Over the course of the next few days I will be posting this story. Each day, I will post a different one of the 4 family member’s stories, all written in first person. The idea behind this is to show just how differently each family member sees the problem drinking and how it affects them all differently and how each family members coping mechanisms affect each other. I wrote this a year ago, and it has become a bit of a dream of mine to get it into schools in book format, as I believe reading this would have had a huge impact on me as a child.

You can view the first piece in the series, the youngest child’s experience here. 

And you can view the second piece in the series, the older brother’s experience here.

This is the 3rd piece and is the experience of the mother. Would love to hear your thoughts. 

Josh 🙂 

This is just as I planned, just how I wanted it.

I’m 23 and I have the most beautiful family I could have imagined. Me and my husband married when I was 19. He’s an amazing man who works hard for our family. He still likes to go out on the weekends, which he totally deserves, while I take care of our 2 beautiful boys. They are so special.

This is just as I planned, just how I wanted it.

I’m 24 our family is happy. Both the boys are at school now so I have a part-time job at the shop. My husband, John, still works just as hard, so we do argue. It’s not a lot but we do argue. Never in front of the kids, I won’t let them see it. I went through that as a child. Seeing my parents argue all the time. The arguments start when john gets home from the pub. So the kids are never up. It’s not every night. We are a happy family. All couples argue. It can be difficult when his drinking has gone a little overboard, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. He works hard. We both do.

It’s not what it seems, but I have it in control.

I’m 25 now. The job at the shop didn’t last. I was tired a lot. John gets himself in trouble. He is a great dad but he’s had a tough life. It’s hard for him. Our family is ok. I protect the boys from everything. I have to hold it together. I mean, no one said life was easy. The boy’s don’t miss school ever. And I reassure them it will be ok. John is a good dad. We have really amazing days when he doesn’t drink. Often the arguments are my fault. I get angry and snap at him. But we hold it together. The boys are happy and that’s what’s important.

It’s not what it seems, but I have it in control.

I’m 26, as a little girl all I dreamed about was creating the perfect family.  I had the perfect family life growing up. Sure it was tough, mum and dad argued, and dad was away a lot and quite angry when he was around. But it was a loving home. Johns drinking is terrible. He disappears for days sometimes. I don’t know what to do. It’s dragging me down, but I have to hold it together. I don’t know what to tell the boys. They are young. I try not to get snappy with them. It’s not their fault. They are both doing ok at school so, thankfully, this isn’t effecting them. I cry, when I’m alone. I must hold this together. I can’t have people think we are lowlifes. We are not. I keep forgiving John. I don’t blame him. This is just a rough patch.

It’s over now. Time to move on.

At 27 this is not what I dreamt about as a girl. John is in prison. I wonder if I could have done things different, but John is alcoholic. I have to hold it together for the boys. I think I’m doing ok. I don’t know anyone who’s been through something like this. It’s lonely. I think about talking to the boys, but they seem ok. I mean I ask them if they are ok and they say they are fine. I treat them when I can. I like to see them happy.

It’s over now. Time to move on.

I am 28. I still take the boys to visit their dad. It’s real hard. I wonder if I should take them at all. I’m trying to move on. John got angry and hurt me on a visit. I had to protect the boys. I tried to explain. But what could I say? I think about getting help… But who? Johns not a bad man. He’s sick. Maybe he has this kind of hold over me. It’s like I’m strong until I see him and then he can get me to do whatever he wants. Perhaps that makes me weak. I wanted to help him. I mean I want to help him… I don’t know what to do. He’s the boy’s dad. I comfort the boys all the time. I check they are ok, they seem strong. They do ok. I’m doing the best I can.

It’s supposed to get better, it’s just getting worse.

I’m 29. And here I am. I’m not divorced, but as good as. It’s too much of a fight to get John to agree to a divorce. He’s out of prison now and staying in a bedsit over the other side of town. I take the kids over at the weekends. I leave them at the door to go in themselves now. I can’t bare to see John how he is now. He’s somehow managed to become addicted to drugs in prison. I don’t like the boys to see how he is with me.  I have to protect them, but he’s their dad, they have to see him. Plus he has to take some responsibility. My life is on hold. I’m so lonely. Maybe I’m a bad mum. Maybe i do wrong letting them go to their dads. They have rang from the phone box before to say their dad is really bad, so I have to pick them up. I ask them if they would rather not go, but they say they want to, that they are ok. They are so good. At least their dad is there right? I mean I could stop them going altogether, but then they have no dad at all. I worry about John. He’s destroying himself. There’s talk in the playground among mums at the boys school I know it.. They should try a day in my shoes. Everything I do I do with my boys in mind.

