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'Drunk Mom' Is Back

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Guest blogger Maria: Earlier this year, I wrote a few posts about Chloe, my daughter's friend whose mother has a serious pill and alcohol addiction. I have gone all summer without seeing Chloe's mom. I last saw her on the last day of school, with her multicolored hair and smudged lipstick, shaking and reeking of alcohol. She asked (again) why no one called her anymore. "Everyone's really busy," I remember saying -- while thinking to myself, How can she be so clueless?! She mentioned plans for playdates and sleepovers over the summer with our girls, but since there was no way my daughter was going to her house (or anywhere else with her), I knew I was going to have to finally tell her the truth: "I don't want my daughter around you because of your addiction."  
Young woman sleeping with wineglasses in front of her
Turns out I didn't have to, though, because Chloe's father (who's divorced from her mother) got in contact and made sure the girls got to see each other when he was on "dad duty." Her mother never called, and so was out of the picture all summer (fine with me). Chloe seemed happy whenever I saw her, so I thought maybe something might be happening -- good, for once -- with her mom. 

Wrong. When I took my daughter for the first day at school yesterday, I was relieved that it was Chloe's dad who had brought her, because I wouldn't have to see her mom. Wrong again. The dad and I were chatting, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a figure stumbling (no lie: stumbling) toward us. It was her, looking thinner than I've ever seen her. She came straight for me and gave me a giant, lingering hug. It felt like hugging sticks. "I miss you," she slurred into my hair, heating up my neck with a hot breath of wine. Wow -- not even 8 AM, and she was drunk. 

"Hiiiii!" I said, pulling away from her. I had trouble looking in her eyes, because I was being fake. I was disgusted, not happy to see her. I can't even feel sorry for her anymore. I know she's lonely and isolated, but she's put herself there. My brother is an addict, so I've been through this before. My tolerance (pardon the pun) isn't what it used to be with people like this -- in other words, people who refuse to help themselves. 

My husband, who was there too, was wide-eyed, and Chloe and her dad just looked embarrassed. I dread facing this whole thing again. Our daughters are friends and Chloe is in our lives, but still I hesitate to level with her mother -- especially since now I can just plan stuff with the kids through Chloe's dad. 

What do you think, moms? Should I even bother to set off the mother's wrath? Is it even worth the drama it's going to create in my (and my daughter's) life? I'd appreciate your comments.

next: 'The New Adventures of Old Christine' Is Back!
19 comments so far | Post a comment now
Krista September 16, 2010, 9:46 AM

Have a talk with Chloe’s Dad that you still want the girls to be friends and tell him that your daughter will not be allowed with his ex-wife. Tell him your concerns. I don’t think talking to her is going to help and could put her in a rage and her maybe telling Chloes she can’t be friends with your daughter. She might not even fully remember if you were to talk to her about your concerns and remember things that weren’t said as addicts sometimes do.

Anonymous September 16, 2010, 9:49 AM

Only take to Chloe’s dad. Talking to the mother won’t help.

Miche September 16, 2010, 10:53 AM

Does Chloe live with her mom? If so, you need to contact child services. If anything were to happen to the child and you knew she was in danger, you will blame yourself for not doing anything. If a child wasn’t involved, I’d say stay out of it. But she is innocent in all of this. Why haven’t any teachers said anything when the mom shows up on school grounds drunk? She has a serious problem and it’s irresponsible for you and any other adult who knows what is going on to let it slide.

Anonymous September 16, 2010, 10:58 AM

Whatever you do, think about what you want to teach your daughter about how to respond to people with addictions. Speak openly to her about what is going on and what your values are. Talk to the dad before you say anything to the mom. Maybe he is trying to do something. IMO he should be suing for custody right now and you might need to testify for him and therefore say nothing now. For me, I would want my kids to see me do something about the situation besides protecting them, although I would put them first.

KW September 16, 2010, 11:54 AM

Where is the compassion here? I understand she did this to herself but someone needs to reach out to her and try to help. You should ask her ex-husband if he has tried to get her help. Chloe should definately not be living with her, but she needs a mom, a healthy one!

PartlySunny September 16, 2010, 12:02 PM

Dad needs to get full-time custody of that child NOW. Her mother is clearly unable to take care of her (wasted at 8 a.m., at school?). This is beyond just socially awkward.

