A teenage son is speaking about his mother….."Tonight, she left with her coworker around 5:30 and claimed they were going out for dinner. I went out bowling with some friends, ate burgers and then came home. I was back by 8:00. I called her around 10:00 to check up on her and remind her that she has to wake up early for work tomorrow since she’s filling in for her boss. She said she’d be home soon. After half an hour I called her again to see where she was. I called her over ten more times after that on both of her phones AND texted her. She never answered them. She finally came home after midnight. A big van full of drunk younger people dropped her off. Once she came inside I asked her why she didn’t answer her phone and told her that I had been worrying about her. She freaked out, called me names, said I didn’t care about her, told me to shut up and then went to bed. I think there’s something really bad going on with my mom. It seems like all she does is drink and party. I don’t know what to do or how to help her."
Here was the advice given to him: "I would advise you to go on-line and read as much as you can about Al-Anon. It sounds like you have become the mother in this situation. Calling your Mom many times to remind her she has to get up for work? That is the behavior of enabling, which you are doing out of fear for your Mom and probably out of fear for yourself. Al-Anon will teach you and give you the tools to recognize some basics about living with an alcoholic or addict. I am NOT saying your Mom is or is not an alcoholic, but it sounds like she may have a problem. Once you get some tools under your belt you can start to let your Mom find out the consequences of her actions. It might be scary if she gets fired from her job, but it is better to have these consequences now than later. As our loved ones start to change for the worse, we rush in to help them. Please try and distance yourself from your mother as much as you can. The role reversal is not healthy for you. When you are waiting up for your Mother, fearful she is drunk, that is truly wrong. Next time, go to bed, go out with friends, watch a movie, anything. It will be hard for you at first, but you will soon meet a lot of folks in Al-Anon who can give you support. If Mom sleeps through her alarm clock, let her. If she embarrasses herself in public - don’t be around her anymore."
We who have been attending Al-Anon have learned to recognize the enabling patterns we tend to develop after living with the alcoholic or drug addict. In the non-threatening Al-Anon environment, it’s a relief to share with those who have been there, and the healthy behaviors and responses we learn eventually lead us to a new beginning with or without the alcoholic in our lives. Whether it’s your mom, dad, wife, husband, significant other, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, friend, Al-Anon can help you deal with their drinking problem. Remember, you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it, but you can help yourself and hopefully in the long run your loved one.
Mason Al-Anon Group meets at the Historical Building on Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. For more information, please call 258-4441 or 347-7201.