I had lunch with my new friend Toni, yesterday. Check out her blog Let’s be unusually happy.
Although I only met her three short months ago, she feels more like an old friend. She knows my story all too well. Only her story is a little different…but it’s the same kind of different. The same heartache, disappointment, guilt, tears, anger, and all that junk. We both lost our mother’s to their addiction. They died within three months of each other. We live only a few miles apart but only met after our mother’s died. That’s strange to me. I wonder what it would have been like if we had connected a year before our mother’s died? Would we have just swapped crazy stories and frustration or would we have been pulled together, supporting each other and growing into something more?
We shared our hearts and a few tears…”Where are you? How are you feeling? What are you thinking?” It’s hard. But, it’s good too. There is so much guilt. But we can breathe. We discussed our God winks and what a blessing they are…her with the white feathers (amazing) and me with my owls (I’ll share soon). As I shared my owl stories, I saw her eyes widen and light up. She had an owl experience too. I see cardinals all the time. I forgot to tell her that. Addiction and the loss of our moms brought us together. Thank you God for giving me her. Someone to walk with who truly gets my feelings, my questions, my guilt and all the craziness that goes along with it.
I think a lot about things…what I could or should have done differently to help mother. Was there anything? What was it? Would the outcome have been different? Would she have felt more loved? Would I have been bitter? If I would have submerged myself into her life more, would I have followed in her footsteps…leaving my boys without their mom? The questions are endless. I’m working through the hard stuff. I read lots of stuff shared by people in recovery. It’s helpful for me. But I also read hate filled comments about addicts and alcoholics. My heart aches every time I read those hate filled comments or hear ugly words come out of someone’s mouth. Sometimes, my own thoughts/words come back to haunt me. I also read the advice given to people who ask for wisdom when dealing with someone who is active in their addiction. I read over and over…”let them go. Cut them off. Quit enabling.” I did. I quit. I gave up. But it haunts me now. The questions keep coming. What should I have done differently?
Are they right? Did I do the right thing? Do they get it more than me? Do they understand the grips of the disease? I thought I did. I thought/said some of their very comments. But… I’m seeing differently now…nine months after mother’s death. I’ve learned, researched more in nine months than I did in 44 years. I quit. I gave up. I showed up occasionally out of guilt or concern because she had alienated herself. But now instead of thinking…she alienated herself which made her totally accountable, I think things like….after over forty years of living in addiction (with only short periods of recovery) the disease alienated her. I know she was accountable for her choices. I know it. Really I do. But there’s this little voice and tug at my heart that says….at some point she was too far gone – she lost the choice and I should have done more. Maybe it’s Satan creating more heartache and enjoying the stirring of guilt and regret he’s creating in my heart and mind. Or maybe it’s God showing me I was wrong. Showing me different. Showing me better.
I’m in the Potter’s hands being molded and shaped for a specific purpose. You see, this isn’t about mother and what she did or didn’t do. It’s about me. I’m taking responsibility for my own actions and not making excuses based on hers. We answer for ourselves not others.
Finding the sweet side of crazy.
I lost my best friend from prescription drug abuse. After twenty plus years I couldn’t take another second of it. I stopped answering her calls and after a month the calls stopped. A year later she went to bed and never woke up after taking yet a another handful of pills. A nightly ritual “because it’s the ONLY way” she could sleep. I try to not think it’s my fault because I didn’t do this or that for another year. It haunts me still. In the end I have to realize that these people make their own decisions and all we can do is pray for them if after years nothing is changing and they won’t even admit they have a life threatening problem.
I’m so sorry about your best friend. It’s so hard. It’s not your fault. I’m sure you did everything you could think of and she knows it. It’s frustrating and painful. I get frustrated with the whole system of how we treat addicts. Not just us who love them but others, doctors, the system, treatment, etc. Treatment facilities are not all created equal and when they’ve been to some not so good ones or been treated by some not so good doctors , when they’ve lost all hope or their root cause isn’t treated… They don’t get better. We give pills. Lots of them. They choose to use and continue but at some point they lose their choice and they may have to be forced. But that’s not an option. I always felt that if I could lock mother up under lock and key, providing food, water, shelter, safety for several months to protect her from herself and others, Give her a great doctor and a great therapist with intense treatment along with a little hope…she might have been successful. But I think she lost all hope. Or maybe she didn’t. Maybe that’s me just projecting my own feelings on her. But they stress us out. Cause so much devastation. We get worn down and we can become broken too. I don’t know. It just seems like we’ve (all of us) got it all wrong.