“Maternal drinking”

This article first appeared on 18. May 2016

“My car, I have a verse open,” says Gabi Schneider*. She stands in the kitchen of their apartment in Hamburg-Altona and pours hot water into a coffee filter. A slender woman in her late 40, you would not believe such a sentence. Your long blond hair you plucked braided into a ponytail, her lips a delicate pink makeup, the eyebrows carefully.

The apartment is tastefully furnished, in the dining room and living room with a large massive wooden table, about six chairs. The patio door leads to the courtyard garden, where you want to have a barbecue later with a friend.

Nothing indicates, that here was a woman the child is living, was for years nothing more important than the next beer. “I’ve done to my daughter’s Bad,” Schneider says.

Ten to twelve large bottles of beer, so five to six liters, drank it every day. This was in the years 2011 to 2014. The daughter was twelve, as the mother slipped into the Addiction, the son is 24 and already moved out.

Creeping up in the Searches

According to estimates, approximately 2.7 million children and adolescents in Germany have at least one parent with an alcohol disorder. In one of the seven families, mother, father, or both, drinking at times, in a twelve-permanently. That is not only economically weak mothers resort to bottle, to show, among other things, statistics on the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy.

According to a major study by the Robert Koch-Institute, 2007 drink in comparison to the under layer more than twice as many well-provided women, while in her womb a Baby grows. A total of 14 percent reported to have been drinking, even if rarely. Experts anticipate a high number of unreported cases.

Cutter path to Addiction started innocently. After her parents had died early – her mother an alcoholic and she was partly raised in the home seemed to be lucky to return to her.

As a young woman she worked as an office clerk in a car dealership, her husband came from a good family, two children, a family like in a picture book. “At the time, alcohol played no role,” she says.

Beer and sparkling wine are concerned, only if friends came to visit. Later, she had passed the drinks to stock in the house, in case someone spontaneously. And you made alone with a bottle and drank a glass or two, with time it became more. Gradually replaced beer and sparkling beverages such as water, tea or coffee.

Over ten years, Schneider has developed a habit of drunk. In this time, something changed in your life otherwise. Her husband left the family, a new came. But it was not until years later that it was in 2011, and now 44, threw two blows of fate in the Addiction.

“I have enjoyed my misery”

Your new relationship broke. “This man was the love of my life,” she says today. In addition, the fixed-term work has not been extended a contract with a social carrier, she worked in the meantime. In vain she sought a new job. During this time, you went out a lot, met with Friends, was looking for a distraction, drank.

“I enjoyed it, full of self-pity the whole day drunk to lie on my Sofa,” she says. The more the alcohol flowed, the more you pulled back. Visit, arrived but they offered something to drink, so that your Banner is not so easy to roch. The day emptied six-packs Schneider bought, empties she brought to the Container. “Mothers, women, drinking, commonly secretly,” she says. “And alcoholics are the best liars, you can imagine just are.”

Even at the height of Addiction Schneider kept the apartment clean, cooked, bought. “I brought my daughter Breakfast in bed,” she says. When school friends came to visit, they danced in the living room. “All were amazed at what Clara* has a great mother.” The intact facade was the condition that she could undisturbed drink. But mother and daughter were alone, showed Schneider’s unpredictability.

Love withdrawal and psychological terror

“My daughter, have I deprived with full intention to love,” she says. To be able to enjoy a drink, denied the mother her daughter shared cooking and TV in the evenings. Good night kisses have you laid on the forehead, so that Clara could smell her Flag so much.

Sometimes she was completely out of control, I did scream and her child. “I left her no room to develop a healthy self-esteem,” says Schneider. One’s hands that it had become never.

Most of the time, Schneider speaks in a calm and controlled over their Addiction. But it’s about your daughter, is she talking about faster, the eyes wander, she turns to hold back the tears. “Most of the children suffer from the Addiction”, this is your clear today.

