Forgiving Over & Over Again
anonymous Asks ...
My mom has alcoholic pancreatitis. She is 36 and she has been drinking like an alcoholic for 20 years. She has been in the hospital 3 times this year with bad inflammations. When she gets an attack she is in really bad pain. It looks like torture and she starts crying and screaming. Then when she gets back out of the hospital she starts drinking again and usually it is only a few days later before she starts even though she says she is going to stop every time this happens. Does a person like this who won’t stop even in this situation have any chance of ever quitting her alcoholism for good? My dad says she can’t ever stop and we just have to forgive her. I used to think he was just quitting on her but now I think he was probably right all along.
Jim LaPierre Says ...
Thank you for writing. I'm trying to do some math here. I'm guessing you're in your late teens and it's both sad and impressive that you're so aware of how your mother's disease impacts her, you, and your dad. Alcoholism ages a person and progressively takes a toll physically, mentally, and emotionally. For your mother to continue drinking despite the pain and hospital visits...yeah, that's a sign that her disease (alcoholism) has a strange hold on her.
Is there hope for her? Can she stop drinking? Yes - but she has to choose it and she needs to get a lot of help and support (both professionally and personally).
It's hard to forgive someone who keeps doing it over and over again. You have every right to your feelings and every right to express them. I'm guessing you have strong feelings about drinking due to your experience. I encourage you to be aware of how your experiences impact your beliefs and perspective on relationships. I'm sure your dad is a good man - it also seems likely that he enables your mom.
Please consider talking with someone outside of the situation. Counseling did me a world of good (as a client) and maybe you'd find it helpful as an outlet.