Giant drunk pink elephants

A giant pink elephant tends to consume a shitload of space when you are staying in your mothers two bedroom 700 sq. ft. condo. Even if at anytime you are able to walk a block down to one of the most beautiful beaches in America in attempt to ignore it, that fucking elephant will still be standing there, hogging any and all extra space that small box affords. There is a giant pink elephant living in my mother’s living room, her bedrooms, her bathrooms, and now his fat ass has started shitting in the kitchen, and I’m thinking there is just no way this elephant is going to continue living in our ignorance. He must be addressed. Someone has to ask why there is a giant pink elephant staying in her home, taking up all my parent’s space, and pushing my step-father out the door. Someone has to ask what the fuck it is doing there, and then tell it to get the fuck out. This just isn’t going to work anymore.
My mother has been addicted to alcohol since my early teens, around the time of my parents divorce. It is possible that I just didn’t notice it before, being that I was 13 and a typical selfish and self-minded child, not really thinking anything existed outside of my being. The old tree in the woods issue. Of course it didn’t make any noise if I wasn’t there to hear it. Duh. But the divorce helped me to grow up rather quick, and soon I realized how much my mama drank. And it wasn’t that much, really, but it was more than my homies parents, and more than my trouble making friends, who believe me drank their fair share. She and her lover, my present step-father, would go out for cocktails at lunch, and because they were the only ones working in their office, (the business was him, CPA, and her, sextratary extraordinaire), it didn’t matter if they put a couple back because fuck it. Why the fuck not?
Well over the years, her singles have turned to doubles, and lunch has turned to breakfast. But he doesn’t drink with her anymore. His alcohol intake has always been controlled, always a steady 2 drinks, never getting so ploughed that he can’t handle himself. She is out of control. Pouring a cup of peppered vodka with three ice-cubes and a floating cherry tomato, claiming THAT is a bloody mary. Putting back two before 10am and claiming its in the name of Christmas.

“It’s Christmas babe, I’m on vacation.”

Christmas day in Maui

Christmas day in Maui

Hold on. You live here. I’m on vacation. And I’m not putting anything back like that. Besides the vacation excuse, you seem too comfortable in this routine, and it clearly is a routine, and that familiarity, the ease with which you are “performing said actions” each morning is frightening. What the fuck are you doing to yourself? Since when have you started to hate yourself to the point of slow booze induced suicide? Where did the woman go who used to walk 5 miles a day, who could get drunk off two shots, who could make it through the day without taking two “sleep it off” naps? Where the fuck did my mother go?
I’ve wanted to scream this at her since my arrival. Since the 24th where she got plastered too early, passed out at 2, so I took my brother out in her car around Hawaii, woke at 7pm only to get drunk again and pass out at 9pm. Since Christmas day where the exact same thing happened, but she made it to 3pm instead of 2. Christmas day she had her usual bloody’s, (yes with a tiny bit of tomato juice but mostly just enough to color the drink) and while my bro and I hit the beach, a short 45 minute ocean dip and dry off, she polished off an entire bottle of champagne. The exact same thing has been happening every day and I keep waiting for Bill Murry to pop up and laugh in my face. I fucking get it Bill, something has to change.
I haven’t seen her in about 7 months, and she has gained at least 30lbs. Its that icky liquor weight, you can tell in her skin, in the color, the texture, the puffy bloatedness of her face. She is losing the ability to react rationally to any situation, crying and choking up at breakfast at the mention of my almost 2 years now dead dog Lunchbox. Sobbing over Band of Brothers even though she’s seen it a million times and we all know how it fucking ends. Asking me the same question over and over and over and over and ALL RIGHT MOM, ENOUGH.

