This is something I’ve always wanted to speak about. This is something I’ve dealt with my entire life.. and if you are going through something like this, you are not alone.
I was 4 years old when I first learned of my mother’s addiction. I never saw it coming. Let me explain the person my mother was. She watched soap operas, blared country music, sang beautiful songs at the top of her lungs constantly. She was the kind of neighbor you’d call over just to talk or make you feel better. She taught me how to do my hair, paint my nails, and match my clothes. She’d take me on spontaneous road trips. All of my friends in my grade loved seeing my mom, I had the coolest mom of all time. She was the most amazing person I knew, I looked at her like she held the universe in her hands.
My memories of laughing turned into crying, dancing in the house turned into police or CPS barging in, and our fun road trips turned into midnight runs with my mother to go out and hang with her friends. I was never scared, because I never understood what was going on. Finally, an incident happened where I had to move away from my mother and move in with my father.
I had settled into my new home, and my mother contacted me every day. Starting a new school at about 11 years old wasn't easy. I was terrified, I broke down in class and cried because I missed my mother. I understood why I was taken away only to an extent. I was only a kid. Over the next 3 years, I would stay with my mom in her apartment on the weekends. Things only got worse. When I visited I could tell what was going on, old enough to know the signs. She barely ate, she was always on the computer or watching TV, a trip to the gas station took hours, and she would fight with people over nothing. I watched the woman I first loved, turn into a different person. She lost everything, her only child, her boyfriend, jobs, everything. She couldn’t stay with family members because she would steal things, for the drug. My heart broke into a million pieces, I cared so much about her and there wasn't anything I could do. After feeling heartbroken I became angry. My mother chose to get drunk and spend most of her money on drugs instead of being there for me when I needed/wanted her the most.
Loving an addict for 12 years I went through a lot. A lot of heartache, disappointment, and even depression. I finally got into counseling, and it helped tremendously. Never be scared to get help, you shouldn't fight all of your battles alone. The battle with loving someone who's an addict isn't easy, it's:
Late nights up, thinking. It’s answering your phone, scared it might be news of their death. It’s wondering if they’re hungry. It’s blaming yourself. It’s anger. It’s crying. It’s regretting holidays. It’s knowing you won’t get a phone call to wish you Happy Birthday but still staring at your phone all day. It’s saving money in a mason jar to pay for their needs. It’s seeing them post a Facebook status about how much they love you, but not receiving a direct message. It’s staring at old pictures. It’s wondering how different your life would’ve been. It’s missing the way they smelled. It’s a waiting game, deciding when it’s time to move on. It’s trying to connect with them, only to be ignored. It’s being told that this is permanent, and to just deal with it. It’s torture, but most of all it’s realizing there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
It’s been roughly 4 years now since my mother has passed away. It was my understanding that she could have had alcohol poisoning. That means she wasn’t there to take pictures for prom, or yell in excitement when I cross the stage at graduation. She wasn’t there when I got my heart broken for the first time, or dealt with constant pain after she died. She won't be there for the birth of her grandchildren, or to see me walk me down the aisle. She missed out on my life, and continues to everyday. What do you say though? What do you say about someone who missed out on so much of your life by choice?
Everything that I’ve gone through with my mother’s addiction has shaped the woman I am today, and I hope to steer my life in the right direction when I graduate high school this year. I still think about my mother every day, and I’ve forgiven her in my heart.
“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness” – Marianne Williamson
If you love an addict, you are never alone. There is hope, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You must forgive for your own well-being. The person you love will always be a part of your life no matter what. But you must never hold hate in your heart.