You and your boyfriend deserve to feel enormous pride for what you’ve been able to accomplish in spite of tragedy and hardship. Don’t let anyone, ever, take that away from you.
The power of addiction is enormous. Although it feels to you like you were unwanted and unloved by your dad, I doubt that was the case. It felt that way because the addiction was even bigger than the love. Imagine how big, then, the addiction was – and perhaps is. It dominated your dad’s life. If that were not bad enough, neither parent had grown up learning the skills needed to cope with life, stay sober and raise kids. My guess is that you are doing so well because you learned from their bad example. You know what not to do.
Your father may have turned his life around in terms of stopping drinking. But he still has a lot to learn about taking responsibility for his life. He is still acting like an addict — shifting blame rather than owning up to his own past. There is no way you could “make” your mother turn against him. You simply don’t have that power. Having meaningful conversations with her where you both acknowledge the family history and figure out how to do better is important to healing the family.
Although it’s commendable that you want to include your parents in your life in spite of how they have treated you, it will continue to be challenging. Your father, especially, may not be ready to do it. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure this out on your own. If you haven’t already, I suggest you find out if there is a local chapter of Al-Anon in your community. Al-Anon helps family members of recovering alcoholics learn how to maintain the difficult balance of relating to a person in recovery but not letting it overwhelm them. The organization will also coach you in how to effectively interact with your brother. For information, go to their website at www.al-anon.org. Click on the “Find a Meeting” tab.
I wish you well.