Thursday, December 11, 2014

No Going Back

I want to make it all go away.  I want to wrap my arms around the woman my mother was 30 years ago and tell her not to take the pills, not to drink.  I want to tell her that she's going to be okay.  I want to tell her that I want her to stay, that I love her and need her and will always love her and need her. 

But I can't.  There's no going back.

My mother is an addict.  She is mentally ill.   It's hard to say which came first or if it even matters anymore.   It's all been going on for so damn long, but it never stops being sad.  

This past weekend we discovered my mother is drinking, again.  She used to be a pro at mixing alcohol with all her pills.  I remember the first time I figured out what was going on.  I was 15 and I woke up because my sister who was home visiting from college was trying to calm my mother down. "Mom, you have been drinking while you're taking these pills, you cannot do that," my sister said sternly. My mother was hysterical and out of control.  The next day she seemed fine, so we just sighed with relief and went on with our teenage lives.  

The addictions grew, the drinking got worse.  She ended up in rehab when I was 21.  My mother quit drinking but her dependence on prescription drugs only grew more intense.  She doctor shopped for years and spent most of her time doped up on anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety meds, pain pills, pain patches and an occasional trip to the ER every now and then for a good old morphine drip.  

"I'm not addicted, these are prescribed for me," she would tell us when we tried to get her to stop taking so many pills.  "My problem is drinking and I quit that."  

Over the years, my mother has over dosed several times, passed out on a park bench in front of me and my kids (and several other moms and kids at the playground), gotten in car accidents, fallen down the stairs, set her house on fire, and god knows what else that we don't know about.  My sister and I  have tried over and over and over to get her help.  We have called social services.  We have emailed Dr. Phil. We have prayed.  We have hired people to help her.  We have begged and pleaded doctors to help us help her.  

Nothing works.  My mother is an addict.  She is mentally ill.    And now she's drinking again.

When the woman that works in the condo/apartment office where my mother lives now called my sister to share some concerns she had about my mother, my sister and I boldly stated "nothing will surprise us."  But the drinking again did.  

In all truth, a lot surprises me.  I am surprised how sad it all makes me still.  We have been through so many years of watching her choose pills over us, it shouldn't phase me.  Maybe it's because it's Christmas, but looking around at all the joy she could be a part of, all the love she could receive, all the wonder she could marvel at, the music she could dance to, the family she could be a part literally breaks my heart.  It surprises me that I still wish I had a mother I could call and ask if I'm doing this whole parenting thing right or a mother that would love me no matter what.  

But there's no going back.  My mother is an addict.  She is mentally ill.  And there is not much I can do about it.  


  1. Love you. I know there's not much to say, but you are surrounded with love.

  2. All I have to say is that you are doing the parenting thing right, and I would be proud to have you as my Mother. Your kids are very lucky.

  3. Love and Hugs, A. This must be so, so hard. Even though you can't do much about it, it's so obvious that you care. xoxo

  4. I'm so sorry for all of this. I can't even imagine the hard. Love you.

  5. You can do so much! You are doing so much with your own gorgeous kiddos. Keep doing everything to be a great mom to them and you will break the cycle. Your kids are incredibly lucky to have a mom that loves them, supports them and cheers them on! -- A fan in Canada

  6. I don't have the words to make it all better, but I sure with you did. You are a wonderful woman who deserves love, and your mother was never able to give it to you in a way you deserved. I am sending all of the love I can, and you are a FANTASTIC mother.

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  8. A friend sent me to your blog as I was hit with another wave of sorrow that my mother is alive, but not capable of mothering and definitely not someone I would EVER be able to call for mothering advice. I have set the boundaries and we rarely see one another, but dude, the guilt over doing that eats me alive. And I am so tired of feeling guilty for just protecting my mental health and letting my kids have mostly good memories of grandma. I am so, so, so tired of the guilt.