I would love to just experience one emotion at a time. Is that possible? Can I ever just be angry without sadness following? Can I ever be happy without feeling guilty? I think being a child of an alcoholic means that you have to be able to experience a range of emotions at any given time. You are also expected to control those emotions and cope appropriately. Yeah….sike.
I am feeling angry, sad, and happy right now. It is very confusing. But hey…I am a confusing kind of gal so I guess it fits.
This past weekend I went to visit my brother. He moved away a few years ago and he tries to stay pretty separate from my mom’s alcoholism. I can’t blame him. His perspective is “She’s an alcoholic. What’s there to talk about?” Although I think he is repressing A LOT, I envy the boundaries he has established.
He moved back to the town where we were raised. When I go to visit him, I also see family friends from our childhood. They always ask me how my mom is doing because my brother doesn’t talk to them about it. In their mind, being separate scares them. I was able to see how them not knowing what was going on was scary for them, unlike my brother who saw being uninvolved as a relief.
In this case, one of the people I saw was/is probably the best friend my mom ever had. They have had a falling out and aren’t as close as they used to be, due to my mom’s drinking. This woman though has always prayed for my mom and been such a good friend to me and the rest of the family.
When she asked how my mom was doing, I was honest. She shared with me some stories about when my mom used to visit, how scared she was for her because my mom would drink until she passed out. This friend didn’t know what to do or who to talk to. She ended up stop inviting my mom to visit.
As she shared the stories with me, I could see the pain in her eyes. It made me realize how many people addiction truly affects. I always think of the family first, we take the most heat. We live with it. We suffer the collateral damage. But we are not the only ones to suffer.
My mom’s friend, someone who has loved our whole family for our whole lives, barely sees us anymore. She lost her best friend, my mom, to this addiction. Sure my mom and her talk once in awhile but it’s superficial.
As I have gotten older, more people open up about how my mom has hurt them, how her addiction has hurt them. It’s painful to hear their stories. Sometimes I get mad at my mom for this continued destruction. Sometimes I get mad at the people for not telling me sooner. Sometimes I get mad at them for telling me at all.
In the end though, I end up sad. My mom is blessed to be an incredibly kind person who is loved by many. Unfortunately that means she has more people to hurt. Why can’t she see that her life is worthy of saving? Her life is worth getting sober. This is what makes me feel so sad. My love, her family’s love, and her friend’s love that has been poured out for her is not enough.
It never will be. I have to remind myself of that every time I start thinking this way. If love could get someone sober, my mom would never drink again. So while I sit here angry and sad and full of love towards my pitiful mother, I take solace in the fact that she is loved. Whether this disease kills her or she drinks for the rest of her life, I know it isn’t because she wasn’t loved. For that, I can be slightly comforted. It eases the guilt.
I know this disease is a disease and it is one in which only she can truly fight in the end. She will always be supported by those who love her, even though sometimes that support may be something she doesn’t want.
You can’t love the addiction out of someone. You can only love them. I hope that you are taking care of yourself! Thank you for reading.