This blog has been a long time coming. It’s the result of several years of denial, a few years of excuses, a lot of pain, and finally… enough is enough.
My mom is an alcoholic.
For a long time I didn’t really want to admit it. I didn’t want people to think I came from one of “those” kinds of families. I wanted to protect her reputation. I probably wanted to protect my own.
It started just as I was leaving high school, as far as I know. It’s become more consuming as the years have gone on. She is no longer the woman I knew as a child. I fear that woman is lost. It’s difficult to imagine having her back. So many years of ranting, raving, slurred words, hurtful remarks, lies, and terrible criticisms… I am not sure that woman even exists anymore.
I know I’m supposed to be hopeful. I know that I’m supposed to believe that she can change; that she can get out from under the crushing weight of this addiction. But there is barely a spark left of hope. My heart is broken at the loss of my mom. It’s like there’s this terrible stunt double as her replacement. A mean, angry, bitter version of her. It’s the plot of a bad science-fiction movie.
The part that is the most difficult is that there’s nothing I can do. It looks like there’s nothing anyone can do. We can’t save her. We can’t change her. We have to wait and pray that someday she’ll be ready for recovery. It has broken my heart to see what my dad has gone through. I know that he’s enabled her. He rescues her all the time. But what really gets to me is that he is just as consumed by her addiction as she is.
Alcoholism is eating my parents alive.
I always say that if I could banish the world of anything it would be mental illness. It is so crushing, so all-consuming, so powerful… and yet so often silent. Mental illness is enrobed in shame, guilt, and secrets. My mother suffered for years, struggling with depression, barely able to hold it together… until she couldn’t any longer. Her silence turned into hidden bottles, lies, and broken relationships.
I love my mom. I want her back. I want her to face her demons, fight for her life, and live to see her grandchildren grow. Time will tell.
It was time to tell this story. At least part of it. Time to stop running from the shame and guilt. Time to stop pretending that everything is okay. I suppose just sharing the story can fan the flame of hope. Hope for change. Hope for new life. This is the Easter season, after all. God has a plan and I pray that it includes a transformation for my mom… for our family.