Am I just taking Mom for a ride?

A recovering alcoholic is relying on her mom… for now.

Is this OK? Our elder has some compassionate words.

Dear EWC

Hello, Must be brief, as my story is too long. I am an alcoholic. I’m 35 years old and I got married when I was 21 (stupid) and was legally separated from my (also alcoholic) husband after 11 years of marriage. My mother sees my alcoholism as leverage, and treats me like a loser, constantly shaming me. I have been sober for 16 months and have worked incredibly hard to get where I am. Unfortunately I still need her to drive me to work and to help pick up my son (because I haven’t gotten my license back yet.) Is it fair of me to use her a bit right now, until I get back on my feet? My parents both make me feel like garbage about myself and I am considering cutting them out of my life after I get back on my feet… Thoughts?

Granny-J replies

Let me begin by congratulating you on your 16 months of sobriety. Although I do not know you personally, I am very proud of your hard work and accomplishment. I am sorry to hear that you do not have the emotional support of your parents. I speculate that your alcoholism, along with your husband’s, has affected them to an extent, which might explain their negative behavior toward you.

First I’d like to address your question about having your mother provide transportation for you and your son. I would not think of it necessarily as “using” her. You have a need that your mother can help you meet. This is an important and necessary part of your process of getting back on your feet, so I feel that you should continue to accept assistance from your parents until you meet your goals. Keep in mind that they are not doing it just for you, but also for their grandson.  

I would like to mention that the fact that your parents attempt to “shame” you and make you feel “like garbage” is concerning. (I am assuming you have been through some sort of recovery program, but I have no way of knowing if there has been any sort of family counseling, which would be very beneficial.) I hope that you don’t allow this to sabotage your sobriety at any time and cause you to lose your focus, and I hope you have others in your life who are supportive and encouraging. I agree that you may have to distance yourself from your parents if you find their attitude toward you is jeopardizing your continued recovery. I encourage you to be patient and persistent. Maybe in the future your relationship with your parents can be repaired, but at the present time it appears they are not ready. If you are following the twelve-step program, you will know that making amends with loved ones who have been hurt is an important step. 

Your recovery is especially significant to me because I have family members who are recovered alcoholics, so I’ve seen the highs and lows. I will pray for you and your family. I hope you and your son will have a bright and happy future. Please write to EWC anytime you need more advice, or just need a sympathetic ear. 

Letter #: 429793
Category: Self-Improvement

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