I remember when I first realized that my mom was an alcoholic.
I was fourteen and had recently moved in with her. I had noticed her drinking beer here and there, but didn’t think much of it. My mom was the fun mom. Until she wasn’t anymore. Until she was drunk and mean and verbally abusive.
I confronted her on her drinking, naively thinking she wasn’t aware of her alcoholism and just needed an intervention.
“Mom, I think you’re an alcoholic.”
“So what.” She replied. And then she laughed.
There it was, and that was our life. So what. This was the way it was, get used to it.
I begged her to stop drinking, and I remembering saying to her several times, “If you loved us you would stop.”
I finally moved out of her house when I was seventeen. I couldn’t take being there anymore.
I judged my mom for many years, considering myself better than her. I remember making a vow that I would never be like her; I would never become an alcoholic, and I would never do anything to hurt my children the way she had hurt me.
“For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2
But you know it’s interesting these vows we make, and these judgements we carry. And now that I’m a mother I can see my mom in a different light; I can see her wounds and her loneliness and not so much her cruelty.
Here is an excerpt from a post I wrote a few years ago:
I completely understand how one becomes addicted to a substance.
For me, if I were to indulge myself, that would probably be alcohol. I assume this because my mother is an alcoholic. I vowed never to be like her.
But I am.
I am like her. I’m like the her before she took the drink. I’m tired. I don’t know how to live my life. I’m overwhelmed. I love my children intensely. I have no idea, some days, how on earth I am going to parent them.
It would be easy to start with a glass of wine. A little something to numb the mundane of life.
Because I’m just so tired.
My spirit is that of a ragamuffin. I will never have it “together”…and I’ll never pretend to. In the words of Moses, I’m not eloquent of speech. I wonder why God is using me for His glory when there are so many better than I to use. But that is not really here nor there. The point is,
I’m not going to drink.
Or numb out with whatever.
I’m just going to be tired. I’m going to just walk, slowly, one day at a time as the Spirit makes me holy.
My hands are up.
All is grace.
I may not have turned to alcohol, but I did turn to another drug: the Internet.
The Internet was my escape from reality. When I was too tired, or the constant conflict between little ones got to be too much, I got online. I tuned the world around me out. So really, I’m not that much different from my mom.
I’m choosing to not stay drugged. I will not let anything master me. I am free.