Me (reading “the Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”): (nothing because I am reading)
Mom (watching me read): Are you okay?
Me (not looking up from my book): yeah.
Mom (leaning forward in her chair): are you sure your okay? you are making a face.
Me (not looking up): I’m not making any face, I’m reading. It’s kind of intense.
Mom (leaning back in the chair): You are definitely making a face. Why are you reading it if you aren’t enjoying it and it makes you make a face?
Me (looking up): this chick just got a fucking baby beat out of her so its a little fucked up. I’m sorry, I’ll try not to make faces.
five minutes later.
Mom: You’re making a face again. Are you sure you are okay?

So I finished the book on the beach. While she took a nap. Fuku-this curse, you’ll have to read Junot Diaz words for yourself- being something I can relate to, my grandfather on my Dads side having the same puffy red swollen face my mother now bears, alcoholism something I am becoming entirely familiar with, addiction in general running rampant through my family, my bloodline, my own DNA. Every time I see my mom, I always check myself. Make sure I’ve got my shit under control. Make sure I’m not walking down that same path, rowing my boat in the same circle, one paddle. Every time I’ve been out to visit my mom, her abuse has gotten worse, and I would leave reflecting upon myself.
This time, the only thought running through my head is….

My mom is fucking killing herself.

And the worst part is that I don’t know what to do. Intervention? She says she’s quitting for New Years. Write her a letter? I honestly think she would NOT read it. Walk away? Feel guilty for the rest of my life when she dies of a failed liver, or a drunk driving accident, and I never did a thing to stop it. What the fuck do you do when your mother decides to kill herself with the virgin blood of Mary and not-so-secret cups of vodka? Her husband can’t even stop it, she hides it from him, albeit not very well, sluuuur slur sssslllllur, and then explodes when he says “I think you’ve had enough.” She can’t even remember the fights she has because of her rolling black-outs and constant re-intoxication. How do you kick a giant pink elephant out of your house when your mother rides high atop the monster, refusing to even admit he is there? How do you help your mom when you don’t know where she has gone? How do you help your mom?

Sorry, not a very cheery Christmas post but I hurt inside right now, and don’t know how else to let it out. Thank you all for listening. mail

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~ by Penny Flame on December 29, 2008.

19 Responses to “Giant drunk pink elephants”

  1. So sorry to hear your story. That’s completely horrible. Don’t mean to point out what may be obvious, but that’s something you’ve got to get help with. Family friends would be great and if you know of people who can give professional help too, use it. But your mom needs whatever support group she can get to deal with this and so do you. Also please remember that in the end you can’t control someone’s behavior, and you are not to blame for it either. You can only do the best you can. Good luck and take care.

  2. If she wants to quit drinking for real, there is a pill that will make her incapable of drinking without getting violently ill. She could get it from her physician. Getting her to the doctor is the first step, the doctor could scare her straight, but overall you cant change someone.

  3. I’m not sure there’s much you can do if she doesn’t want to help herself.

  4. it’s always darkest before the dawn…..Al-anon family groups my dear flame they can help you help you….maybe it will help ur mama maybe not these things are out of our human hands…as if we were ‘powerless’ ….watch the flame for often the flame begat by the flame does not reeside far from the flame tree and our flame must burn brightest in order to help us kept others flames a glow…..these situations are very hard to handle alone thankfully we don’t have to…..http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/…..http://www.aa.org/

  5. I know how you feel Penny, for one of the people who gave life to you to be stuck in an oblivion of denial and reliance on alcohol to function from day to day is tough.
    All you can do is tell her that she is killing herself and hurting everybody who loves her. I hope she kicks her dependence and begins appreciating life again for her and your families sake.

  6. Honestly, just freaking tell her she’s killing herself, and it’s killin you (metaphorically speaking). Don’t ask me how, just.. I dunno, do it.
    Apparently my dad was a drunk, although not an obvious one, and while the cancer was what got him in the end, I still worry about my drinking habits. If she beats it, or at least tries, then at least you’l get some sort of piece of mind, and you can’t exactly stand idly by and watch it happen.

