How do you forgive if the person you love/struggle to forgive hasn’t changed? What about addiction? Is it possible to forgive in this instance? Today Taylor shares her story of growing up with an alcoholic mom, and how she changed even when her mom didn’t. ~ Suzie
Forgiving My Mom
by Taylor B.
Growing up, my mother struggled with being a mother.
She was an alcoholic. For the most part she was an angry drunk, but it went in cycles. She would be really upset and crying one minute, the next laughing, and then it would always turn into anger. It was such an emotional roller coaster. There were quite a few times when she would get so low and depressed that she would lock herself in her room threatening to kill herself.
Those times were the scariest.
There were times my siblings and I would pour out some of her alcohol and replace it with water. At first she had no clue we were doing it but eventually caught on. We continued to do it here and there knowing that the consequences might be much worse than what was already to come, but it was worth the risk.
I wanted a mother so bad that it was pathetic.
I kept thinking that if I could just fix her it would all go away. I remember being about 8 years old and finding her pot stash. I hid it from her with the idea that it would fix everything. Come to find out it changed nothing.
A few years later I thought, “Well, if you can’t beat her, join her.”
I began smoking weed the summer before 7th grade. I began to lose any respect I had for her at this point. I never wanted to be home so I did my best not to be.
I hated that I would come home and have to pick her up off the floor and change her clothes because she peed all over herself.
I hated coming home and finding her on the floor not knowing if she was dead or passed out.
I hated her for not being there for me when I needed a mother.
But, I also loved her at the same time.
By the time I entered high school I was partying all the time. One night my mom came into my room and I was snorting a line off the countertop. I am not even sure she remembered it the next day. Those days I felt like she was more worried about whether I could take her to the liquor store to get her more booze than what we were doing. My brother and I had parties in the basement while she was upstairs getting plastered by herself and talked to various men over the internet.
When I was in the last trimester of my sophomore year I met a girl named Tracy. She was a Christian and well aware of my drug and drinking habits, but we still became great friends. I went to young Life meetings with her… always high, but it was fun and got me out of my house. She even convinced me to go to camp that summer. She guaranteed us it would be the best week of our lives.
She was so right.
I heard the story of Jesus dying on the cross for me, for all sinners. This was the first time I had really heard the story of Jesus and I was in awe by his sacrifice.
After returning from camp I stopped partying. I hung out with Tracy a lot more, went to YL sober, and went to church. But there was even more strife between my mother and I. She used my new love for God against me any chance she got. I was just a baby Christian and my attitude and hatred toward her did not magically disappear, but increased.
By the time I was 16 I was living out of a car. My entire wardrobe resided in the back. I went to school, work, and couch surfed for a while until I finally moved into my boyfriend’s (future husband’s) house.
During that time, I put God on the back burner. My boyfriend and I lived a sinner’s life; we continued to call ourselves Christians but our fruits did not show it.
When I was 22, I was led to a church. I was so hungry for everything they were teaching. For what they were doing.
My life was completely changed as a church became my family.
My life was completely stripped and exposed. I finally saw a road to freedom, and I was delivered. Though I had given up the desire of having a mother, God filled that void.
I started to realize that her alcoholism wasn’t my fault and that she was a victim, too. Her mother had struggled when she was a girl, and had rages and was suicidal.
I started to believe that I could still love her, and with healthy boundaries have a relationship.
The thing is, that was a long time ago and she has not stopped drinking.
She does respect the boundaries that we have in place, and though our relationship isn’t close, it is growing. It is also the healthiest one we’ve ever had.
So, even though my mom hasn’t changed, what has changed is my heart.
I have forgiven her. I now see her the way God does, and I have released her to Him. It is not my job to fix her. This is God’s job and he is big enough.
By forgiving, I know where to find the love I always desired.
Maybe you are reading this and it feels like your story. An alcoholic dad. Mom. Or an adult child, and they haven’t changed.
Taylor is sharing a powerful truth. Sometimes people don’t change — not in the timing we hope, or in the ways that we wish.
Maybe, they aren’t able, due to their own hurts or perhaps simple selfishness, to be a parent to you, and that hurts. But Taylor realizes that God can and will fill those gaps. I love that she used the word “delivered”. As a mom I know this is a powerful word. We are delivered as newborns into new life. God loves us so much that He heals and delivers, bringing us up and out of pain or bondage into new life, breathing new life into our hearts and the path that we take from that moment on.
Let’s take this deeper today in our conversation. Taylor will stop in.
Maybe your parent was an alcoholic and has changed, like my good friend and Proverbs team mate, Karen Ehman, who shared her story in The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness.
Though their stories are different, the results in Karen and Taylor are the same . . . all because they forgave. (Read Karen’s story.)
That’s an amazing story. I love that she is able to forgive and have the healthiest relationship they’ve ever had. Boundaries are so important and they need to be recognized and respected on both sides.
