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To Sam

Alcoholic mum

My mum is an alcoholic. There are times when she'll have a break not drink. But when she starts she doesn't stop. When she's drunk she's aggressive and violent towards people. She has been arrested numerous times because of this. 1 week before I was due to start my GCSE's when she was drinking and some stuff happened and I ended up staying at my grandmothers. My mum eventually moved in with my nan as a result of her drinking she broke up with her partner of 7years who is the main source of her drinking. Even though she stopped drinking I couldn't help but feel scared that she was going to start again and so I spent every minute with her that I could. I cut out my friends and gave up all my time to be with her so she didn't have the chance to drink. Then it was my year 11 prom the first time in 2 months I was doin something for my self and spending time with my friends. We then went on a family holiday. When we got back my mum hit the self destruction button again got drunk and went and got arrested again. I then decided to read her diary and found out she had been secretly drinking since prom night because she was jealous I was having fun. I now feel I can't do anything. For the past 3 weeks I've been staying with a friend because I can't forgive her. I don't know what to do and I don't know what my legal rights are about where to live as I am only 16.
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter and telling me a bit more about what things have been like when your mum drinks and how this affects you. It sounds like things have always been difficult and you made a big effort to support her but now feel unable to as she seems unable to stop drinking.

Alcohol can be a very addictive substance and it can be hard to stop without support, especially as it is often used as a coping mechanism for other problems. I can hear you are now living at a friend’s house and no longer want to live with your mum. I’m not sure how much contact you have been having with her and how much you want in the future. If you are able to talk to your mum, then talking about getting the right support might be a starting point.

Your mum may want to make an appointment with her GP to find out about the support available, but she must be ready for this as it can’t work without her wanting to make changes. Drinkaware has some information about supporting a loved one with alcohol when you are concerned about the impact it is having on their health and your relationship.

I can hear that you are starting to think about a long term solution to finding somewhere to live. At the age of 16, you can leave home without getting permission from your parents. You might want to think about where you'd be able to stay and what this would be like for you.

Although you can't usually rent a home or claim benefits before the age of 18, there are exceptions. Help is available if you are 16 or 17 years old and can't live at home. Your local council or a housing advisor will be able to tell you more about housing support for under 18s.

You can find out more about leaving home and legal rights on our Your rights page.

You may want to talk to the Citizens Advice Bureau or Shelter who specialise in advice and support for people with housing troubles.  
If you would like to talk more about leaving home, how you feel or about your relationship with your mum, you can talk to a ChildLine counsellor. You can get in touch by calling free on 0800 1111 or by using our online 1-2-1 chat. There will always be someone to support you.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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