Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
Fool me three times…I must be the loved one of an addict.
Haven’t we all been there? We keep reaching back to the hot stove even though we know we are going to get burned?
Not this time! We tell ourselves arrogantly. Our loved one won’t let us down. They are strong enough to make it through the graduation party. They know better than to show up at a kid’s party hammered. They love me enough to get through this for me.
We are partly correct but mostly stupid in that thinking. They are strong enough to get through things and they do love us but that doesn’t mean it is enough to stop them. Addiction is strong. Addiction is really, really strong. They aren’t choosing their drug/alcohol over us. The addiction is choosing the substance over us.
I know, that sounds like we are taking responsibility off of them but honestly, that concept has brought me so much peace.
I know my mom loves me. I know she wants to be there for those events. I know she doesn’t want to be blackout drunk. I know she hates the feeling of being hungover because with that comes a heavy amount of shame. I know she doesn’t enjoy those moments of people spewing hate because she ruined something. I know that she doesn’t drink to have a good time. I know she doesn’t drink to hurt me. She is drinking because she is addicted to drinking.
I get disappointed and I get angry and I have every right to feel that way but at the end of the day, I am tired of being angry all of the time. I am tired of the disappointment I cling to as a security blanket. When I get tired of my anger weighing me down, I do one of two things:
- I step away. I remove myself from my family. I put in huge boundaries and barriers to communicating with them so I can have a little peace. This past weekend, I went to the mountains with my in-laws and didn’t talk to my family. It was wonderful. I let my family go and focused on enjoying myself. I needed that. It isn’t selfish. It was self-preservation.
- I accept it. I give in to the fact that this disease that has taken over my mom’s brain is that, a disease. She needs help but I can’t cure her. I just let it go.
I love my mom. I tell myself that every time she messes up, even when she messes up big time. I think that is so important to remind ourselves that we love this person who keeps hurting us.
That doesn’t mean we have to keep letting them hurt us, it means we love them in spite of it. We may have to love them by not paying their bail, not inviting them to the next family event, or simply telling them no. But we have to remind ourselves that we love them.
My heart had been filled with so much hate. I was so angry with my mom and my family that I forgot how much I loved them. I put my love on the back burner. My anger was more important.
I hate when I do that to myself. I feel it gnawing away at me. I see it in how I treat others and how I treat myself. It doesn’t make me feel better and it doesn’t help them get sober. So why do I do it? Why do I keep burning myself?
Why do I keep holding my mom to the standard that she will be sober for every event? Why do I get my hopes up? Why do I keep burning myself?
Why do I push my family away when I need them most? Why do I keep burning myself?
Because I am human. I make mistakes just like she does.
But I will tell you one thing, my hand has calloused over and each burn hurts a little less. I get stronger every day. Every mistake I am making is leading me to a better place so I don’t regret any of them…well not all of them 🙂
If you are angry with yourself for how you are responding to your loved one, cut yourself some slack. You’re hurting. Let yourself hurt and learn from the pain.
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