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How alcoholism shaped my world…………P2

Continuing from P1 I’d like to start by digressing from the title slightly & saying that I do stick by my view that the UK schooling system etc, does nothing of any real worth to help the kids that need it.  From my experiences I’ve found that it’s the trouble makers/disruptive children that are generally given the most time and support, whilst the children who have difficult home lives but are quiet and a little withdrawn, seem to get left to it.  It’s disgusting.  But getting back to why I’m here.  This entry will be about experiences arising from alcohol.

So, we’ve established Mums a drinker now.  And of course, being a ‘functioning’ alcoholic  is a hard thing to do alone.  You need a network of sorts to guide you. For Mum, this consisted of some less than fantastic people.  The first real screw up that she bought into her (and my) life was when I was about 11 or 12,  a fellow female drunk, lets just call her Jan for this.  Now Jan wasn’t just an alcoholic but also a junkie.  As silly as it sounds, although Mum was overly familiar with booze, she was a novice as far as drugs are concerned.  So Jan used to be at ours at all hours, knocking on the door at 3/4am for a drink etc.  She’d always be trashed on some other substance, I couldn’t tell you what though because I was so young at the time.  But I still knew.  She was an awful woman, dank hair, vile clothing….a stereotypical drug user.  She hung around on & off for several years until I believe she & mums partner (yet another drunk) had a thing together & Jan wasn’t seen again, however hte partner stuck around.  Unfortunately by that time, she’d already f*cked me over too.  As I mentioned when she first appeared I was 11/12ish, and I was probably around 14 by the time she disappeared.  I was glad she’d gone.  I’d had to keep my distance from her……..when I was about 13 she walked up behind me and put her arms around my waist in an inappropriate way…….I was shocked initially then turned round and started screaming at her and throwing punches, she quickly backed away from me & I didn’t see her again but it was at that point that I knew the rest of my life living with Mum would be more than tough.  So I learnt how to look after myself.  I became self sufficient, going shopping with what little cash I could get from mum, or wherever else really.  As I’m writing this bit I’ve started welling up a little, apparently all of these memories were a lot more deep seated & buried further than I’d realised.  I’m not feeling teary due to what happened, just that I wasn’t aware how much I’d buried & never addressed.  Anyhoo, moving on……

So yeah, Jan was out of the picture and I was doing ok after deciding I now had to look after myself.  Now, mums partner at the time.  Another drunk as I mentioned, wasn’t a particularly bad bloke, just another ‘alchy’.  And as such, Mums drinking got worse, she’d go missing with him for days on end and only re-appear when the beer money had run out.  I had my fair share of rows with this guy, he claimed he wanted to treat me like a daughter, I told him to go and find his own children & fix those relationships first.  An argument kicked off and he grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let me go, leaving a deep bruise on my upper arm.  I kept screaming in his face until Mum could finally be bothered to get up and intervene……when she did she just said to stop being silly so I left and ended up at some guy I barely knew’s house at 1am.  I was barely 16 at that point but thankfully that guy was a good one and I still call him a friend to this day.  In hindsight there were many choices I made growing up that could have backfired on me, I could have ended up in some serious situations but thankfully, it seems, someone was watching out for me. 

Time to jump forward a little.  Mum ditched the boyfriend, and actually seemed to pick herself up a little for a few months which was good, but I didn’t trust her to stick to it.  And I was right.  As previously mentioned the house was always a tip, the garden over grown etc and eventually mum received an eviction notice.  By this point I was half living at my boyfriends and wasn’t fully aware of how serious things had become.  One day he drove me to mums, dropped me off and went off to college…….. as I approached the house I instantly knew Mum and myself had been kicked out.  There was a shiny new lock on the door and the house was in darkness.  I didn’t know what to do.  I had no idea where mum was, let alone when this had happened.  A neighbour spotted me sitting on the wall in tears and came to my aid, I used her phone and called the BF to come and collect me.  he arrived about half an hour later and I used his phone to call Mum.  I found out she’d been put into a motel miles away from anywhere so off I went.  When I found her she had wads of cash and was smashed in the pub next door.  I don’t know where or how she got this cash and I try to not think about it.  The reality finally hit me as I dragged her stumbling body back to the room to find they’d put us in a single room, so I curled up on the floor and cried myself to sleep.  The next day I left her there and went back to the bf’s, I didn’t return to the motel and Mum moved out a week or so later into another old drunks flat. 

She continued to stay there for a while and in the end I split with the BF so also had to move in, it was horrible, cramped.  I was 17 by that time and had started to follow the route Mum had taken – I was jobless, drinking a lot with friends and staying out all night, again to avoid the situation.   This carried on for a while in the same pattern as before, until a friend of my ex boyfriends decided I needed cheerign up and drove me over to see some of the girls I’d met whilst I was with the ex.  As it turns out it’s the best thing that had ever happened to me as, just 4 months later, I left mum to lead her alcohol filled life and moved in with the girls.  It was a new town, a new group of friends and a new start.  I had no job, or prospects but I was determined to sort my life out.  After a while a friend sorted me out with a little sales role in at a publishers, and from there things just got better.  I made more friends, my confidence improved and I was finally supporting myself, something I’d never been able to really do before, relying on hand outs.  It was all going well until Mum and her aforementioned ex, who had re-appeared, turned up at my office.  The pair of them were steaming drunk, and I just felt so ashamed.  Not only had mum ruined my childhood life, she was now encroaching on my professional life.  I ran out of the office, outside and told them both to leave and I’d find them later, in a pub of course.  I made the decision at that moment I couldn’t carry on like that and told Mum as much.  I screamed, cried, shouted, tried talking rationally, every trick iteh book.  Yet nothing sank in.  she just looked through me.  Now tell me, if oyu’re 18 yr old daughter was sat in front of you, falling apart with worry for you, crying, not eating etc, how could you not take heed and at least try to do something.  I knwo I would.  Yet she didn’t, she wouldn’t even acknowledge what I was saying and I think that was the worst part for me.  She claimed she loved me and I was her life.  Yet the bottle took presidence every single time.  After that one incidence my confidence crashed again.  In my eyes if my Mum wouldn’t even stop drinking for me (or at least try) then why the hell would anyone want to know me.  I blamed myself for everything thinking maybe I should have been a better daughter, done things differently.  Its amazing how other peoples actions can dictate how you live your life and how you feel. 

