Family Matters,  Moody Blues

Dear Alcoholic in my life,

I’m really angry at you. I’ve been angry at you for a long time. I get a little bit less angry sometimes because every time we have an episode like this, a little part of my love for you dies. Pretty soon that part of my heart that is reserved for you will just be dead and black and sloughing off into ashes on top of my other organs. Someone will call me up and say you have finally passed on and I’ll just look out the window and think about the weather or something.

When bad things happen I almost wish that the part of my heart was already dead. Stop the pain already or something. I just get so angry and I think horrible thoughts and write horrible letters like this and I know it’s toxic. I know it is not helping me and it’s not helping you and and it is probably not helping anyone who is reading it.

I’m scared that all this anger and hate I have towards you, someone I love, is very very very bad. I’m scared that my little baby daughter is going to be hurt in some way by it. Even worse, I’m scared that she is going to grow up and have this problem too. It’s in her genes. I just want to rent my garments and die if she becomes an alcoholic too. I could not bear the pain. I can barely handle the pain of telling her that you are “sick” when she asks for you.

She does not deserve to be hurt the way you’ve been hurting everyone in your life for years. I didn’t deserve it. Toby didn’t deserve it. Can’t we just stop this cycle of hurt? How many generations have to pay for the sins of their fathers?

You don’t deserve her love. But she does love you and sometimes you are such a sweet old woman. I do love you. I don’t know what part of you is the alcoholic/drunk/liar and what part of you is the real you.

Which reminds me of why I am so angry in the first place. I’m sick and tired of getting played by you. I’m not that stupid!!! Don’t tell me your lies and think you’re so clever. You’re only fooling yourself. I know you’ve been drinking. I can hear it in your voice. I can see it in your apartment that is trashed from top to bottom. I don’t want to hear about some bug you’ve caught that you had to be hospitalized for. I know why you went to hospital. You’ve been doing this for years.

Sometimes I just want to yell at you and tell you that it’s ALL YOUR FAULT and you should stop being so selfish. But I realize that I am just making it worse. I am just making your mental illness and your anxiety and your guilt and your depression worse. And then I feel like crap. It’s just not fair and I wish you would stop it.

Why can’t you be like all those other alcoholics and stay sober for ten, fifteen, twenty years? Even a year would be nice. I know you are too old to learn new tricks but can’t you just try?

I’m sorry I’m so angry at you. I wish I could do something to make a difference but right now I think I just want to walk away and not look back. I won’t cut you off. But I want to.

I’m sorry I wouldn’t talk to you today. I just couldn’t. I wanted to say all this and I couldn’t because I knew you wouldn’t listen.




  • Flamenco Mom

    Wow, there have been many days where I’ve wanted to write that same letter. Thanks for putting down what I’ve been wanting to say to the A.I.M.L. for years!

  • Meghan

    I know you’re considering taking this down, and it’s ok if you do. But it’s also ok that you feel this way, and it’s ok if you leave it up. So many of us have written this letter a hundred times in our head, but never been able to put it down for the world to see. Our lives can be so messy and shameful, but I’ve found that the only way I can move past it is to be honest and open and let the chips fall where they may. Obviously this won’t work for everyone, so we’ll respect whatever choice you make in the fate of this post. But while it’s up, I wanted to thank you for having the courage to write it in the first place.

  • Rosie

    Don’t take this down. There are many people who would benefit from reading it – those who can’t express themselves as well as you, and those who need to be reminded why each day they stay off the drink.

  • Neil

    Yes, B, don’t take this down. It is good for you to be able to write this. And it is good for us to be able to see this anger. I think many of us can relate. I hope all the comments and concern help you overcome a bit of the negative feelings that you are having…

    Remember, you can’t change someone. They have to want to do it themselves.

  • Kaili

    Wow, that must have felt so good to get off your chest. How very honest and open of you.
    I hope this person whom you speak of gets help and stops hurting everyone. That is SO SO SO rough. *hug*
    I admire your honesty and guts for posting that. You are a strong strong woman, and Baby Bug will be one too some day.