Yet two years ago you couldn’t admit that so easily. She weighed 20 kilos more than after the therapy, was extremely short of breath and had stomach pains. That might have something to do with the alcohol, extruded them. For everything she found an explanation. “I ran out of breath, was just on the weather, hurt the stomach, I had eaten too little.”

“I wanted to dance at the wedding of my children”

Instead of looking for help, stunned Schneider also physical pain with alcohol until that day at the beginning of 2014. Because her daughter felt a Pull on the leg, she went with her to the house doctor. The practice was relatively empty. Spontaneously told Schneider to the doctors of their complaints, the alcohol you failed to mention.

The doctor diagnosed a stomach ulcer, a fatty liver a precursor to cirrhosis of the liver, and Diabetes, because the pancreas was attacked. His alcoholism suspected he failed to mention the first, made cutter clear, however, that she was about to damage your body irreparably.

According to the German main questions are dying for addiction in Germany, about 74,000 people per year prematurely from the effects of excessive alcohol consumption, often in combination with Smoking. Are not only a danger to 1.8 million addicts and 1.6 million frequent drinkers. On average one out of ten German takes potentially harmful amounts of alcohol.

“I wanted to dance at the wedding of my children and my grandchildren in their arms,” says Schneider. You confessed to your doctor that you drink. It is a two-week rehab and four months of therapy followed in an addiction clinic.

Daughter Clara lived in an assisted living community. Their Girlfriends told them their mother had cancer. She was ashamed of herself. “I know, it has torn my heart,” says Schneider. Until today, the daughter is now 17 years old, to back her, she’s now open with the illness of her mother.

Crash with consequences

For about a year, Schneider remained after the first withdrawal in a dry place. “When I came out of the clinic, I was motivated insane, but also arrogant,” she says. However, the everyday life without working in an environment full of professionals and the feelings of guilt you are overmatched.

One Evening she went to the gas station, just once, she wanted to shoot “right”. Schneider fell back into the Addiction. 15 beer she drank every day now. Even if you made the evening feast, immediately to stop, it failed. “I woke up at 4 in the middle of the night shaking and I opened the next bottle.”

Friends, she denied it, to drink again, went to the door and not answer the phone. She was ashamed of herself. The feeling to have failed, overwhelmed you more than ever. In March 2015, she was drunk, crying in front of the Computer again. She wrote a Mail to the chief doctor of their own addiction clinic. The encourages you to get help. To write “this e-Mail, that was one of the most important moments in my life.”

Back in the clinic, Schneider learned that three well-Known from your first withdrawal were already dead, including a young woman with two small children. “My illness has taught me humility,” she says.

In the second therapy-crafted soapstone figure reminded Schneider of her feeling to the back of the case

The second stay in hospital, Schneider learned to be more lenient with yourself and better with the feelings of guilt for their children to deal with it. “I understood that I must let go of the past, if I want to continue to live.” The Only thing you can do for your children is to stay healthy.

Since the back case of the tailor, today, is more than a year to dry. Your body has recovered from the damage caused by alcohol as far as possible. “I’m very grateful,” she says. 30 hours a week and has been working since may as a housekeeper in a Hotel. She regularly goes to after-care for addicts, and later you want to find a self-help group.

The contact with old drinking acquaintances has stopped, the real friends she cares for. The relationship to her daughter is very well, says Schneider, if also more friendly than motherly. You are on the phone regularly. The son makes them in a couple of months to the grandmother.

Under a shelf in the bathroom Schneider has clamped a reminder note: “make sure you’re okay”, it says.

*Name changed by the editors

I drink too much? If your drinking habits are causing concern, speak with your doctor. Addiction counselling agencies, also help. A contact person in your area, you can find the list of the Federal centre for Health education (here) or the German centre for addiction issues (here).

Affected and their children will also find information on the page eltern-sucht.de or parentsand addiction.ch. Targeted information for women, the Federal centre for health education here.