Shortly after that mum was put into her own house again and it was time for a fresh start.  Supposedly.  She did well initially, cut her drinking down, decorated the place really nicely.  But before long she slipped back to her old ways and this time it was worse than ever.  I couldn’t bring myself to go to her house, it was filled with empty cider bottles, mouldy food everywhere, rubbish strewn all over the place.  Mums health was deteriorating as well, her back was shot, she lost a lot of weight etc and i really did try my best to get her help & support but she wasn’t interested.  It was around this time I started to physically distance myself from her……….but that was all to change.  Little did I know it was the beginning of the end of the mother that I’d always known.

And on that note, I’m signing off.  My next post will focus mostly on the past year so I’ll be fast forwarding from 2006/7  to 2010 and the situation as it lies.  It will be my last blog on this issue unless there are any requests for more information etc.

TTFN dudes & dudettes,

TCS xxx

How alcoholism shaped my world………P1

I am going to start this blog by pointing out I am in no way a wordsmith, I cannot give you advice & in all likelihood this blog is unlikely to make any difference to your life.  I’m writing this for me, and me alone and if others can take something from it, great.  It’s not a sob story, or designed to get sympathy.  It’s just how it is.  It’s all over the place but I’m writing it as things come to mind so for that I apologise.

So I’m a lass with issues, nothing more, nothing less.  I’ve gone through a fair amount of cr*p, yet I still feel I’m a very lucky girl.  I’ll start, well, at the beginning.  I grew up with Mum, Big Bro (8yrs older) & Big Sis (11yrs older)  in a little town SE England.  As far as I was aware we were a ‘normal’ family.  Up until I was bout 3yrs old and Mum threw my dad out, I didn’t fully understand but I knew he was a nasty man & I didn’t really care whether he was there or not.  Then Mum starting drinking. Heavily.  I’ll return to this part later on.

As I grew up I learnt more about the absent father.  I was the apple of his eye apparently, was showered with pretty dresses etc, whilst big Bro & big Sis, who aren’t his children, were left with nothing – no school shoes, no new clothes etc.  On top of that he used to beat them and Mum.  This breaks my heart.  I hate that this is the man who helped bring me into this world.  I hold a lot of guilt from this, knowing that whilst I was being looked after, the rest of my family were suffering.  I was only a toddler when all this was going on but nonetheless, the guilt is immense.  Fast Forward to 1992 and I’m at primary school.  it’s 3.30pm and I was waiting for Mum & one of my brothers friends to collect me from school.  Suddenly this large, hairy tattooed man comes over to me and says Mum’s asked him to pick me up & we were going home.  I didn’t move, I was frozen.  I knew that I was not to go off with anyone unless I knew them, and I certainly did not know this guy.  As  I looked around nervously I saw Mum & aforementioned friend appear at the gate and both break into a sprint towards me, instantly the teachers spotted this man talking to me & everyone rushed over.  I was scared & confused and was just glad to have Mum there.  When we finally got home Mum had told me that it was my father who was talking to me and, to put it simply, he’d have taken me away if he’d had that chance.  (Im still grateful that I was bought up with enough sense to not go off with him) 

I only saw him once more after that when he turned up at christmas at my grandmothers house a year or 2 later with a boys shooting toy for me.  I threw it in the bin and thought no more of the man who I’d only ever known by his first name.  Dad is not a title he has or ever will deserve.

So back to the home life!  One of my earliest memories is my Mum stumbling up the road to collect me from school, I was maybe 5yrs old and I still flush as I remember the absolute shame I felt.  Life was bad to put it mildly.  She wasn’t just a drunk, she was a full blown ‘functioning’ alcoholic.  This went on for years.  By the time I’d wake up in the mornings, she’d already be half way through whatever tipple she happened to have in the house at that time.   To me it was normal, I’d wake up every day dreading what was waiting for me, knowing that I’d have to go to a friends house to try & get some food.  I’d go out at 10am and not return home until 10pm, just to avoid the reality I was living in.  This started when I was 13 or 14, maybe earlier.  I started smoking weed, drinking & staying out all night with friends.  I never let on to them how bad things were but I think they had a rough idea, it’s not something I wanted them to know about me.   The house was a mess, we never had food, electricity or heat.  In short it was hell, I was a neglected child in nearly every sense of the word, the only thing I did have was knowing that despite all the problems, Mum (and big bro & sis of course) did love me.  Most nights were spent sat in candlelight under a duvet as mum had drank away our budget.  My schooling was affected, even at primary school I started becoming a truant and it carried on until I finally walked out of Grammar school aged 15 – no GCSE’s, no prospects, no hope. I was severely underweight, my clothes were always dirty & I was a general mess.  To this day it always amazes me at the lack of action my school took regarding my safety, health & education.  I clearly had problems, yet nothing was ever said or done.  A shining example of how this country fails to help vulnerable, young  people.  

That’s about it for this post.  I need to figure out where to take it from here, there’s a lot more to get through.  If I write any more now I may just crash & burn.  I’ll attempt to elaborate tomorrow but for now, nearly 1000 words before 11am is plenty. 

See you on the flip side kidlings.

TCS. x