The True Effects of an Alcoholic Mother
I recently heard an interesting story on the radio of a family torn apart, one child growing up with a solid and sober father, while another brother grew up with a drunken mother. It highlighted just how far reaching the effects of excessive alcohol intake can be and I thought I would share it with you.
I am replacing the names in the story here as it is from the radio, but I hope it can highlight some interesting points for you.
The story comes from John’s point of view, the older of the two children. As a child, his parents split up when his mother found a new boyfriend, a drug dealer. At first both children remained with the mother, at one point their house was raided and the mum was held at gunpoint, while the men extorted drugs from her boyfriend. After this incident, John was removed from his mother’s care, and went to live with his dad. He ended up growing up in a normal and stable environment.
The younger brother, as he was the son of the new boyfriend remained in the mother’s care. Therefore growing up with an alcoholic mother and for some years a drug dealing father.
Fast forward about 20 years and John is called to the help of his mother. This is the comparison that we see:
John – grew up with a stable sober father:
- Successful job
- Financially stable
- Has his own house which is in good condition
- No criminal record
Ian – grew up with an alcoholic mother:
- No stable job
- In and out of the courts for small crimes
- Drunk driving
- Living with his mum in a rundown dirty apartment
What I found so interesting is just how visible the effects that an alcoholic mother has on her children, just look at that above comparison.
Ian never really had a chance:
- He was put in foster care temporarily at the age of 4, when he wondered out on the street with cash from his mum’s purse to try and buy himself breakfast as his mum hadn’t fed him.
- Cared for by multiple drugged up strangers, while his mother remained with the drug dealing boyfriend.
- Mopped up blood and vomit from his own mother multiple times as a child.
- Seen his own mother passed out and unconscious on a regular basis.
Something else mentioned, is how it trickled through his whole life.
As a child, he couldn’t invite normal kids home from school, because they would have been horrified and traumatised by what went on at his home. So what happens is he would gravitate to children in similar situations as his own, used to alcohol and drugs, they could come round, and it wouldn’t be too bad. Therefore, it ends up with not only the whole familial network on drugs but the social network being in the same situation, so this way of life becomes normal.
This “normal” life, which is so far from normal, is all Ian knows. He described it as starting a race 10 seconds after the other competitors have already started. In essence, that he is always on his back foot, not having that stable base that most have. Trying to catch up and figure out what really should be normal, and how to create that.
If you yourself are an alcoholic, or you have a loved one who is, don’t dismiss the effects that this condition has on the whole family. Remember Ian was at school, and for the most part, no one knew how bad home life was, and in the blink of an eye he was heading down the same path as his mother.
The only safe thing to do, not only for the alcoholic, but for all those that they effect, is to help get the person into rehabilitation. True rehabilitation will also look at the cause for the addiction. Why did the person turn to drugs? What changes need to happen in life for the person to not go back to the same path? What steps are needed to help the person stay on a stable and sober future?
Don’t underestimate the effects that alcohol can have on everyone involved with the alcohol abuser.