I told my Mother, Sort of


I have an extremely difficult relationship with my mother.  I am the only girl in a family of three children.  I have an older brother and a younger brother.  My perception is that my mother has always preferred my brothers to me.  She is a woman who loves men, and given a choice she would rather be with either of my brothers than be with me.

There have been many examples of this throughout my 52 years here on this planet, so I am sure that it is so.  I could tell her that something is great, she would be skeptical, but if one of my brothers said so, it would be the word of God.

This was never more evident than in the decision to move her from her home in Massachusetts to an over 55  apartment complex in Virginia, close to my younger brother.

The move was thought of, and engineered by my brother.  He enlisted my daughter and me to go to Massachusetts, to pack up all of her belongings, have a yard sale, and get rid of all of the left over items.  He would arrive on that coming Friday with a U Haul, we would load it, and he would drive her to Virginia, unpack her, and a whole new, wonderful life would begin for her.

I hesitantly agreed to this undertaking.  This was in August, I was working hard at quitting drinking, so I was skeptical at best that I was going to get through this unfazed.  Mom and I butt heads, I knew it wasn’t going to go well, but I figured since my daughter was going to be there to help, things couldn’t get too bad.

Wishful thinking.

We arrived on Tuesday, after a two day drive from Tennessee.  I had procured a car full of free moving boxes, all I had instructed Mom to do was get things organized and throw out anything she did not want.  We had 72 hours to get 30 years of life packed into boxes that would fit in a small U Haul trailer.

Things went south immediately.  She had not organized anything, she had not thrown out anything, and she had packed a bunch of junk into 10 small Barefoot wine boxes.  That was it.  My daughter and I were overwhelmed, but got to it, as we only had limited time.

Mom didn’t seem to understand what we needed to do, she wanted to go shopping, have me drive her to the hairdresser, and basically sit around socializing and drinking.  She got angry with me repeatedly, and my answer every time was, call my brother, this was his idea.

Many fights later, with no alcohol ingested by me,  she was packed.  My brother arrived, we got the U Haul packed,  and when we finished I sucked down two bottles of wine.  I had made it to 23 days of sobriety.

Since the move, every time I speak to my mother she has taken mentioned things that she is missing.  “Where did you put my Dirt Devil Vacuum?”  “Did you see the CD player that I had to listen to books on tape?”  “I had two special plastic cocktail stirrers that I had wrapped in a paper towel, on one of them made it here.”

I never got thanked for all my ass busting work, and when I told my mother she should send my 19 year old daughter some type of payment for her 3 days of hard labor, she sent her $50.00!

I kept drinking.  All of September, October, and November.  In November we were driving back from the Northeast, and stopped in to have dinner with her.  We had a few drinks at her house, then met up with my brother and his family for dinner.  He and I split a bottle of wine with dinner.

My mother got trashed on cheap bourbon, and did the drunk Grandma act at the table.  Not pretty.

We got back to our hotel room, and I had a couple more glasses of wine. The following morning, my husband was very angry with me, and called me a DRUNK.

It took another week or so, getting through Thanksgiving, and a lot of soul searching to reach the decision to get sober.  I do not want to be a DRUNK, nor do I ever want to be drunk grandma in front of any future grandchildren.  It is not pretty.  I don’t want my children to ever have to explain to their children why grandmas slurs and needs help to the car.

Yesterday, I called my mother, which I now do infrequently.  I have not shared with my family my efforts to become sober.  They all drink heavily.

I was telling her about our Saturday night out.  I had told her I was the designated driver.   She kept asking, over and over, “So when did you get to have a drink?  Did you have one at dinner?  Did you have one at the theater?  Did you have one when you got home?”

I finally said, I quit drinking Mom.  That shut her up!!

I didn’t give her time to say anything else.  I said, I haven’t had a drink in 3 months, it seemed to be making things worse in my already complicated life, so I quit.

The silence was deafening.

I have to admit, as uncharitable as this sounds, it felt good to leave her speechless for once.


13 thoughts on “I told my Mother, Sort of

    • Yeah, kind of. I don’t think this relationship will ever be normal. But I guess it is my normal. She is a stone cold alcoholic, part of my reasons for getting sober. She has been drunk in front of my children so many times, and they remember it all. Just like I remember her mother being drunk in front of me. Some day I hope I get to be a grandma, and just be better than that.

  1. Good for you. I too am breaking that chain. I don’t want my children to arrive home from school wondering what state mum is going to be in, which is how I grew up. My mum seems to have got herself together, I don’t know how, but she has. But I still have very raw images and don’t want that for my own kids.

  2. Oh my relationship with my addicted mother and sister……I have to stay away if I want my sobriety…I could have a blog just on that subject…Good to be honest and let people love you for the real you!!

  3. I really appreciate this post. I’ve read it over and over, and I can hardly express how much admire your bravery for doing what you’re doing and for writing so honestly. To me you sound clear and strong, not uncharitable at all. Somehow it’s healing to read these hard truths. I hope it’s healing to write them, too. xo

    • It is, and it’s not. There is just a huge pile of poop to dig through to find the reasons I spent so many years like one of those little ships, inside a bottle. I wish I had a mother who I could hang out with, shop with, etc. But my reality is I don’t. I need to move on from that, and just be better. Be all of that and more for my daughter. Sober.

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