Taylor, thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry you had to experience those hurtful things, but praise God you were delivered and have a great testimony to tell. I pray for you and your family; and that your relationship with your mom will continue to heal and grow. Hugs!
A lot of this is my story. I didn’t get involved with drugs & alcohol, thankfully & only by the grace of God. My mom & I barely speak today. And I hate that, but after believing she had changed & allowing her to keep my 1year old overnight only to find her drinking in my house with my little boy & a crazy ex-boyfriend, I had to put up a wall. It’s been 7 years now & while I love her dearly, I cannot put my kids through what I’ve gone through most of my life. I have forgiven her & accepted that I can’t change her.
Thanks for sharing your story.
That is hard. My mom and I still go through our phases of on and off communication. I pray that you will have full restoration and that God will do a mighty work in your mother. I think that having those boundaries for your children are healthy and necessary. You are breaking the cycle for your children and showing them what a healthy family situation looks like and that alone is amazing.
As a mom you have no choice but to protect your child. Forgiving in this instance is praying for her, asking God to lead her to a place of mercy and change. It’s asking God to remove resentment from your heart and inviting compassion and belief and hope instead. It’s being truthful with your mom, and not protecting her from the consequences of her addiction, while keeping the door of your heart open for healthiest relationship possible (boundaries that protect, rather than punish). You sound wise, Heidi. I pray today that you will be wrapped close in God’s love, that He will show you how valuable you are, how precious to Him. In Jesus’ name.
Taylor, you are so very brave. Stories of forgiveness like yours are the most powerful evidence of the love and reality of God women will ever see. I pray the Lord will lead many to read your story today. I pray forgiveness will be extended and relationships healed because of your beautiful story of healing, forgiveness and bravery!!
Sweet Blessings to you,
I think Taylor’s life is such an example of why we can say “Jesus is real”. She discovered that knowing Him provides deliverance — from an old life of hurts and trying to find relief to a new life of joy, and helping others, and cutting the ties to the past so that she can live fully today. She’s an epitome of joy. I love this friend of mine, and I love how much you can see Jesus in her, despite the fact that she has changed and others in her family have not. She’s made Jesus her family, and an anchor in her marriage and for her home.
Taylor, thank you for sharing your story, I believe it will be a HUGE blessing to many.
I too, grew up with an alcoholic mother, add a couple of mean, nasty stepdads, and I partied my way through the teen years with no supervision…my mom got sober after she killed her boyfriend and spent 5 years in prison…I asked God to let me see her the way He sees her…we have a great relationship now…but I live 1000 mile away because I didn’t want my kids to grow up around her and my alcoholic uncles…when the kids are grown, I plan on moving home so i can care for her in her old age…I believe this is what God would have me do…does she deserve it? nope! that is what makes it all the more important…forgiveness…it is a lifelong process…
My story is similar but I was lucky enough to stay off the drugs and alcohol myself. I am now a 30 year old firefighter/paramedic and my mother is 47, and nothing has changed. I know this may sound strange but she has made me lose a lot of my Christian believes and values because she always uses “gods forgiveness” as a pardon after every binge. I think one of the worst things is after every argument we’ve had in recent years she would too it off by saying “god bless you” in a mean manor. This has made me hate this term. I know all of this is still penned up inside me and is unhealthy. I still haven’t forgiven her, and I’m not sure I can. It’s like her mind is completely gone. Around family functions I usually try to avoid contact (when she shows up). She has this false sense that I must respect her because she’s my mother but I don’t. Everytime I try to think of good memories or reasons I should forgive her; the first things that come into my mind are the horrible things my brother and myself were put through when we were younger. People Have always told me to learn to forgive her because I will miss her when she’s gone, but I don’t think I will. I’m sorry about my little rant here but I’ve never written about any of this and after reading this story I figured it might help me out a little.
Please see Kim’s response above. I’m not going to add anything, because she’s walked in your shoes and has so much more to say than I could. Suzie
Dwane, I’m so glad you felt safe enough to talk about it, and maybe no one has ever said this, but I’m so sorry for what you’ve experienced. I do pray that you’ll read The Unburdened Heart. Not because it’s my book, but because I hear you. You don’t want to be tangled in the after effects of this anymore. What a beautiful desire, and my prayer today is that this is the beginning of a new way of thinking and being starting today, one day at a time. It’s a process, but it starts somewhere. May this be the beginning for you.
