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Bi-polar alcoholic mother is imploding, my relationship with my wife is very difficult. Feeling very overwhelmed.



New member
Oct 1, 2020
So, I've had to reach out to this group before, but things are getting worse.

My mother (61) is a life-long alcoholic.

I'm currently in America, she lives in London.
My wife and stepson are American; for the best part of a year we've been splitting our time between the UK and the US.

We've been in the US for around a month this time. About two weeks ago, my mother went on a big binge drunk (which she usually does when we're away). Nobody is watching her, she goes off the rails. But this was the worst one ever.

She's a manic depressive bipolar individual on numerous medications.

Basically I had a week of trying to talk her down from a massive bender and a manic episode, brought on by being drunk for a week and going off her meds. There were at least 16 calls a day, mostly babbling drunk or sobbing crying. I managed to talk her down, eventually, she got back on her meds, calmed down the drinking. She was very sad and apologetic (she usually is). I can't really describe to you how bad this was, it doesn't come across in this paragraph but it was bad. Almost constant calls and sobbing and slurring for days on end. Calls starting at 7am. Went on all day. This is while I'm trying to home-school our son, staying at my mother-in-law's house. Our boy needs a lot of attention; he's extremely high energy. Anyway, this was the worst bender ever and she's been going on benders (drinking every day even if not on a bender). I can't describe the stress and worry of it. Also, my wife and son are currently applying for UK residence permits and my mother going to pieces could jeopardize that.

For the first time in her life she acknowledged she has a drinking problem. Said she needs help. Says she can't stop but she wants to. That's never happened before. I don't think it's a magic switch, and there is no cure for the illness she has, but it felt like something. Maybe a first step.

I got her a doctor's appointment to discuss it with them, she's waiting to hear back about meetings and assistance and medication to help her to stop drinking (she "self-medicates" due to anxiety).

Anyway, sounds like a happy ending; I managed to talk her down, get her a doctor's appointment, order her medication for her. Got her through it.

A few days later (yesterday) it was her birthday. On the same day, she got paid (disability benefits) She was ok-ish in the morning. Could tell she'd had a drink, but I had expected that because anything - celebration, tragedy, anything - is an excuse for her to drink.

Based on recent events and conversation I hoped it would be minimal or short-term (it's often the case, any time I'm away this happens - she drinks like crazy, goes quiet for a few days (sometimes total silence), comes out the other side of it. I've learned to wait it out. This episode was different though. As the day went on I heard from her less, she stopped calling, got the occasional whatsapp message. I could tell something was up. Pretty late I got a message saying goodnight and could tell that she was probably pretty hammered. I hoped it was a one day indulgence and she would pull it back together.

Well, today, she called me at 2pm her time, and she's very VERY drunk. Extremely slurry, couldn't tell what time it was, thought it was the evening and she was going to make dinner. Just wasted.

I can't believe there's such a quick turn-around on this. I can't describe the stress of thinking we're back to where we were only a few days ago; I didn't get a week of (not even sobriety), just not a catastrophic bender.

So now she's not answering her phone or reading messages.

I'm desperately hoping this isn't going to be a repeat of the last massive bender where she goes off her medication because she's too drunk to take it and slips back into a terrible manic episode.

I'm just exhausted. This has been a very very stressful year for me already (as it has for everybody to some degree - thanks pandemic) and I'm not getting on very well with my wife either. So it's just feeling really overwhelming. I seem to spend my life in service of others and I'm not getting anything out of it. I spend all my time trying to take care of my mother or doing things for my wife and son, and getting nothing out of it. Just a further kick in the teeth and more problems and stress and worry.

I'm feeling totally hopeless right now, like nothing is going to ever really be okay again. I'll just go from problem to problem; my mum's drinking, my relationship with my wife, everything is so hard and just not working. It's one thing after another.

I'm losing all hope over here.

Deleted member 91323

I am so sorry you are going through this. It is clear how much you love your mum and do everything possible to support her. I am wondering if you may need to give her an ultimatum? To say she needs to sort herself out as you cannot look after her on your own?
Fairy Lucretia

Fairy Lucretia

Well-known member
Apr 9, 2011
Magical fairy wonderland xxxx
hi just wanted to welcome you to the forum and let you know you are not alone
i hope you find lots of support here ,love Lu x


Well-known member
Dec 17, 2019
London, ON
I have a friend whose drinking sounds like your mother's. Anytime we aren't actually talking while she's sober, I just assume she is drinking.

You can't control an alcoholic's drinking, not from across the Atlantic.

Work on what is right there with you, your son and wife. And do what you can to care for yourself, you are carrying a heavy load, you need self care.

It's hard to hear, but your mom has to handle her own issue. I understand your worry, but you need to stop taking all of her drunken calls. It just enables her, and upsets you.

So sorry you are dealing with this - it's hard enough watching a close friend drink herself to death, much less a parent.


Well-known member
Jan 4, 2021
Southern USA
I'm so sorry.
Has your situation improved?
Best luck!
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