I’m not generally afraid to speak my mind. I take my time when it comes to formulating an opinion on something because I don’t want it to come out sounding like a knee jerk reaction. I like to weigh the different sides of an argument before deciding where I stand on something. Obviously when it comes to the little things like cake vs pie or Coke vs Pepsi, it’s not really that life altering. That’s simple preference. When it comes to bigger, deeper issues it’s another story.
It’s also different when it comes to confronting something that means a lot to me. I can be an extremely passionate person if it’s the right subject. There are certain things that I am not going to budge on. I don’t care what studies you put in front of me or what argument you present. How I feel is how I feel and I’m not moving. So we can debate it, but don’t think I’m going to move around the spectrum. That said, addiction is something I have conflicting feelings about.
I see more than one side of it. I’ve watched enough Intervention on A&E to know that addiction is considered a medical condition, and I believe that it is. What I don’t really believe is that it’s not a choice. Four years ago I quit smoking cold turkey. I decided I was done and that was it. I smoked the last cigarette in my pack and that was it. Done deal. Is it that easy for others? No. My cousin’s wife has tried pretty much everything known to man to quit smoking and it just doesn’t work for her. He, on the other hand, and start and stop at will. I’m not going to pass judgement on people who do it different from me because whatever works for you is what works for you. But can we just agree that addiction is addiction, whether it’s cigarettes, shopping, heroin, food or even sex?
At some point, you do have a choice in the matter. No one just becomes a heroin addict. It’s not like you wake up one day and poof! you need to shoot up to get through the day. Whether you started off on some other drug and made your way over to heroin or you thought you could just do it once, you made a choice to give it a shot (no pun intended). Maybe the addict didn’t think they’d get hooked. Maybe they didn’t care because being high felt better than dealing with whatever drove them to use in the first place. Maybe they didn’t consider themselves and addict because a doctor prescribed those Oxycodone after a surgery.
I know in my family, no one thinks my mother’s problem is really “that bad” because she hasn’t lost her job, gotten a DUI, or dealt with any negative consequences aside from losing her relationship with my sister. Rather than everyone telling her maybe she should re-examine her choice to drink instead of have a relationship with her daughter, the majority of my family has decided that my sister is selfish and ungrateful for everything Mom has done for her. It’s a steaming pile of horeshit and I defend my sister every damn time someone tries to talk shit about her for making a decision about what was best for her own health.
And you don’t want to fight me when I get in that mode.
I say all this because as passionate as I can be and as quick as I am to stand up for the things I believe in, confrontation isn’t necessarily the easiest thing for me. Yet, I felt yesterday like things reached a crisis point. So I did what I needed to do and what I think my mom needed to hear. I told her I was extremely angry with her for the shitshow she was starring in the other night. I said a lot of things that I have been holding back for a long time. All those things I mentioned in my last post? I said them to her.
I was proud of myself for doing it. I don’t give my mom a hard time too often about how much she drinks but it’s getting really old. Not only is it beating me up, it’s taking a toll on her. She’s in her sixties now. Falling down drunk when you’re older and dealing with bone density issues is not a good idea. On top of all that, I really do want my mom to be happy. All the shit she’s been trying to bury isn’t going anywhere. Addiction never solves your problems; it just creates more of them.
She sat there stoically, rather stone faced, and agreed with me. I heard all the same things I’ve heard before about how tomorrow is a new day and she’s embarrassed about the way she behaved and she’s going to change. I told I don’t believe her. Of course I will do whatever I can to support her if she’s serious about wanting to kick her old habits and start newer, better ones, but I don’t have a whole lot of faith right now that she’s actually going to do it. Maybe it was a mistake to tell her that and I should have kept it to myself but this is definitely a situation where actions speak louder than words.
My sister doesn’t believe it either. She’s heard the same things I have. We’ve heard it several times in the past. Things might change for a day or two but ultimately, it’s right back to the way it is. It’s a lot of change and my mother hasn’t really tried to create a good support network. On the bright side, the enablers she used to spend a lot of time with have either moved away or died, so she doesn’t really have friends who can talk her down off the wagon. A friend of hers was visiting from Iowa for the last week and I was not at all sad to drop her off at the airport this morning.
Mom does not need to spend time with this broad. They are not good for each other when it comes to sobriety. They definitely feed off one another. It’s not something Mom needs in her life if she’s going to try to slow down her drinking.
So we’ll see what happens. I said what I needed to say and I hope that she meant what she said about getting better. I’ll believe it when she actually starts making appointments with a therapist or doing some research online about where she can get treatment. I don’t expect her to go to AA because I don’t think that’s really for her, but there are other options out there. Since she’s off work anyway because of her hand surgery, now seems like a great time to try to figure out a plan. She doesn’t have the work stress on her back, although she’s still slightly intoxicated tonight. So it’s not just about stress.
I know she’s not going to quit overnight. It’s a process. She didn’t get to where she is in a night. I just want to see improvements. Little by little, I want to see the drinking become less and I want to see her blossom into a person she hasn’t met yet.
A person I haven’t met yet.
So while I may not have faith, I do have hope. That’s the one thing I really can’t afford to lose.
Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!