  • boogiemum

    I don’t think this letter is toxic at all. It is completely ok to feel all these things and normal, too. Alcoholics affect everyone around them and not only ruin their life, but those who they love. I come from a family with many alcoholics and it is a horrible disease. Sending hugs your way…

  • chris

    Both of my parents are alcoholics. My mother lost her battle with the disease about 9 years ago. She did manage to get sober and stayed that way for about a year before heading on her final downward spiral. I wish I could say that was the best year, but honestly it wasn’t, despite that I had wished so hard and often for it. The bottom line is that the co-dependency that goes along with the disease is vicious and hard to break.

    One thing I didn’t realize was that when the liver is impacted by alcohol for many years, the toxins that it can’t filter end up back in the blood stream and the brain. Many people that are in mental facilities are these alcoholics who are literally ‘pickled’ (despite being sober). So as the disease progresses you have not only the alcoholism, but also dementia to deal with.

    The research is also pointing more and more to long-time alcoholics as having an additional mental illness (depression, bipolar disorders, personality disorders). They still aren’t sure which comes first. Nor are there real answers about how to treat someone when both are present.

    Also I do think it helps to get your anger out. Anger turned inward or left to simmer isn’t good. Also I agree with those who have said you could help someone else out there dealing with this. It is often a dirty little secret that no one talks about.

  • Carrie

    I don’t think it is toxic. I could write much, much worse things about my own father and I wouldn’t even be sorry. Alcoholism sucks so much. It is one reason I always said I didn’t want to have kids. I don’t know what I will do if I pass it along in my genes. *big cyber hugs*

  • sarah gilbert

    my mother-in-law has already been killed by her particular brand of alcoholism, and I know exactly, exactly, exactly where you are. i’m crying now, it’s so true, all of it, and i think you should leave it up. or take it down. whatever is right for you.

  • Mrs. Wilson

    Oh man. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this!

    My daughter’s grandmother is an alcoholic and it’s hard to explain to her why we cannot go to her grandma’s house. I never know what state she will be in and I don’t want to let my daughter see her grandma like that.

    I’m glad you wrote this post though, it IS good to express your feelings. It’ll make you feel a teeny, teeny, tiny bit relieved.

  • Ninotchka

    I think it’s good and very necessary to vent from time to time and you’ve done it in a painfully honest yet dignified way. I hope writing this was cathartic for you. And I hope against all hope that she finds a way to get well. :::hugs:::

  • bethany actually

    I love the internet, but sometimes it sucks. Because I’d really likee to give you a big hug right now and then take you someplace fun to totally take your mind off this. Tell your mom to give you a hug for me, and know that I am thinking of you and praying for you all.

  • Kerri Anne

    I can identify so much with this, especially that first paragraph. It’s painful when a part of you starts to shut down to their drama, but I think it’s self-defense, in a way. A preservation of sanity. Though feelings of helplessness are suffocating, for sure.


  • Aimee Greeblemonkey

    I love this post. For many reasons. That you had the courage to write it, post it (but I understand if you take it down), but mainly that I have been there with someone in my life as well and feel so much of what you have felt.

    Huge hugs.

  • Red Lotus Mama

    Wow … that was an incredibly powerful post. You have so much strength to write it and even more courage to post it. Continue to love with that genorous heart of yours even through these hard times. BB has an incredible mom. *hug*

  • jac

    even though you wrote that you didn’t believe that writing this would do any good, i’m certain it has and it will. the writing and the posting of your pain, frustration, and anger is, perhaps, one of the best ways to alleviate it. i am certiain, also, that someone will read this and it will have a positive impact on their lives. everything you do matters. you just don’t always know it.
    hugs to you.

  • Sheryl

    My parents were both alcoholics (now in recovery, thank God). I really do know how you feel. I remember having to drive to the bar, having to pick up my parents who were passed out. Having my mom nearly kill us in the car by driving into the river, etc. ad nauseam. I’m sorry for your pain and the pain of your family. You might try Alanon. It was helpful to me.

  • erin rae

    Excellent post.

    With multiple relatives who are alcoholics or addicts, I can only try to understand how you feel, since I don’t have any children yet, so it’s only me they are disappointing. I can only imagine what it is like with BB. Because of her lies and crap, you have to essentially lie to your daughter. It’s just not fair.

    I get so angry and yet have such a hard time confronting people with their illnesses and challenging them on their lives, so letters like these at least help you deal with it.