  7. A child of messily divorced parents, I’ve at least a vague sense of what you’re passing through.

    The others gave good suggestions of what you can do for your mother.
    But I’m a little worried about the toll all this is taking on you. Things parents say and do can find their way into one’s self like no other. Needing to deal with those one respects, as were they children, is really quite strange and challenging.

    I don’t want to say you should look for good advice elsewhere, but it’s good to have help in this. (Well, yes, it’s true, you’re getting help by the people here). At the least moral support from friends, and possibly professional help. They say putting one’s thoughts into words is a good thing, so this blog is a very good thing. However, in my own experience, talking to someone who’s got the perspective of having seen people day in, day out, for a few decades, has been a big help. Helps make up for lacking experience or an emotionally blurred view of the world. Sure enough one feels one should be able to shoulder and settle one’s burdens alone. But one doesn’t always – a professional’s reflections helped avoid a rather aimless detour in the desert, avoiding the painful route.
    Recommended for standing up to authorities like parents.

    Take care to take care of yourself. Some things hurt even though one doesn’t want them to. Also, being not too weak oneself is a good premise for trying to help others.

    Good luck.

  8. I’m going through the same thing. My mother seems to be getting more and more dependent on alcohol. Hitting the G&T’s at noon and drinking herself to oblivion. It’s so tough to see someone you love turn into somebody you hate. It’s getting to the point I’m considering making this my last christmas at home.

    Nothing can happen until she realizes what she’s doing. If she’s like my ma, any kind of confrontation will lead to her getting drunk and accusing you as being a waste of life. Still, I try to keep upbeat. So should you.

    Make your first post of 2009 an awesome one! Great blog, I burned through it all while recovering from NYE! Anyone that uses “hustling ducats” in conversation is on my super awesome people shortlist.

  9. This is yet another time i wish that I could have empathized like hell, or at least moreso.
    I know my dad had severe alcohol abuse problems before I was born, and eventually gave up drinking when I was 7.

    I commend his fortitude and commitment to his sobriety (the most he ever has is a glass of wine at dinner these days), and value his insight when I dealt with my on addictive personality issues.

    The key thing in my fathers case is that he realized what he was like and what he did/could do, and had enough to the point where he wanted to change. That is what your mother has to do, she has to see what she is like as an alcoholic and have the switch flipped in her mind, as it were.

  10. Salut,
    j aime te voir dans ta vie. J’ai toujours bien aimé ta petite gueule d’ange sur ce corps de démone. Mais jusqu’ici je ne connaissais pas tes pensées. J’ai été très surpris de trouver ce blog où tu te racontes. Je ne suis même pas encore sûr que c’est bien toi. Maintenant, je dois avoir lu 5-6 posts sur ton blog.
    J’aime bien ce que tu es, par contre, je ne peu pas être surpris par ton parcours. Ce que tu vis est une continuation relativement logique, triste, mais logique. D’ailleurs tu me paraît bien en être consciente. J’ai vécu un moment sans parents… puis on m’en a donné, puis ceux que j’ai mon enfin choisi… heureusement.
    Les parents, que tu en aies des mauvais ou que tu n’en aies pas, cela marque ta vie (j’ai malheureusement connu les deux). Par contre, malgré tout, il est impossible d’être responsable pour eux. On peux être empathique, partager ses sentiments, ses craintes, mais jamais maîtriser pour eux une quelconque situation.

    J’ai aimé lire ton blog, je crois que je continuerai sporadiquement. Et je regarderai aussi tes autres activités. Les contraste est saisissant, mais j’aime pensé que derrière la salope que je peux voir, il y a cette belle âme que je peux lire de temps en temps. Dans la vie tout n’est pas noir ou blanc, mais tout est en contraste.

    Merci à toi et une belle année pour toi… et moi !

