Dear Mom. I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You.
We were driving down a windy road on our way to visit my grandmother in the hospital. The smell of pizza waffled in the air and my stomach turned over. I fought the urge to vomit. My head was pounding, my nose dripped and my legs hurt. Withdrawal was setting in.
My Mom looked over at me and asked, “Are you okay?” I snapped back, “Of course I am!” My cutting tone was one she knew well. It screamed, don’t ask me any more questions!
Dear Mom. My addiction was never your fault.
Whenever I screwed up, it wasn’t my fault. If Mom would have been a better mother. If Mom would have loved me more. If, if, if. My poor Mom. Every single wrong thing I did was always her fault. At least that’s what I used to tell myself and her too.
My Mom took a lot of abuse from me. I was a difficult child. I was an angry and defiant teenager. I was an emotionally cold and distant daughter. I was not easy to love. But she loved me anyway.
Mom was always there for me in a quiet behind the scenes kind-of-way. She probably should have called CPS on me, but she never did. She spent a lot of time ‘visiting’ with my kids. Looking back I know her visits were really to protect us the best way she knew how. Mom showed her support through unconditional love.
Thinking about how deeply I hurt her makes my eyes water up. Today I love this woman like crazy. But when I was using, I was vicious. I was meaner to her than anyone else I knew. It seemed the kinder she was to me, the nastier I was in return. I took her love for granted. I was hurting on such a deep level there were no nice words or hugs, only vile spew.
Dear Mom. I don’t know why I was so awful and I’m sorry for it.
If I could go back I’d wrap my arms around her and beg for forgiveness. But life has a funny way of keeping score. Mothering my own children after I got clean and sober I experienced some of what Mom must have felt.
Mom never whined. She didn’t beg. She didn’t coddle me either. She stood her ground and let me figure it out. There were times I said I loved her (usually when I wanted something) but my love was sick. It consisted of past hurts and present pain, coiled tightly within a cauldron of despair, hopelessness, and shame. My attack on her was never personal. And as it turns out, it wasn’t even about her.
Dear Mom. You did not ruin my life. That was all on me.
In treatment, I learned to get honest and take responsibility for the choices I made. I also learned I wasn’t a victim, but I was behaving like one. It wasn’t all bad though. I found out I was intelligent, driven and capable. I was worthy of love and becoming well.
Strangely, the good stuff about me was harder to accept than the nasty bits.
The way I treated my Mom said nothing about her and everything about me.
Dear Mom. I didn’t mean to hurt you.
I couldn’t get comfortable in my skin and I took it out on you. My conscience was dirty. My soul cried every time I hurt you. I couldn’t tell you the truth, but I needed you to see it. I really couldn’t stop the downward spiral I was on. I wanted you to save me – but then screamed at you for trying.
Only you could never save me.
As long as I had you (or anyone else) to blame. I would never have to change. And honestly, I liked not changing. It gave me the freedom to use ALL DAY LONG.
But then one day you changed.
You said you would only talk to me if I was willing to help myself. You said I needed treatment and that you would support my recovery, but you wouldn’t put up with my abuse anymore. I didn’t believe you. You would never leave me. So I yelled at you and then you hung up on me.
That was the start of my end…
The end of my addiction, that is.
When I had no one else to blame for the mess I’d made of my life and there was no one left to pick up the pieces, I was forced to look in the mirror. My problems were never mine if I had you to look after them. But when you stopped, it was all on me. My eyes were finally open and it was scary!
Addiction took so much from us. It robbed my Mom of her daughter. It robbed my kids of their Mom. It robbed me of reasoning, self-respect, and morals and it traumatized the people who loved me.
Dear Mom. Thank you for being there.
You are and always have been my biggest fan. You loved me when I was unlovable. You did the hardest thing a Mom will ever do – you said no to my addiction – and yes to my life. Now that I’m no longer killing myself with alcohol and drugs, we’ve had time to work on our issues and heal our past.
Dear Mom… I love our life together today.
If you or someone you know needs support, please call this confidential support line for assistance 1-888-614-2379.