Living With A Drunk Sucks Balls
It’s not the most elegant title, but it sums it up pretty nicely. Living with someone who drinks regularly (by that I mean pretty heavily on most days) is like living in a house rigged with landmines. Lets face it, most drunks aren’t the happy, I want to hug everyone kind of drunks. They’re either violent or emotionally shutdown when they’re sober so they can only release those emotions when they’re incapacitated. At least that’s been my experience.
Having lived with a drunk for what, at least twenty years now? I can tell you it’s not fun. My sister, just this afternoon, said she doesn’t know how I continue to live here with my mother. Some days, if I’m being honest, I don’t know how I do it either.
I love my mom. I’m thankful for everything she has ever done for me. I’d like to see her get sober. I’d like for her to find ways to cope without abusing alcohol. Quitting smoking was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be, but there are times when I’m tempted to pick it up again. I haven’t had a cigarette in over 4 months. That doesn’t seem like a big deal unless you’ve had to kick the habit. Then you know just how big of a deal 4 months is.
I’ve had to find other ways to cope with the stress I’ve been living with since then. There’s no more smoking to calm my nerves. I didn’t realize how often I was doing that until I stopped. And some days, I want to say fuck it and start smoking again. But the truth is, I don’t want to start smoking again. I’m healthier. I can feel it with every breath I take and I’m proud of myself for this accomplishment.
I want my mom to feel that way about herself. Her addiction is even stronger than mine was. I want her to find ways to deal with the emotions that are plaguing her. I don’t want to hear her crying on the couch while she’s watching the DIY Network and then telling me how she wishes I had a dad like Mike Holmes. Contrary to what she might think, I don’t enjoy hearing those sorts of things.
I can’t change who my dad is. I didn’t pick him. She did. That was her choice. I got the parents I got and that’s the hand I was dealt in life. I have to live with that. So does she. The thing is, hearing her say that feels like she’s saying she wishes I wasn’t me. I wouldn’t be who I am without the dad I wound up with. I’m not without my faults, but I don’t think I’m a terrible person. I’m still here, aren’t I? I haven’t given up on her. I’m not saying that my sister has, just so we’re clear.
I’m proud of my sister for moving on, finding love and a life that suits her. She’s flourishing in the life she’s made for herself and I respect the shit out of her for having the balls to chase her happiness, tackle that shit and own it like a boss.
I’m simply saying that for the last 32 years I have been here. I’ve been supportive. I’ve tried to give good advice when I could. I’ve tried to be there for her when she needs me. My mother isn’t the easiest person to be there for. At the end of the day, my comfort isn’t what she wants. She would rather tell it to a bottle of rum.
That is a painful truth to live with, but it’s there. Always bubbling beneath the surface. Every morning I wake up, knowing that time with my sober mother is ticking away. Soon in her place will be a moody, passive-aggressive drunk who would rather talk to herself or snooze on the couch than stay sober and talk to me.
That’s her choice.
I try not to take it personally.
But it still sucks.