Bethan's story

Bethan | December 2018 | 5 minutes

My mum Jayne, was a down to earth and incredibly kind-hearted woman. She had a great sense of humour and was always up for a laugh. It makes me so incredibly sad to say that my mum was one of 7,697 people in 2017 to die as a result of alcohol.

Alcohol dependency doesn’t just mean drinking a lot. It’s everything that goes along with it. It’s a change in behaviour, it’s having mental health issues, it’s a lack of sleep, it’s having hallucinations, it’s having the shakes, it’s a constant heart wrenching guilt. It’s everything you ever imagined your worst nightmare to be and so much more.

My mum’s drinking got progressively worse during my high school years. I would walk home from school every day wondering what I was coming home to. I was constantly questioning why I wasn’t enough for her to stop drinking. I blamed myself for so long for her drinking.; my biggest mistake growing up was taking it all too personally.

When she relapsed after two years of abstinence and family and friends would say, “It’s not your fault,” and, “You’ve done nothing wrong.” But I would think, “How could you even understand?”

I would feel so much resentment towards people my own age with ‘normal’ mothers – why was I dealt this hand?

"I would feel so much resentment towards people my own age with ‘normal’ mothers – why was I dealt this hand?"

Growing up with an alcohol dependent mother was difficult – but losing her to it was even worse. There are no words to explain the heartache of watching your mum take her last breath in front of your eyes and look at you for the very last time.

The only advice I could ever give to anyone in a similar situation would be to not have any regrets. I used to constantly regret not helping her; I used to regret not dragging to the GP for help, along with so many other things. But that wasn’t my responsibility. I could support my mum – but I couldn’t make her change.

That’s why I believe Alcohol Change UK’s ‘change’ campaign means so much to so many people. Showing support and understanding goes such a long way. You can find so many useful support groups and resources. Take a look.