Thank you, Katie, for sharing this intimate look into what it's like to have a mother who struggles with addiction.
|Photo by George Hodan|
Since then, her life (and our relationship) has deteriorated greatly. I was a teenager. I needed a mom to help me with boyfriend drama, to go prom dress shopping with, and to help me pick a college. Instead, she got worse and worse until I went weeks without seeing her. I tried to support her, love her, and provide for her. I remember a friend in college saying to me, “You have a choice now. You can either live your life, or her life.” At that moment, I knew that I was limited in what I could do for her. I love her, but I cannot support the decisions she continues to make.
I never know whether my mother is clean or not. When I was younger, I would defend her to the ends of the earth. My world would shatter when I found out that she had relapsed again. Sometimes it would be a month, maybe even half a year, but she would always go back to cocaine. Now, it doesn’t matter what she says, I will always be skeptical when she tells me that she is clean. It’s not that I don’t trust her… it’s that I can’t. She cannot help but lie about her addiction; it comes to her like breathing.
Recently, I made the decision to allow my mom to begin healing on her own. This was the hardest decision I have had to make so far, especially because I am pregnant with my first child. I asked her to please respect my wishes and not to contact me. My mom was angry. She accused me of being selfish, ungrateful, and spiteful. I expected this.
I didn’t expect how difficult it would be for me. I want my mom’s advice, her help, and her love for this child. I know she loves me and she loves her grandchild, but she is making decisions that put us in jeopardy. I cannot allow my child to be around her for fear she is high, carrying drugs, or around persons who would put us in jeopardy.
I pray for her daily and hope we can have a relationship in the future. But right now, I know that she needs to start healing on her own. Call it tough love, call it what you will, I just hope this works because nothing else has.
If you have an addiction story to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.