Alyssa  September 16, 2010, 12:50 PM

First of all, someone needs help this mother. Clue word is “addict”. When you are an addict you don’t think you are doing anything wrong when you drink. But other people around her knows she is. The dad needs to get his daughter out of the situation. Can his daughter stay with grandparents for a little bit while the dad helps out the mom. And for your children maybe the kids can hang out with her at your house. That way they can still hang out without being in a bad situation. And explain to your kids that their friend can only come to your house because her mom is sick. And maybe they will understand the situation.

Jo September 16, 2010, 1:11 PM

This makes me sad. On so many levels. I am a recovering alcoholic. I was so depressed in my life that I was in the deepest, darkest hole that I wouldn’t wish on even my worst enemy. I had it all. Within a year, I got married-moved across the country, had my identity stolen, had a very close friend commit suicide and had a baby. I suffered horrible post partum.

Fast forward…After numbing myself for 2 years with anti-depressants & alcohol..I finally took hold of my life.

I agree that her child needs to be in a safe place. But I also ache thinking about this woman’s scream for help.

I don’t know the whole story-but I do know she needs support. And if she’s been given options and has on a consistent basis denied help-then there comes a point of no return.

In my opinion…if you have any piece in your heart where you once cared about this woman-then take a step into her picture and learn her story. Does she know that everyone knows she’s drunk? Have you ever had that conversation with her?

If she’s only been an acquaintance and you just don’t feel comfortable-then maybe ask her ex what her story is about…

Once I was able to strip the black tape off from around my heart…I was able to tackle my addiction head on and started living my life in a happier place.

Virtual hugs to you and your dilemma.

Jo September 16, 2010, 1:18 PM

Um. I went back and read your previous posts..and WOW. I was thinking this was the beginning. I’d have to say-it could very well be pass the point of no return. When I read that she was shooting vodka at a kids’ birthday party-with everyone watching her?!?! Yeah. She needs FORCED help.

Good luck.

Anonymous September 16, 2010, 3:16 PM

Have some compassion. Tell her you care about her and that she needs to sober up. Being fake and pretending like you don’t know she has a problem isn’t going to help.

Rita September 16, 2010, 3:36 PM

Please, please get her some help. What happens when she’s driving drunk and hurts or kills someone you know or herself? I understand wanting to keep your child away from her friend’s mother, but the mother is literally screaming out for help. Do the right thing and help her, even if you don’t like her right now. Talk to the girl’s father, the counselor, even the principal if you can. Have a meeting about it. She’s dangerous and doesn’t know it. She needs help.

SimpleOkie September 16, 2010, 6:23 PM

Compassion doesn’t always mean ‘rescuing’. Sometimes compassion means allowing the person to take the consequences of their actions. [in this case, losing Chloe]. Maybe this will motivate her recovery. I think speaking to the father plainly and openly about this would be a good first act. You are a very important part of Chloe’s life, so you are not ‘intruding’. Please, please report her if she picks up her child drunk. Could you really live with yourself if she killed herself and Chloe drunk driving?

XXXX September 17, 2010, 2:23 PM

Tell the drunk to sober up.

jaclyn September 18, 2010, 10:42 AM

Have a talk with the dad to assess the situation. Does the mother share custody? How did she get to the school when she was drunk at 8 am? Is she driving drunk by herself and/or the innocent child? Has the mother tried rehab? Does the father understand the extent of the problem and is he fighting for custody?

If you aren’t comfortable calling ACS, you can speak to a school counselor, who is a mandated reporter of child abuse to get their opinion of whether ACS should be notified.

I realize this is a really tough situation, but I’d let the girl spend as much time as she likes at my house. She needs to spend as much time as possible in a loving home.

Jenn September 20, 2010, 7:09 AM

It just breaks my heart that people even consider ignoring such a desperate human being. Is that really the example you want to set for your daughter? That when someone is in trouble we can ignore them because it’s ugly. What will you tell your daughter when this woman dies. “Oj, well it’s probably for the best”? How will your child be a good friend to Chloe when she needs one because she is burying her mom

Jennifer September 21, 2010, 7:25 AM

Rather than not help this woman, why not leave AA literature for her anonymously. It might not help but this will keep you out of hot seat and maybe get a dialogue going for those closer to her and she might just get help.

Just remember you can lead a horse to water but cannot make him/her drink. Or on this case stop drinking :-)

Berenice October 12, 2010, 11:35 AM

Just get away from her as much a possible and make sure your daughter has n contact with her either. Plan stuff with Chloe’s dad and that all. I can’t imagine what other stuff she’s mixing with the wine, Kamagra Gel, aspirins, God knows

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