to do with morality or immorality ………the only way is ARRESTMENT (STOP)…….if you can get PURE ARTICHOKE JUICE – that can help the liver cells regenerate . I know people personally who have halted the progression of alcohol-induced hepatitis ……It can be done ….hope & pray

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I wish you well with your recovery and congratulations on achieving 6 months. One day at a time we get a daily reprieve from the dis-ease. The Serenity Prayer is a great source of comfort and empowerment, I use it as a mantra when the fear gets overwhelming.

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    1. thank you so much for your comment (I only just saw it)! Yes the Serenity prayer is the best mantra 🙂 it keeps getting deeper and deeper the more time passes by (it’s almost been 9 months for me now!!!). Sending my best to you in these difficult pandemic times xxx Anne

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