An Open Letter to Mothers of Alcoholics & Addicts
When you feel like giving up, read this
Dear Fierce, Loving, Exhausted Warrior Mom:
I hear you. I hear you pleading for your child’s life. I hear you pray for her safety — that she’ll live through another night.
I hear you begging for the miracle that he’ll get sober, and stay sober this time.
And sometimes you pray that she’ll end up in jail, instead of dead.
I know the guilt you feel for praying for an arrest, too. You wonder what kind of person you’ve become. I hear you.
I see you going to visit your child in jails and rehabs and prisons. You desperately hope that something is different this time.
I know the resistance to hope, too. You’ve been burned too many times before, and you’re reluctant to set yourself up for disappointment — yet again.
I see you.
I notice how you avoid conversations with the moms who seem to have it all together. You know the ones who have “normal” kids? You’d rather hide under a rock than hear about it.
I’ve been there, too.
I know shock you feel when something happens that you hadn’t yet imagined — that one thing that you didn’t think of, but you think you should have seen coming.
I’ve argued with the inner critic. The one that shows up just on time to say, “There’s no room for error. You should’ve known this would happen. This is all your fault!”
Oh, how you wish the critic would stop with all the “What Ifs” that consume your mind, zap your energy and take you down to your knees with fear.
And Lord help you if it’s been days or weeks without word. A knock at the door or the phone ringer sends you into a panic.
You pray it’s not “the call” or “the knock” you feel doomed to answer some day.
I hear you question your sanity, your fate, and your future. And whether or not you will ever get a good night’s sleep again in your life.
You wonder if this is it, and if so, why you? Why your child?
I know that sense of defeat when you cannot take one more bit of bad news, one more day of the chaos, or one more minute of not knowing what will happen next.
You’re tired, Mom. You’re so damned tired. You’ve had enough.
I even heard you say you hate your life. I get it. I’ve said it, too.
I’ve been where you are now. And there’s something I want to tell you.
There’s something you need really to know, so listen up…
It’s time for you to reclaim your life and take care of — you.
No, I’m not going to tell you to “let them go” or turn your back on them. That goes against every fiber of your being.
- You can’t make them call you — or stop lying, or cheating, or stealing, or using.
- You can’t make them understand how much they are loved — how much you miss them.
- You can’t take away the pain, fear, anger and sadness that drives an addict to drink or use.
- There are no Jedi Mom Tricks you can use to convince an alcoholic or addict to get excited about rehab, either.
But there are some things you can do.
First, you have be smarter than addiction, because as long as you’re ensnared in addiction’s trap, you are powerless. And if you’re experiencing anything like what I described above — then you’re in the trap.
Oh, yes, addiction is intelligent.
- It knows how to make you feel your worst, so you give into the insanity that drives you to do things you never thought you’d do.
- You will question your beliefs, your worth and your intuition because it knows your weaknesses — all of them — and it will use each and every one to break you down. It knows exactly what to say and do to drop you to your knees and beg for mercy.
- It will suck your energy, time, faith, self esteem, and your bank account dry. Then it stokes the fires of anger, fear, sadness and guilt until you can’t remember what it feels like to love or be loved.
- It will drive away everyone you love, because they’re dangerous to the cause. Make no mistake. This is a battle between Love and evil.
- Finally, you’ll believe the lie that being the mother of an alcoholic/addict is a curse. That you’re doomed to live in agony, complete with daily doses of almost unbearable pain.
Until you give in, give up and give out.
Addiction will take everything from everyone in its path — especially you, Mom.
Because yours is the strongest, most healing, and therefore most dangerous kind of LOVE.
And evil hates that more than anything.
So if you want to do what’s best for everyone, and I know you do, then you have to stop playing the addiction game.
You have to stop believing the lies of addiction, stop living in fear. It’s the only way to reclaim your power as a mother.
I know you didn’t ask for the challenge. Yet here you are. You want to know why. You want to know what you did to deserve such a challenge.
I’ll tell you why. Because you can do it. You have what it takes to get to the other side.
The trail you’re blazing through the thickness of adversity, struggle and resistance? A testament of your fortitude.
You have the strength you need.
Your love, capacity for forgiveness, and compassion? You have learned how to shine light in the depths of the darkness of addiction.
There is a fire that burns within you.
That time you listened to your intuition made that call despite your fears? You did the right thing.
You have the courage you need.
When you kept asking questions until you got to the truth, the solution, and the answers you needed? Your efforts weren’t wasted. Your advocacy matters.
You have the stamina you need.
It’s time for you to recover from the insanity of your child’s addiction, restore balance in your life, and get grounded into the inner peace that prevails despite chaos.
Besides that it’s probably long overdue, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself, and those you love — especially the alcoholic/addict in your life.
Reclaiming your life does not mean you’re selfish.
It doesn’t mean you don’t love your child. It doesn’t make you a bad mother, or a bad person.
It doesn’t make you arrogant, cold or harsh.
But it will make you stronger.
- You’ll be more confident, centered, grounded, and balanced.
- You’ll intuitively know how to respond in even the craziest of situations.
- You’ll model integrity, honesty and empowerment.
- You’ll feel intimately connected to something bigger than all of us — you’ll know peace.
Imagine for a moment…
Just imagine for a moment what it would be like to wake up in the morning without a knot in your stomach.
What if you could go to sleep at night and, I don’t know — actually sleep ?
How much more energy would you have if you didn’t feel drained after every conversation you have with the alcoholic/addict in your life?
It’s possible, and you know what else? It’s imperative.
Does that mean you’ll never feel afraid, sad, or angry?
No. But those emotions won’t drive you. They won’t consume your life. They’ll no longer cripple you.
Does that mean you’ll walk around with your head in the clouds as if nothing is wrong?
Ummm, no. We mothers of alcoholics and addicts live in the real world, and we have real problems. But those problems don’t have to be the focus of all of your energy.
The truth is that your recovery from this insanity increases the odds that your child will recover.
When you know how to respond in just the right way, at the right time — you’ll be amazed at the miracles that occur.
When you feel good about your decisions — when you’re crystal clear about why you make those decisions — you’re showing an addict what it takes to make it. Your new clarity and confidence is an invitation for them to do the same.
The boundaries you set? You’ll keep them, without guilt. And you’ll show your child that it’s okay for them to set and keep boundaries, too. They need to know that. Give them permission.
When you live in harmony with your soul, trust the Divine guidance of your intuition, and act on that guidance? You’ll show your child what empowerment really looks like. Empowerment is gained through conscious, consistent action. Long term sobriety isn’t possible without it.
When you’ve dealt with your own demons — the fears, resentments, pain, doubt, and any other aspect of yourself that addiction has used against you? You’re showing your child how to turn their own weaknesses into strengths.
You’ll radiate the kind of love, grace and healing energy that breaks through the barriers of addiction, if only for a moment. It just might be the moment that breaks the cycle.
You are not alone. I see you. I hear you. I know you.
Your love is powerful enough to move mountains.
Claim it, and then get down to the business of healing you.
Love, Lisa Anjanette
Originally published at shekali.com.