My Alcoholic Mother Lives With Me, Not Sure What To Do?

I desperately need some help here. I don’t drink & have raised my family. However, I am now raising my mother due to alcoholism. My mother was going to sell me when I was born. Her mother stepped in and adopted me. Her dying wish was for my mother and me to be close. I have tried to honor that. I have been her designated driver for the last five years having to get up in the middle of the night to go get her from the local bars only a few hours before having to go to work. Unrealistically, she gives me 5 minutes to get all the way downtown to get her or she takes off drinking & driving. I drive her car while my husband follows me. She gets wonderful care, but she cusses me out and tries to hit me when she falls when I try to check her injury. The last two times I have just left her sitting on the ground and went home leaving her the responsibility.

In life I have had a tremendous amount of success; however I feel no self worth. This has wrecked my life. Two days ago I reassured her how much I love her and have tried to be good to and take care of her. I told her how abusive she is to me and how she is getting meaner when she’s drunk. She doesn’t remember any of it. I told her I cannot be held responsible for her actions that she needs to make prior arrangements to get home. I told her I cannot take it anymore.

Did I tell you I also wear an I.V insulin pump and an implanted pacemaker? When I was in the hospital last month she was “too sick” to come see me but not so to go to the bar that night. She called to “check on me” basically to see when I would be able to drive! I am thinking about totally walking away & moving now where I want to retire someday, but am experiencing a myriad of feelings. I am not in good health and want to enjoy life at some point. What worries me is she will be left behind to fend for herself making her vulnerable to robbery when “crocked”. Am I cruel if I just leave forcing her to take responsibility? She has no memory of the night prior whatsoever!

Daugther-wise, there is no bond, and I am seriously thinking of permanently walking away. Her drunk dope-head friends take precedence. It was a wise decision to stop driving her, and my decision stands. None of my college degrees has prepared me for this. Please give me some advice. Thank you


Having a parent or child with substance abuse issues is one of the most difficult challenges a person has to face in life. The wisest thing you can do is force her to pay her consequences for her actions. If she gets drunk and can’t drive, then she can’t get home. If she drives, she goes to jail, kills someone in an accident, or possibly injures or kills herself. Those are all consequences of her actions, not yours. You are not responsible for her actions.

No, you are not cruel to walk away from her. In fact, it may be cruel for you to stay and continue to enable her. Enabling is one of the deadliness actions you can take with your mother. It enables her to fall further into addiction. She may never get well. However, there’s a chance she will get well if everyone around her gets well. For you, getting well means taking care of yourself and no longer enabling her.

You need to set firm boundaries with her and stick to them. The boundaries are there to protect you. Do not let her overstep them. It’s not good for you or for her. You can tell her that you love her (if you do) and that you are available to talk to if she needs someone for support. You can even offer to get her into a rehab program if you’re financially able to do so But, allowing her to abuse you, driving her around, giving her money, etc are not helpful actions for either of you. Is it making her better? No.

Whatever the outcome, whatever happens- it’s not your fault. It sounds like she had issues long before you were ever born. You cannot control the outcome of her life. Take care of yourself and live life while you still can.

It’s heartbreaking to know that you may never get your emotional needs met through your mother. But, it’s a reality that you need to face. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you can move on and live a fulfilling life.

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