Taylor, thank you for sharing your story. I to grew up with a mom who started out drinking and by the age of 8 she moved to pills. I didn’t know if I would come home to her alive each day. She would get high on pills drive and play chicken with 18 wheelers while she made us ride with her. My dad was always at work and we were scared to even talk to him. It was hard growing up not having a mother to teach you things girls are suppose to know. Luckily I had a grandmother who took us to church. I lived with my mom for 34 years of this. Waking up to breaking dishes in the middle if the night, or a gas stove on, or waking up to a knife over my head. But God kept me safe. I got saved at 17. I moved out at 18 with a roommate that later became my husband. I thought it was a lost cause with my mom. When I was 34 my mom really OD. By now my family had enough. She was passed out in the middle of the floor. She had wet herself and we could not wake get. We called 911. They rushed her to the hospital. Two days she was on the vent. She was in the hospital for 6 days. The whole time she mouth I’m sorry. We though that would wake her up. But a week later me and my 7 year old daughter left there house and found my mom trying to hide those say pills in her bag. I try to get them but she would not let me have them. I knew right there I was done. I have been praying for her for 20 plus years and now I had my family to worry about. I told her I was done and until she clean up I was gone. She called me the next day and said she gave them to my dad. I called my dad that afternoon and come to find out she lied to me. I called her the next day and told her I was done. That I loved her very much and that I had to keep my family safe Specially my daughter. I never wanted for her to grow up like that. I told my mom that I would not come around no more or call. But I felt like God telling me todo this. For two weeks I didn’t talk to her. It hurt each day. But one day my dad called me. He told me that my mom gave him the pills. She called the next day and apologize. I was in tears thanking God. It has been over 4 months so far I have had my mommy for my mommy. She is no longer high for 2 weeks of the month. So for all those people going though things like this, Do not give up praying, God does answers prays. And I am really enjoying my mothers real love and do has my daughter. We serve an Awesome GOD!!!!!
I am grateful for stories like yours. It is a great testimony of redemption and I am still believing this for my mom. Thank you for sharing!
Lord, reach down to this broken woman and make her whole. Reach beyond the obvious symptoms of alcoholism or pills to heal the heart beneath. Bring the right people into her life, God. Put a hedge of protection around her as she recovers from years of addiction. Let her new addiction be wholeness, to pursue and live life anew. Thank you that you heal and that the impossible is possible with you. In Jesus’ name.
Thank you for sharing your story. My dad has been an alcoholic all of his life and still is. My mom has a brain injury accident a few years ago so she has problems being nice to me. My husband left me 3 years ago and just recently remarried the woman he left me for after we divorced 2 months ago. I have had to learn positive self-talk recently have found it helps with the guilt that parents place on us. I have learned about co-dependency and have attended Al-Anon and have found it helps. Al-Anon is for the families who are affected by alcoholics. There is a really good book by Melody Beattie called CoDependent No More that has helped me to feel understood. Don’t let the subtitle get you angry when it says “how to stop controlling others and start taking care of yourself”. Look past the cover and read it. it is a really good book with a lot of ways to help us feel understood those of us who are affected by alcoholic parents or spouses. I hope you find it helps you the way it has helped me.
I spent a lot of time reading Al-Anon books and a lot of them were very helpful in just understanding even why I acted the way that I did or felt how I felt. At times I thought that I was crazy because I felt like no one understood me and so I thought I was the only one experiencing those things. 🙂
Taylor is trying to stop in but having technical difficulties. If I need to, I’ll have her send me her responses and I’ll share them with you.
FROM TAYLOR TO DWANE: Hey Dwane –
Thank you for sharing your story… It does not end here. I promise
Everybody has a story. Good and bad, maybe a mixture of both. Your
story begins as a little child and I personally believe that as
children we absorb the most because we don’t know any different and
behaviors are learned. Coming from a dysfunctional background I knew
nothing different. For me that was my normal. As I got older I began
recognize that it wasn’t in fact normal. Why didn’t all the other
kids have to deal with picking their mom off the ground or wait for
her to pick her up from practice but never show up? The older I got
the more angry I was at her for the mother she wasn’t. It became all
about what she had done to me and how messed up I was because of it.
I had trouble in relationships and dealing with life and never learned
good skills for life from her. I was all on my own. I too said to
myself often that I was better off without her.
As I said before, everyone has a story. Once I learned my mothers
story and what she had been through I was able to have more compassion
for her. It was not an overnight compassion, but as time went on and
the Lord revealed more and more I was finally able to take the focus
off what she had done to me and look at what happened to her and how
miserable she truly was.
The difference between her and I was I chose to break the cycle. I
believe that shifting a focus from myself and the injustices that
happened to me, to focusing on how much I want her to experience the
freedom that she truly in fact deserves; shifting the focus from
myself being the victim and realizing that she is the victim and is
stuck in a hell that I never want to experience, I was able to forgive
I am a stronger person today because of her and believe that I have a
call to help others who are/were in similar situations as I am/was.
To me, helping others gain freedom from a life like the ones we lived
gives me tremendous hope because addiction is everywhere and people
are struggling with breaking the cycle.
I write you today asking you what is your mom’s story? What are God’s
thoughts about her? Let God into those hard places. Taking the focus
off of myself and what happened to me was one of the most powerful
things in my healing from my childhood. I believe that you to can get
to this place and encourage you to not give up.
One last thing – If you haven’t read the Unburdened Heart I so
encourage you to do so. I think there are things in there that could