    We went so far as to stage an intervention for my aunt (who is like a second mother). She agreed to go into detox and was at the facility we’d arranged within 30 minutes of saying yes. 24 hours later, she was thanking us for saving her life. 24 hours after that she slipped out a bathroom window, called a “friend” collect to come pick her up and went back to her own ways. As part of this process, we all wrote consequence letters, guided by the interventionist we were using. It wrote out very clearly that if she was unwilling to seek treatment, I could no longer be a part of her life – no visits, no communication. However, it also stated that the second she wanted help, we would be there every step of the way supporting her.

    I haven’t spoken to her in a year. It feels torturous at times, but on the other hand, talking to her when she’s slurring and pretending nothing is wrong just seemed like it was enabling her any more. I just hope she believes us when we tell her that the reason we’ve done this is love.

    Keep up the bravery Brenda!

  • josephine

    Thank you everybody. Maybe it is okay to write this publicly after all. I do feel a lot better. I just felt like I was going to implode earlier today.

  • Sam

    I agree with everyone – don’t take this down. It’s okay to be angry, and it’s more than okay to get some of these thoughts and emotions out in a safe place. My mom had an alcoholic father and it was terribly difficult – and she, too, is terrified that one of us will turn out to be an alcoholic as well. The only thing you can do for Bug is to tell her, when she’s old enough, why her grandma was sick and how Bug has to be careful with alcohol. The only way to fight the disease is to blow away the secrets and be honest. I’m so sorry that today was hard, that there are many hard days.

    She is lucky to have you.

  • Danielle

    Great post. Great courage. You aren’t alone. And many people can benefit- recognizing when they read your words that they aren’t alone either.

    Friends and families of addicts need a support system… just as much as the addicts themselves…

  • Jenifer

    That’s a letter that I wish I could write to my father. His abuse, while I was growing up, gave me the insight that people have many sides. Getting it out of your system, even if the intended person never reads it, is cathartic to you. Also, maybe one day, Baby Bug will read it and get an understanding how this awful disease can affect people.

    I wish grandchildren would help your mom open her eyes but there is nothing that you can do. It’s her choice and always will be. But, you know that. I’m just glad that you’re aware of not to follow in her footsteps.

    SAJ says: Thank you and everybody! I just want to make sure everyone knows it’s not my mom. Since she reads this blog she might be kind of hurt if people think she is an alcoholic. It’s actually Toby’s mom… who does not read this blog, thankfully.

  • Gingermog

    Sending you cooling balm for your anger and pain. Put your head outside your beautiful new windows and breath in the salty, night air.

    Alcholism and depression run’s in my family too, doesn’t neccessarily mean it will be passed onto BB, from my parents wise guidance I have had my eye’s opened to be wary of certain habits. But then, I have always known I was loved and worthy of love even while enduring crushing times. I don’t know if I would be so confident to stand in times of trouble and weakness, if I did not feel that love and respect for myself.

    Thinking of you.

  • Amy

    So sad. Wondering what I would do if it was my MIL… She lives so far away it would be easy to just let her have a phone relationship with my children.

    I’m glad you posted this and got some support. I do feel bad for Toby growing up in that kind of environment though. Hugs all round.

  • franticallysimple

    My older brother started using drugs when he was 12. Growing up in the same house was often worse than hell.
    Four years ago, I visited him in prison. I told him that I loved him, but if he started using again when he got out, I was done.
    I told him how much he had hurt me over the past 25 years and that I just couldn’t do it anymore. We both cried and hugged each other.
    Two months after his release, he quit calling me.
    It’s sad, but I’m grateful.
    Hang in there.

  • Mary

    I am a long-time lurker but this one . . well, my heart goes out to you. And yes . . you just run out of patience and caring. You may still love someone and wish them well but you can’t go on caring without just going crazy. For me, it’s my ex. My little boys love him so much and it’s so hard to explain when “daddy doesn’t feel good” for weeks at a time. And now and again he says he’s going to turn over a new leaf. He may even believe it, I don’t know. I stopped believing long ago and have a hard time even being polite when I hear it. It’s so so hard when it affects the little ones you love. Hugs, my dear . . . . . I get it.

  • Jeanette

    I wish I could have had the courage to write something like that to my Uncle, he’s gone now.

