Let me preface this by saying a few things:
1- If you know me in real life, please keep this between us. Some people know about this, and some people know parts of this, but it is very rare that I share the full details of my family situation because I prefer to keep them personal. However, I am at a point that I feel like I’m just not sure what else to do, and I hope sharing will help.
2- I’m going to try to share enough details to explain everything without giving years worth of back story. Bear with me if I get wordy.
3- I normally write about my weight loss journey, but this has been weighing on my mind very heavily lately. No, this is not my “why” in my weight gain. My weight gain is just because food tastes good.
4- I have written this a thousand times in my head, but don’t even know where to start once it comes to actually putting it into real words. I’m going to do my best.
My mother struggles with addiction. She is an alcoholic and self medicates. Her father was an alcoholic that took his own life when she was 18 years old. Thus, I believe this is when her own problems began. She and my father both drank and partied when they met, and throughout the beginning of my childhood, but stopped drinking when I was in the 6th grade, when my mom had a wreck that nearly killed her.
On my 21st birthday, both of my parents started drinking again. Things went downhill almost instantly. Fortunately for me, I was in college and not home most of the time. My younger brother was not as lucky, as he was still in high school. Fast-forward about 7 years later and here we are. Both parents drinking regularly (and my mother much more than regularly), years of non-stop arguments, neglect of family and friends, an affair and a separation.
Right before the separation, my brother and I went to an Alanon meeting for family members of alcoholics. From that meeting, I learned that there is nothing that I can do to change her. She is in control of her own choices and actions. I cannot change her. I learned that I have to live for myself and not get caught up in the craziness because it will only bring me down. Now, that is a VERY hard lesson for me, because I am an extremely compassionate person, I want to help everyone, and this is my mother, for crying out loud! The woman that gave birth to me. The woman that wiped my tears as a child and held me when I was sick. The woman that taught me to be the woman that I am now. She was an excellent parent while I was growing up. We had such a close relationship. It’s hard for me to stand back and watch all of this happen.
But I’ve also tried so many times. I see what it does to me when I get mixed up in everything. I feel guilty. I feel like I need to fix everything. I feel like the parent instead of the child. I literally lose sleep over it. I lay in bed and wonder if she’s at home, safe, or if she’s in a ditch somewhere. It literally drives me crazy. I’ve talked to her. I’ve driven her to rehab. I’ve cried with her. I’ve supported her. I’ve done absolutely everything that I know to do. Two years ago, my brother wrote her a heart-wrenching letter that had me sobbing when he let me read it. She read it. She cried. Nothing changed. I thought surely, if anything would change her, his words would. They didn’t.
My brother has detached himself from the whole situation. He’s very private and closed off. Some people even take him as being cold. He’s not though. He’s just guarded. He explained to me not too long ago that he just cannot be a part of the situation because he can’t handle it. And he’s one of the strongest people I know. So how then, if he can’t deal with it, do I figure out how I’m supposed to? My husband gets so frustrated with everything that my family has gone through that he doesn’t even want me to talk to him about my mom. So, here I am. Writing to complete strangers, with the hope that someone will be able to relate, or give the smallest piece of advice or give me just a peace of mind.
As I said, I’ve done everything I know to do for my mom. I’ve even driven her to rehab before. My brother wants nothing to do with her when she’s drinking or on pills. My father is just done with everything related to her, forever. Her mother is in bad health and just basically accepts it, and her aunt is pretty much in denial about the whole thing. I feel like I’m the only one that CAN do anything. I just don’t know WHAT to do.
Wednesday, she came to my house for me to do her hair for Thanksgiving. She was sober, but may have taken pills or been drinking out at her car when she went outside to smoke. I’m just not sure. We had a great time together. She even went with me to Walmart to pick up a few things that I needed. Through the course of our time together, she said something along the lines of, “I need help. I know I do. But I just don’t know where to go. I’m not working. I don’t have any money. But I know I need help. I feel like I need Dr. Phil or Intervention or somebody to help me. But I know my children are smart and if they think I need help, they’ll find somebody or something for me. They’ll get me help.”
Well, there ya go. I’m in the middle of it again. I didn’t respond. I didn’t know what to say. This is when this blog entry began forming in my mind. I was going to write to ask for suggestions. With the holidays, I was very busy and didn’t take the time to sit down and write everything out. Then, we went to a friend’s graduation celebration Saturday night. His father is a pastor and his mother is a counselor. She recently started an alcohol and addiction program at the church. Before she left, she gave me her cell phone number for me to give to my mother. We didn’t talk about her or her situation, but we live in a small town, so I guess she just knows. Well, I thought this was an answer to my prayers. What I was looking for. I didn’t have to write to anyone and ask for help after all. Surely, this is what was meant to be. So, I called my mom yesterday to give her the information. Here’s what she said to me. “Well, I’m alright right now. I’m doing well. I have an appointment with a doctor at the end of the month. But thanks for thinking of me. I’ll keep her number just in case.”
Seriously!!??!!! After you make me feel like it is MY job and responsibility to fix YOUR problems, I find a solution, THIS is what you say to me??!? So now, I’m back to my frustrated state. I’m mad at her for putting me through this constant whirl wind of emotions. I’m mad at myself for giving in again and feeling like it’s my job to fix her. I’m mad at her for not wanting to do anything about it herself. I just don’t know what to do. And at this point, I’m sure I’ll just go back to trying to distance myself from the situation as much as I can again. I don’t even really know WHAT I’m looking for in sharing this. Maybe affirmation that I’m doing what I need to be doing, which is taking care of myself and my husband. Maybe suggestions of what else I should do, or what I should not do. Maybe just someone else that can say, yes I’ve been there, since no one else in my life seems to understand exactly what this does to me.
But there it is. This is what I’ve had weighing on my mind lately. And I’m open to all comments, suggestions, ideas and thoughts. Thank you for reading and anything you have to share with me.