It’s supposed to get better, it’s just getting worse.

30 years old and I am a widow. John has died. A little over 10 years ago I put all my hopes and dreams of the perfect life into a man who seemed perfect. In those 10 years, our dignity, respect, hopes, dreams, family, and eventually his life were taken and destroyed by alcohol. Or did he pawn it all for the easy option of just being drunk all the time? Were we not good enough? I could stop anything for my boys, why couldn’t he? There’s too many questions and I’m too exhausted to seek answers. The first thing I felt when he died was utter relief. Relief that it was finally over. The line drawn. John was like a tornado tearing through our lives. At least now he can’t hurt us anymore. Then came the guilt.. The guilt that I felt the relief. That I didn’t do enough.  The guilt that I, when I’m totally honest,  had wished death on John a number of times, not because I hated him but because I just wanted the situation to end…. Grief? I cannot begin to start this properly. I have to be there for the boys and show them it will be ok. I show them that life can go on. That we have to be happy because…well because we have to. They seem to deal with it really well. I think they are too young to understand.

Time is a healer.. Or so they say.

I’m 31 and my life seems calmer at least. My eldest boy, Tom, continues excel at school which is great. Danny, my youngest is doing great too, aside from the odd scrape. His teachers say he is a good child and Loving. He is excited about senior school too which is great. This means we are doing ok. Thankfully I’m pretty sure we are doing ok. The boys were too young to be effected by all of this. I have buried the past, we have moved on. A new beginning, I’ve started a catering business which is doing well and has given us stability.

Time is a healer, or so they say.

So I’m 32. I’d be lying if I said life wasn’t tough. But I’m a survivor. The business is doing well. Tom is the perfect boy growing into a young man. Danny is our little character, picks us up when we are in a low. He hasn’t had the best of starts at senior school, but he’s a little misunderstood that’s all. He’s an angel at home. They both are. I’m so proud how strong they have both been. They were young, and I protected them the best I could.

It’s a tough life, but we’re doing ok.

I’m 33 now. I still live my life for my boys. I have the business but i do that for the boys. Things are ok. Tom doesn’t put a foot wrong at school, his grades are amazing. He’s a quiet soul but it looks like he will go on to do good things. Danny seems to get into trouble a lot at school, but that’s his character. he’s more outgoing and likes to be out socialising with his friends. That’s fine. He’s not wayward as such, just a character. Neither of the boys speak about John. I guess this is a good thing. I think about talking about him to them, but, when they seem happy enough, why rock the boat?

It’s a tough life, but we’re doing ok.

Now I am 34. It doesn’t get any easier.. Life… Danny seems to be struggling. He’s an angry kid. I don’t really know where it comes from. You could say because of his dad, but Tom seems fine, and Danny was younger when all the stuff happened so it can’t be that. He’s just a hot head. He has started drinking though I think. I’m praying he won’t be like his dad. I have warned him what happened to dad could be in his genes. But when he’s home he seems happy, most of the time!

Life is what it is, I’ve done the best I can.

I’m 35. I’m worried sick about Danny. He’s been getting arrested. When he’s drunk his eyes are just like his dads. School want to chuck him out. It doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me if I’m honest. He’s still so lovely at home. I’ve raised my 2 kids the same. Tom continues to excel. Danny must just have the gene, or it’s a phase.. I don’t know what more I can do. Its making me have the same feelings I had about John all over again. Am I failing??

Life is what it is, I’ve done the best I can.

I’m 36. An old 36. Tom is in his 2nd year college and seems like he’s really taken to life as a young man. I can’t be doing such a bad job at raising my boys…. But with Danny it’s like the nightmare has begun again. It’s like his dad all over again. I’ve protected him the best I can and he has been treated no different to his brother. It’s all in the genes. This whole thing is out of anyone’s control. What could I have done differently? It still makes me cry, and frightens me to death. I lay awake most nights. Waiting for that call.

Helpless and alone.

I’m 37. As Tom prepares for university, Danny gets worse. He’s just like his dad. Have I treated him different!? Maybe I have?! Is this my fault? I’m alone again. He tried committing suicide. A cry for help? I have no idea, I try to talk to him he says he’s fine. I don’t know what to do or who to turn to. It’s happening again all over. What can I do?!

Helpless and alone.

I am 38. Tom is just the most perfect young man. He has a partner and they are off to the same university together. She seems to have her own issues but I know Tom can handle all that. Danny, well Danny has met someone and they have a baby. I fear the nightmare has only just begun, I have no idea what to do to help him. I don’t think anyone can help him. This is another beginning of the cycle of alcoholism. He’s trapped in it. We all are. I have to do right by my grandchild!