    Thanks! Jean

  • bethany v

    good for you, hugs and prayers, and getting it OUT is so good sometimes. bottling it up makes it toxic to you too, more than the situation already is. lovely history of the same on one side of my family, and it sure has far-reaching effects. so hard in so many ways. thanks for being you and being open!

  • Amanda

    Leave it up or take it down it’s up to you, but they are your emotions and you are allowed to have them and express them. ::hug:: I wish I had some encouraging words for you but my mind fails me at the moment (dang that flu). more ::hugs:: and a quick prayer for you.

  • Keith H.

    Thanks for sharing your letter. I will reconsider what my drinking addictions contribute in others peoples life’s.

  • Katherine

    Amazing letter. I used to work with an alcoholic and can only try and imagine what it must be like to have to deal with that within your family.

  • Laura

    Gosh.. this rings true in my childhood.. from my father… and him beating my mother while drunk, and my brother when he was old enough to defend her. It’s why I’m in therapy right now 12 years after it ended.

    I’m in awe of you for sharing this with the world! I know I was always hiding it.. maybe it would have helped if I had a release such as this!


  • Laura

    After reading some comments I also wanted to add that I also think it’s genetic… and my brother was that way too, before even legally allowed to drink! I’ve tried it myself and it gave me the most gross feeling in my belly… so I don’t drink at all. And I have an addictive personality so it’s best I stay away anyhow. Luckily my husband is against drinking as well and our kids will hopefully be spared!

  • august

    I agree with Boogie. I actually think it’s healthy to be so in touch with your feelings and to be honest enough to share them. I also found reading it to be very helpful. Thanks B and I hope you have a better day today.

  • Uncle George

    B. You have just posted the same letter I’ve written her every day for the past 25+ years.

    As much as I love my mom, I’ve had to let her go. The “Hero Child” for 20 years, and it just furthered her cause to use all of us…Not her, the disease. She has a choice. She can control it, or it let it take her down, but ourselves no longer. At least not me anymore. I have so much to say, but can’t say anything. The frustration and confusion is paralyzing. The best way to help her now is tough love…she has a social worker, we don’t have to be one any more.

    Don’t worry, BB won’t go that route. She has wonderful, beautiful loving and caring parents who make her the #1 purpose in their lives. Her only addiction will be to the color GREEN! Genetics. Yes. Nurturing overrides the demons of the family history. She’s getting that in spades from her mother.


  • Kathryn S

    I’m so glad you posted this. There were many times I felt this way too. Now I just stay away from my sister and never talk to her. Life is a lot calmer because of it.

    I’m sending a hug your way (((SAJ))), and hoping you can find some calm in the middle of the storm.

  • K

    SAJ…I’ve been lurking for some time and haven’t had the guts to post yet. But this post you wrote was so powerful I could not let it slip by. I have more alcoholics in my life than I care to think about, but the worst was my grandmother. I loved her like a mother but couldn’t take her abusive ways anymore. Saying how you wish the pain would stop was exactly how I felt. Your post found the words I was never able to express…Thank You!

    Bug will be ok because of you. Genetic or not, I have not succumbed to this disease either. And believe me, statistics were not on my side. I knew at an early age how bad alcohol is and learned my limit. I now respect it and don’t abuse it. I don’t seek it out when I’m sad and if I do feel like I need a drink I find something else instead. Bug will learn the same because you will show her it.

    I know I don’t *know* you, but I’m sending a huge hug to you and your family. I hope this letter helped get some of the toxic feelings out and will help your heart heal a little!

    All the best,

  • Denise

    I would strongly suggest that you contact an Al-Anon meeting in your neighborhood. I know that it feels wrong that you have to go to a meeting when it’s not your problem, but these meetings are for people who love alcoholics. Often the health and well-being of people who are loved ones of alcoholics is worse than the sick person themselves. You can not and will not EVER be able to control Toby’s mom. You will only make yourself and your little family suffer by thinking that you can. I’m saying a prayer for you and your family right now.

  • sizzle

    I understand that pull between loving someone and being angry at them. Why can’t they just get better or change? They are sick and they have to want to feel better. Some do. Many do not. It’s so damn hard!

    I’m sorry you are going through this. Big hugs.