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Letter to mom...

Old 01-12-2007, 10:51 PM
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Letter to mom...

So I am leaving on Monday and haven't been able to talk to my mom about cutting off our relationship because...well, she's been drunk for every opportunity I have had. And we all know how ridiculous it can be to attempt to talk to an alcoholic when they are drinking. So I wrote her a letter tonight, and cried for most of it, but I do feel much better. Guess I will give it to her when I leave, and at least I will feel like *I* talked to her about it, even if it was a one-way conversation. But hey, it's a conversation at least.


Dear Mom,

I am writing you this letter, as I have written so many before, because I feel like I can’t talk to you. I have tried many times, and it just doesn’t work. Nothing gets through to you. I don’t know if a letter will be any different, but at least I feel like I got to share my piece.

I am having such a hard time writing this letter, because I keep seeing it as the final straw, as my final goodbye. I know that decisions are rarely final, and life is dynamic and ever-changing, but I am afraid that unless *you* change, this will be final. I am leaving on Monday, and in my heart, I need to come to peace with our relationship. I know that won’t happen before I go, but I think my first step is going to be letting go of you. Not letting go of the woman who raised me, but the shell of the person that you have become in the past 10 years. The woman who I am embarrassed to be around, and have such hate, but at the same time, so much love for.

It’s such a struggle for me to hate you one day, and be best friends the next. I appreciate every moment of our good days, but when the bad days come, it makes those good days so “fake” and insincere. I am on an emotional rollercoaster, and not until recently did I discover that I am in charge of where I am on that ride. And I choose to get off. I have stood beside you and offered support in your recovery, and I need to accept that you don’t want to recover. You aren’t ready to recover. I don’t know if you ever will be, but for my own peace and sanity, I am not going to sit around and wait anymore.

I would love someday for you to be part of my life, but not now. I am not going to allow the lying and drinking to continue as a consistency in my life, nor let myself fall prey to your manipulating behavior. Even though you aren’t ready to recover and reclaim what’s left of your life, I AM. I am ready to start my own recovery and find peace within myself.

I can recall sitting on the kitchen counter in our old house, asking you to promise me that you would stop drinking. And you did. I remember when you asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I said for you and Dad to stop drinking and smoking. And you told me you would work on it. I gave you a book last Mothers’ Day called “Why A Daughter Needs A Mom.” When I had you arrested and Lonny took you to the police car in handcuffs, and I had to take off your jewelry before they took you out the door so it wouldn’t get lost at the jail, I took our your earrings with my hands shaking and your eyes pleading to not let them take you. That was one of the strongest things I have ever done, and all I got was criticism. I have left notes, letters, quotes, poems, etc out for you to read, all in hopes that something would strike a nerve in you, that it would trigger a “mothering” instinct to stop drinking and care for your only child. To be the adult, so I wouldn’t have to be. Dad picked you up from jail and you came home to sit on the couch with me and apologize and tell me that you changed as a person while you were sitting in that cell. That sleeping on the floor made you realize that you need to change. And I believed you, with all my heart and soul.

So many times you have passed out, and I’ve gone around and locked doors, turned off lights, blew out candles, and covered you with a blanket before going to bed. I’ve read books and articles and literature galore about how to help an addicted parent, and I’ve listed to Chaplain Al talk about boundaries, and understood that you just need support….and I have only been manipulated and taken advantage of.

You were drunk for about 75% of the time Brian was here this Christmas. He is one of the most important people in my life, and you know that. And you showed no respect for the fact that he was stuck in a house for 2 weeks with an incredibly dysfunctional family, and you continued to stammer and stumble, and sneak around behind everyone’s backs and drink…or take pills, or whatever it is that you do. You ask for respect, and support, and love…..but why? He and I came home from Salt Lake and you were slumped over, passed out on the couch at 8 pm with your pants unbuttoned and your tank top half off, and I had to tell Brian to wait in the kitchen while I covered you up so we could walk downstairs. I am so tired of being embarrassed and ashamed of you, and trying to salvage a relationship that you let go so long ago. I no longer feel guilty for what has happened to us, I know it’s not my fault. But it is my fault that I have failed to set my boundaries and protect myself from the pain that you have caused me in the past, from 10 years ago until now.

So here they are…

I am going to start attending Al-Anon meetings when I get to Portland. I have a few picked out and am going to go a few times a week. I am going to walk with my head up, and go on with my day, and I am asking that you not be a part of that. I need to find my own peace and start my own recovery, and the only way I can successfully do that is with loving, supportive people in my life. I found a poem in one of my “adult daughters of alcoholics” books that really touched my heart and made me realize what I need to do…for me.

After a while you learn
that subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
wiht your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every good-bye, you learn...

I put certain parts in bold because they are the verses I identify with the most. The ones that keep me strong, and remind me that I don’t have to be a part of you anymore. I can make the decision to say goodbye, and be okay with that decision, and realize that I am cutting out my most toxic relationship, and that’s something that I need to do for me.

Deep down inside, I do love you. Not that you that you are now, but the woman down inside of you that I know you can be. Not the abusive, manipulative person you have become. I still hold out faith in my heart that someday you can change, if you put all of your soul into it. But I am not going to rely on the idea that it WILL happen if I just wait…because it is a very very real possibility that it won’t. People die from alcoholism DAILY.
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Old 01-13-2007, 08:07 AM
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Wow ahimsa, that is an incredibly powerful letter. It is filled with honesty and compassion. The depth of your love for your Mom is awesome. I am deeply moved by that as I never experienced that depth in my family. I'll be praying for you Mom, and that you continue to heal from the pain of having to let her go.

Mike
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Old 01-13-2007, 10:10 AM
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What an in depth letter, I hope that after you wrote that you felt some piece. Recovery is a life long process, and it is time for you to get on with your life. I am the daughter of an alcoholic mother, she has been sober 6 years. Unfortunately she has liver cirrosis and Ive just had to put her in a long term care facility. All the things you speak of I went through with my mother, she was even drunk at my baby shower. Horribly embarrassing moments and sadness with her. It sounds like you have educated yourself greatly on addiction, wich is a step to recovery. I detached from my mother and it was the hardest thing I ever did. Writing is a wonderful way to express your feelings and a healer. I now have a son who is addicted son whom I am having great difficulty detaching from. Your mother is ill, and hopefully one day she will get it and truly be ready for recovery. My heart goes out too you, but it sounds like your on the right path.Bless you
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