My life has been quite full the last couple months. I find this to be interesting because – simply put – my time is spent focusing 100% on managing and regaining my health. I am slowly finding my way and finding a deeper level of what friendship means to me. Or better yet, what friendships work for me while I build and discover a gentler life.
I woke up this morning as the sun was hitting the tops of the trees outside of my window. And on this fine morning I once more count my blessings, which always includes my mother too. Today it’s not necessary to once more feeling compelled to describe & explain my physical pain & tears that over come me every single morning. Because today my gratefulness, faith and joy is bigger and stronger than any part of my physical body. My soul and spirit and belief covered everything else and only left lightness – joy in my heart. I am eternally joyful and grateful that today my mother turns 82 years old!
Through God’s grace my mother and I both have endured and maintained long time sobriety. A shocking amount of families literally suffer day in and day out from the disease of alcoholism. Reluctantly, as if it was a lifetime ago, I remember for years wishing my mom would just stop drinking. (and just stop smoking too!) If only we could, “just”. Not possible to “just” anything when it is a disease of the mind, body and spirit. THEN when the miracle did happen – it was after I surrendered. I quit just “wishing” and fell to my knees and started praying for her. I let go. I let it all go. My pain was too great – I had to let go of my mother and her illness. Sadly, she was out of my life for about two years – (not positive how long – it was so uncomfortable!) my grieving and praying was bottomless and endless. I went through a such a grieving period – I’m sorry – but my grieving was so painful that I wished she would just go ahead and die already from her alcoholism. I had lived on eggshells for too long. My feelings left me full of shame, guilt and good ol’ anger. But during my grief period of letting her go and giving her to God – to my dismay – I started to notice and learn some things about myself and who I was as a person at that time in my life and how I come across in my communications. My expectations.
I did not even notice that perhaps there was a reason of my own that I married and I was then divorcing my alcoholic husband. I eventually saw that my own drinking was leading me to unhealthy levels. (and I did not enjoy realizing that one) And getting a babysitter for my baby boy so I could go out and “drink the right way” quickly stopped working for me. Sheesh! The hangovers – ouch. It had to be a mistake! Me? An alcoholic too? No, I don’t think so. I must be wrong. I have to be wrong! My broken heart only could speak in unrealistic expectations of others. I was so ignorant to the many levels of the complexity and heart ache of the disease of addiction to alcohol. I was young – my son was a toddler. Never before had I looked at my mother as a woman who lived with not knowing (and STILL not knowing) the demise of her son – my brother – he was literally physically lost in the vast sea of alcoholism and drug addiction – the tide rising around him and the rip current bubbling out of control as it carried him far away to an unknown place on earth – or perhaps heaven – we do not know. Could I function in day-to-day life if my son disappeared? My God, my mother is brave. She has courage that I have not ever had to tap into at such a level in motherhood. When my painful realizations and growth finally started to loosen their grip on my being – when my connection to my God grew more solid – when my own son was only 2 years old when I became sober myself in 1987 — it was after all of that in October of 1988 when my mother called me. (No caller ID mind you.) I was shocked and speechless when I heard my mother’s voice for the first time in forever and I heard her tell me she had 30 days sober. Then she apologized to me.
Like giving birth to twins, God had struck us both sober.
All that matters is what is right in front of me – because that is how I survive myself some days. And for today, what is in front of me is my mother’s birthday. How cool is that?
Happy Birthday to you Mom. I love you. I’m glad that you were born.