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Background: In South Africa, there is a paucity of qualitative studies giving a voice to mothers who drink,
which could inform interventions to assist families to heal from repetitive alcohol use disorders.
Methods: This qualitative study explored the discursive accounts of 10 mothers who are members of Alcoholic
Anonymous in the context of their complex state of being-in-the-world with others (like husbands and children). The aims
of this study were to explore why mothers drank excessively and to unpack their families’ responses to their drinking.
Results: First-person narratives with mothers’ about their lived experience with alcohol use disorder illustrate the main
themes, which emanated from these discussions. The discourses on secrecy, shame and silence related to the mother’s
lived-experience with alcohol’s occurrence in the family. This paper recommends that families who always stand over and
against an alcohol dependent past should consider attending free support group meetings for loved ones of Alcoholics. A
popular family support group for families affected by alcohol dependency is known as Al-anon.