You love someone who is struggling with addiction. You are on a roller coaster of emotions. Some days you are happy because they are doing well and they followed through on a promise. Other days you are heartbroken because they are hurting, they hurt you, or they hurt someone else they loved. The state I get stuck in and I always do/say something I regret is the angry state. We are angry with them, we are angry with the addiction, we may be angry with ourselves, and we start to spiral out of our own control. What do we do with all of this anger? Let me share how I came to ask myself this question.
This week my sibling had a baby. Both parents and baby are doing great and are healthy. Everything went smoothly. Our family is very blessed. What should have been one of the happiest days of their lives, became a chaotic one. My mom, who I shared in previous posts has been a few weeks sober, wanted to take care of my sibling’s older children while my sibling was in the hospital. Since my mom had been sober a few weeks and my dad would be home, my sibling assumed it would be okay.
My dad ended up being called out of town about two hours before my sibling went to the hospital. My sibling, being smart, decided to have my mom meet them at the hospital to make sure my mom was okay to watch the kids. My mom showed up to the hospital incredibly drunk. She wanted to take the kids home with her but of course my sibling and their spouse prevented that from happening (the older kids never came in contact with her thank goodness). My sibling immediately called me and I drove to town to take care of the older kids. My mom left the hospital before I got there.
I did everything I could to make the day still about the new baby. I got flowers, I didn’t ask about my mom, and I kept the kids excited. My husband stepped up to the plate and went to look for my mom. He found her at home hammered and hid the keys. The following day she skipped out on work saying that “her grandchild was born” and the family “needed her help”. She took a taxi to the grocery store and went back home and drank all day.
I can’t even explain how angry I am. This is such a special time. A new life was brought into the world. This is a time when the “grandma” needs to step up and help. Grandma doesn’t need to show up at the hospital drunk trying to take children with her…WTF? Grandma doesn’t need to lie to her work and use this wonderful news as an excuse to drink. Grandma needs to get it together.
When I shared this in supervision with my direct supervisor, she asked me “What are you going to do with this anger?” Um…try not to explode? I didn’t really know how to respond. I am so filled with this hate towards my mother. I KNOW this is a disease and I KNOW this wasn’t her “choice” but she had been sober for weeks. Any other day would have been better for a relapse. Wouldn’t it be nice if relapses revolved around our own schedule? Ha.
My supervisor then said something that really resonated with me: “I will not be cliche and state that ‘everything happens for a reason’ BUT you can find purpose in everything that happens”. This was an incredible response because I needed to process what I was going to do with this disappointment and hurt, not just for me but for my sibling. My sibling wanted their mom to meet their new grandchild. They were devastated that this is what happened instead. Can you blame them? I am angry FOR them. My heart has been weighing me down. So…
What am I going to do with this anger?
I am going to write about it. I am going to reach out to you all. I am going to continue talking about addiction, alcoholism, and being an adult child of an alcoholic because I know I am not alone. I know other people are angry. I know other people are hurting. We have every right to be angry but yelling at my mom isn’t going to make me feel better. Nobody hates her more than she hates herself right now. She missed the birth of her grandchild. She doesn’t have any pictures with them. She will look back and this will be one of her biggest regrets. Of that, I have no doubt.
If you are angry right now, be angry. But when you are ready, let that anger fuel you to spread love. If you are hurting, be hurt. But know that you are loved, I love you. I truly do. I know it is hard to let go of anger. Sometimes the anger fuels us to move forward because when we let that anger go, we are just so tired. But you are tired because you have been fueled by anger. That should not be the primary force moving you forward. Find the love. Find your strength. You CAN find purpose in everything that happens.
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