  11. I’ve been where you are at, and it’s a horribly shitty place. You want to say something, but you fear if you say something you will ruin your relationship with your mom because she is so hooked into drinking. If you don’t say something, then you worry about feeling guilty when this finally grinds its way to its grim end…
    When I was there, I just snapped and told my mom how much it hurt me to see her kill herself. I told her I couldn’t watch it any more, and I washed my hands of the whole thing. I also told her, when she finally did want help, I would be there and would do anything she needed to help her.
    Sadly, I don’t know if it helped, because something far more major happened…my brother died of a heroin overdose. It broke my mom’s heart, but it also made her realize what it was to be on the other side of somebody’s losing battle with and addiction. She stopped drinking, and actually devoted herself to helping others fight their addictions, so no other mothers might have to suffer the loss that she did.
    I know that doesn’t help much (since I want you and your whole family to live long and happy lives), but I do hope it gives you some hope maybe your mom will one day see what she is doing to the daughter that loves her.
    You know, she might not read a letter that you wrote, but you write so damn well that I think it still might be worth giving a try…

  12. Salut Mlle FLAME,
    I hope for you a very good year 2009, your story is very sad, I read your blog since 2 years and I know you are a warrior for pass the difficult of life.
    En fait je n’avais pas eu l’impression que tu t’enfoncais dans une situation psychologique très compliqué…. bon c’est vrai que ce n’est pas facile à en parler sur un blog de qui on est vraiment surtout que ce blog n’est pas censé traité de ta vie.
    Pourtant c’est ce que tu est qui est le plus important et non ce que tu fais dans ton métier qui compte.

    Keep contact with your mom, she need your attentive for survive.
    Profite bien de ces vacances pour te ressourcer et retrouver un moral d’acier.
    Thanks for share Penny…

  13. It sounds to me like your mom and have been in similar places. Everyone I knew told me I drank too much and I was an alcoholic and they said I needed to get some help. I was going through a lot of stuff and alcohol was the way to kill off the pain. I was wicked drunk all the time. I was driving drunk and driving while drinking too. I didnt want and I was convinced I didn’t need help. If this sounds like your mom, and I can’t make that decision because I don’t know her, then I have the utmost sympathy for you. It’s a rough position. Some of my friends just backed off me and stopped talking to me because it was all bad. I am 1000 times better today, and what helped me was me hitting rock bottom and knowing that it had to be the worst rock bottom cause anything else would be me losing it all, going to jail, or death. I had already gotten out of 3 DUI’s mostly because cops have a soft spot when you’ve got a pretty girl in your truck. So I did 90 days in AA to learn to be sober 10 minutes at a time. I was so bad I couldn’t do “one day at a time” but getting sober enough to drink beers again but like a normal person took me 4 years. Alcoholism runs through my blood on my ma’s side. I’m praying for you.

  14. just fuck 4 $$$. no more of this senseless dribble. thank you.

  15. Wow you are really so brave Penny! To be so honest about something that most families keep secret no matter what. I would say just as someone who is totally outside the situation that you need to intervene. I DVR “intervention” and since I have never done drugs it is an eye opener for me. You are right that your mom is killing herself- you have to try and stop it if only for YOUR own sake in the future. To know that you tried everything you could in your own power do to save your mother from her demons. I think you need to call up AlAnon and get their help- work with your step dad and brother. Force her to go to treatment or else she loses everything. Other families have gone through this and come out on the other side, you owe it to your own success in the future to try now to get her to stop drinking. Keep us informed and stay well!!

  16. Don’t look back Penny. You’re a strong woman but you can’t save the world. All you can do is love her.

  17. Whatever happens, just don’t regret not doing SOMETHING.

  18. Isn’t it funny that the person who knows you the longest doesn’t necessarily know you the best? Parents-child relationships are so complicated. I don’t have an answer or strategy but if you have any ideas let me know.

  19. I appreciate the honesty of your posts, as long as you keep writing I’ll keep reading. As for your predicament I’m not sure there’s anything you can do besides being a supportive daughter. long term alcohol abuse such as your mothers isn’t just a matter of quitting it’s a lifestyle. you can drop a bad habit but a way of life is a much harder thing to change.

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