April 16, 2007

The Hard Work

I spent Saturday with my mother.

We hadn't been together for 30 minutes before she again began trying to convince me how wonderful it is to be living with an addict.

Okay, to be fair, she didn't quite say it that way. But then, she still refuses to use that last word. I intended to behave myself, I really did. Unfortunately, Friday night was a series of nightmares that all featured Mother and Step-father in drug-related hell that kept trickling into my life. So, by Saturday morning, I was a bit fragile.

There's more to this story in the extended entry.

When she began singing his praises again, I had to put a stop to it. She says that everything is wonderful, just wonderful. They go to church together twice per week now. He's doing two bible studies! It is all so wonderful!!! (Insert gagging sounds here.)

I couldn't take it. I called crap on her Pollyanna Rainbows and Sunshine routine.

I pointed out to her that her church has a drug program and asked why, if they are there twice/week, he isn't enrolled in this program. It seems like a no-brainer to me. This was when she informed me that he does 2 bible studies.

"Sure, but what about the drug-treatment program?" I asked. "Has he completed this?"

"Well, he's gone to a couple of meetings..."

"Don't you think that it would be wiser for him to drop one or both of the bible studies and do this instead? Don't you think it more important for him to have the tools for recovery so that he can stay clean? I don't understand why you aren't making him go to these meetings.

"I'm becoming convinced that you are addicted to this situation. You are addicted to only hearing what you want to hear. You don't want to make him do the hard work of recovery because it rocks your little imaginary world view.

"I realize that this is my opinion, but from the outside-looking-in, this is royally screwed. A problem doesn't just go away because you wish it were so. If that were the case..."

She interrupts, "There would be far fewer drug addicts in the world?"


"I see your point," she said. "But when are you going to trust him again? When are we going to be able to have family gatherings again?"

"Mom, why should I trust him? I've seen him break promise after promise he made to you. I've seen him manipulate you. And, lest you conveniently forget, he brought drugs to my house. Why should I trust him? I have no inducement to trust him, nothing to point to to give him the benefit of the doubt. Instead of making him do the hard work and self-reflection required to stay clean, you make excuses and deny that there is even a problem. You point to one negative drug test as a victory - one test in 5 years - and think the war is over. This isn't in his best interests, nor is it in yours. However, I can't do anything to save you. I can, however, make sure that this circumstance which you have chosen does not impact my family's life."

"But when will the grand daughter be able to come and stay with me?"

"If he is going to be there, I'm not sure. I won't put her in harm's way. But, you can be sure it won't happen until you both face the truth and start doing the hard work. Until then, I'm going to have to be present."

"I see what you mean..."

Maybe I was too hard on her. I don't know. I feel like I'm constantly beating up on her these days. I love her, but she's being so incredibly stupid. I still don't think she really sees my point of view. She wants me to meet her this weekend for the step-sister's (age 11) horseshow, or some such thing.

What she doesn't say, of course, is that Step-father will be there too. Which, as you know, poses a certain dilemma.

I feel like the bad guy, again.

Posted by Phoenix at April 16, 2007 11:22 AM

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Hard Work:


oh, no, dear, not a bad guy! kudos to you for having the courage and strength to stand firm against the problem, to make your point logically and reasonably, to show your mother how serious this is. that must have been hard, but the fact that you were able to do it is a great accomplishment in and of itself. if some steps toward recovery were to be made because of this discussion, it's even more of an accomplishment, true, but the fact that you addressed the problem so well is not to be belittled.

*hug* well done, coz. i hope things get better.

Posted by: amelie at April 16, 2007 12:56 PM

Do not, under any circumstances, beat yourself up.

You have the God-given courage to face reality and do what you have to do to protect your child and try to help your mother see the light. What she does with that information is entirely up to her.


Got it?!

I love you!


Posted by: Chrissy at April 16, 2007 01:19 PM

I feel your pain. Addiction problems are so complicated. When it's someone you love, it's so easy to get into denial. It sucks.

I see this happening with my parents and my sister. My sister has some serious drug/alcohol addictions, yet all she has to do is apologize and laugh off her "hangover" and my parents think everything is Ok. I hate the way she takes advantage of them. They are in some serious denial.

Yet from the other side of the coin, I know how strong addiction can be. I've seen her go through rehab multiple times. She's tried extremely hard to beat it, but always falls back....even after being clean for years at a time. It's so frustrating. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers.

Hugs to you for being strong and letting your mother know exactly how you feel. Stay strong. I support you 100 percent!

Posted by: DogsDontPurr at April 16, 2007 01:55 PM


You did exactly right. EXACTLY. Keep it up.

Keep making it uncomfortable for her. If the baby is what makes her take the steps to get him clean and straighten herself out, so be it. It doesn't matter what gets the addict into treatment, it's the getting there and giving themselves a chance that is important.

And you told her in no uncertain terms that you don't trust him and you will not trust your child to their care. Now she knows.

Stick to your bottom line and keep making it THEIR problem, not yours.

Hugs to you, sweetie. I'm proud of you.

Posted by: caltechgirl at April 16, 2007 05:24 PM

Hang in there kiddo. Your mother does not need an enabler at this point in her life. As hard as it is and as hard as it's going to be, you've got to be the voice of reason and demand that your expectations be met to your satisfaction.

Posted by: Mike B at April 17, 2007 09:21 AM

Thank you all for your comments. You are all correct, of course. Just last night, as I was giving myself a pep talk, I asked myself if I would put up with a live-in druggie at my babysitter's house.

The answer is absolutely not. I, as a parent, get to define the safety measures I enact for my child. Not being around possible narcotics is now officially on this list.

My mother may try to make me feel guilty somehow by suggesting I am denying her time with her grandchild, but I'm not. She is free to come and visit anytime, so long as she leaves her albatross at home.

Yes. I give myself little pep talks when it comes to my mother's guilt trips.

Posted by: Phoenix at April 17, 2007 12:03 PM

Back to Main