Ahhh. Every time I make space for myself to write it feels like such an indulgence. And then I wonder, why don’t I do this more?
I’m in a funky place, wherein I think I might be either hiding something or hiding from something. Or both.
My mother has come up a lot lately. A post-Christmas picture of her with my nieces caught me by surprise one day, and now she’s on my mind again. I don’t like talking about her, and I just had a long conversation at lunch about her…and about me…and the 4 years I spent living with her in my mid-30s.
My (very good) friend was asking me some questions about that time period that required some personal accountability…like:
- What was going on in my life when I moved in with her? (Big breakup with my boyfriend of 5 years, got fired from a job for doing something REALLY stupid, decided to leave LA…)
- Did I have any reasons for wanting to be there, outside of wanting to take care of her? (I was depressed, didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life after LA, needed therapy big-time.)
- [Lots of questions about how I met my husband while I was living there, how that all happened, when and how I decided to move to Austin…]
I left that conversation feeling…very awkward. Uncomfortable. It’s a trust issue, even with someone I believe I can really trust. Talking about all of that from a sober perspective left me feeling exposed. I realized that in the years since everything went WAY south with my mother and me, I’ve been telling the story (even to myself) from… a biased perspective.
It’s true that she caused irreparable damage through some ill-timed actions. It’s true that I did everything I could to talk about it more with her, to reason with her, to ask her to admit that she might be wrong about what she was asserting at the time. She could not, which still means to me that she had an agenda. I tried very hard at the time to communicate, to beg even, because I could see the future from that vantage point, and I didn’t want to lose my relationship with her. It’s also true that she’s never done anything at all to repair the damage done. We’ve been friends on Facebook for the last 5 years, and she’s never wished me a happy birthday, for instance. The one time she called me during that time, she was asking me to do her a favor. (I said of course I would.)
The thing is, she’s 83. I haven’t talked to her at all in about a year and a half, maybe 2 years. As usual, we had a parlor-type chat that was all surface and no meaning.
We I have so many unresolved issues about our relationship that chit-chatting as though nothing has ever happened is worse for me than not talking at all.
So what’s coming up now?
Since I got sober I’ve asked myself the question: When she dies, will I go to her funeral?
And the answer is, well, no.
I just think it would be hyper-hypocritical to fly across the ocean to see her after she is gone. If I were going to go see her, it should be now, while we can still talk.
So one of the things my friend suggested is that I do go now, while I can still do it on my terms. Because, as he so rightly said, one of these days I’ll just get a phone call. And it will either be the “she’s dying” call or the “she’s gone” call. And then my opportunity for going on my own terms will no longer be on the table.
And this idea, to be honest, if I seriously consider it, makes me freeze.
Back when I chose my WOTY to be Trust, I realized that this whole debacle with my mother is at the heart of me changing so much, trusting less and turning inward. (Moving to a French-speaking country without knowing more than bonjour and merci didn’t help either, but that’s another matter.) I had also been grappling with…well, I was finally able to forgive her, sincerely, to have compassion for her and love her and know that she did her best…but well, what now? I mean, do I forgive her and still stay far, far away? Or am I capable of the complete and full kind of forgiveness that means I allow her back into my life? (Not that she’s been banging down the door to get back in or anything…)
For now I’m just breathing with this, letting it all settle.
Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve been having drinking thoughts and ideas more frequently. Lately at lunch the cold beer seems to look more and more enticing. My husband and I have actually, finally, for the first time in 2 1/2 years, planned a long weekend alone together in Provence. And I found myself thinking, Oh, wouldn’t it be so nice and lovely to just take a little sobriety break and drink champagne and get high all weekend?
Fortunately my answer to those insane moments of darkness is…But look at how hard it was to get sober again this time. Look at what it cost. My marriage is on the precipice of making baby steps into recovery…I’m feeling stronger and more centered about everything…what would happen to all of that if I drank again?
Of course I know already the answer to that last question. Everything, but especially me, would fall apart all over again. I’ve been there, done that over and over again throughout the past year or so. I think I have enough evidence to be able to see…and that is, I have enough evidence to see how things have gone so far. Maybe if I spent a couple of days drinking I wouldn’t find the inspiration to stop again. At all. Ever. And I have a very good idea of what would happen to my self-worth, my balance, my relationships with everyone around me.
So yeah, I think I’ll go ahead and do it all sober.