Dear Annie: I love my mother, but not after 7 p.m., when she starts drinking. For 11 years, I have suffered through her alcoholic abuse and have been ravaged by the physical and emotional agony that come with it.
My family and I have done everything possible to tell her how much we care and want her to get help. She always replies with a wonderful speech about how she will change and make sure we all stay together and happy. But after about a week, she reverts to her old ways. My mother is a lovely person with a good heart, but she endured a lot of emotional pain in the past and likes to drown it out instead of dealing with it.
I recently married and am thankful to be away from the situation. I have just discovered that I am expecting my first child. You cannot imagine the sheer joy I feel, along with the complete horror of seeing my drunken mother wanting to be a part of my baby’s life.
I want Mom to be a loving, reliable grandmother, but so far, she has not been able to control herself. This has become a constant worry. I don’t want my child brought up around alcohol. How do I allow Mom to be near the baby when she cannot control her drinking? – Michigan Mom-to-Be
Dear Michigan: When Mom is drunk, she should not be around your child, and you should tell her so. Hopefully, access to the new grandchild will provide the incentive for her to finally get the help she needs. If you believe she is depressed and is self-medicating with alcohol, encourage her to discuss this with her doctor. Tell her you will make the appointment and go with her. If she truly wants to sober up, she will do this. In the meantime, please contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) at (888) 4AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666), for family and friends of those with drinking problems.