[read my prior post first on feelings…]
I’m in long term recovery for addiction.
As I’ve written here before, my addiction first manifested itself as I used sex to try to feel better about me, to hide from unresolved grief and loss, to numb the pain of broken relationships and divorce.
It progressed to included alcohol before exponentially changing for worse as I began to use illegal substances – progressing quickly from light use to regular use of heavy drugs.
All the same illness – substance use and abuse disorder. The substance just varied over time to include people and drugs.
So why then do I have such a hard time with alcoholics?
I can understand the hardest core Meth addict. While I never did heroin, I can empathize with a heroin addict.
But put me around a drunk and I find myself with a lot less sympathy. More often than not, I will over react and fly off the handle. My tone is condescending and paternalistic.
How dare they… Anger and rage erupt. I verbally rip people to shreds. I raise my voice – ok I yell.
How dare she…
How dare she ignore our pleas to get help.
How dare she stop seeing her GP when he told her if she kept up her drinking, it would kill her.
How dare she die before her 100 year old mother.
How dare she die of untreated alcoholism.
How dare they risk the same lonely death as my mom.
How dare they end up like a friend’s uncle just this week – found dead in his kitchen, just as mom was found dead in her den. The likely cause of his death could be what the doctor told us about mom’s untimely death on the floor of her family room.
Now I understand my intolerance, my rage.
It comes deeply from an unhealed wound.
Now the work begins. Or continues.
Grief is a process. And it has reared its head again, to let me know I’m still hurting. A little boy, crying along without his mama.
Only now can I heal further.
Only now can I stop hurting those around me who struggle with an addiction to alcohol.
Only now can I begin to show them the same compassion, tolerance, understanding, empathy and support I’ve been shown.
Only now can I stop confusing my anger at mom with someone in front of me.
Thank you, anger
Thank you, rage.
Your days are numbered now.
Mom died unexpectedly at home three years ago from untreated alcoholism. It was a shock to the entire family. But as I look back, we’ve grown closer as a family. I’ve also internalized the reality of addiction on a deeper level. I also treasure the presence and comfort of my dad at her funeral. Even though they had divorced some 20+ years prior, he came to support his three children as we buried our mom. He was a pall-bearer. I so appreciate him and our stronger, closer relationship.
This is an angel from from my mom’s garden. She sits up in the rafters of our porch, looking down on those who come and go from our house watching over us with peace, love and light.
I love you mom. I will also be your little boy.