independent advocate reducing alcohol harm

Olivia

I was numb. I registered no emotions …

 

I first noticed my Mum’s alcohol misuse around the age of 7. Until then the memories I have of her are happy – us cooking together, baking together, feeding the ducks together but the one memory I will treasure is the memory that every day when she picked up from school when I was around the age of 5 she would ask me what chocolate bar I would want in the morning when she dropped me off and when she picked me up she would have my chosen chocolate bar. I’m not sure why that memory is so poignant and the one I cling to most but it is.

 

Sadly after the age of 7 the memories turn sour – The abuse was exhausting and as a young child I couldn’t remember much but I have snapshots of memories, whether these are in order I have no idea and I can’t distinguish what is from my memory and what I’ve been told – nevertheless the abuse consisted of being kicked, punched, locked out the house and this only happened in the evenings when she had been drinking. Luckily we had Dad otherwise I don’t know what I would’ve done.

 

On a weekly basis an ambulance was called as she had called down the stairs and cracked her head or broken a hip. The doctors said she had the bones of a 93 yr old – she was 40. In 2014 I think she had a cardiac arrest – I didn’t feel sad, I was numb. I registered no emotions, did I love her? I don’t know. She survived but was put on DNR and in January 2016 she passed away at the age of 43. I was 13. I wasn’t sad, I don’t remember much but I know I wasn’t sad. I only cried at the funeral.

 

In that same year, Dad became an alcoholic, ironic I know. He drank 3 bottles a day, we know because me and sister kept count. He was verbally aggressive and it hit him worse than Mum, Mum’s descent happened over a period of time, his happened in a few months. The alcohol gave him permanent brain damage, he has issues with his balance, the doctors said he would never be the same again but he’s come pretty close.

 

Luckily one day the light flicked in his head and he declared he was going to rehab. This happened shortly after he had a seizure at our granny’s house – he had been attempting to withdraw and it hadn’t gone well. He went to rehab for a month and came out our Dad again. He’s been sober for 3 years now and is the same cheeky, silly Dad we know. I didn’t get the same with my Mum, the alcohol took her but I’m glad my Dad managed to escape it’s grasp.