Dear Mom

It’s taken me a long time to be able to admit that I’m an alcoholic. I’ve shied away from that label for more than 10 years because I didn’t want to believe I was “that person.”  After many failed attempts to stop drinking, I’ve had to admit that it’s not something I can fix alone.

I’ve been working with a therapist for the past several months to help me become more comfortable in my sober skin. It’s not easy to retrain my brain after nearly 20 years of using alcohol to avoid any unpleasant feelings.

I’ve also been going to AA meetings. While I’m not 100% sure yet if 12 step programs are for me, I’m open to anything that’s different than what I’ve tried in the past to get sober. I’ve had many ups and downs in trying to get sober and I have to admit that I’ll never be able to do it alone, in silence. Until a few months ago, that was the only way I thought I could do it, because I didn’t want to “bother” anyone with my problems.

I’m telling you this about myself, not to cause worry or pain, but to finally be open and honest about something that has contributed to making me a closed person. I hope that this makes you feel comfortable talking to me about things we don’t normally talk about.

I’ve been “hiding” my drinking for the past 5 years.  I had myself convinced I was hiding the drinking to protect them from me.

I spent today golfing with my Mom.  It was fabulous in every way: the weather was perfect, we both golfed well (which keeps frustration at bay) and it was an opportunity for us to talk about things we don’t normally do.  My family rarely talks about unpleasant personal things.  As a homework assignment from my therapist, I wrote the letter above.

I didn’t give my Mom the letter, but I shared the gist of it: I am an alcoholic and can’t stay sober without help.  I felt so relieved once I got the words out.  She reacted exactly as I thought she would: supportive and relieved that I was getting help.

The truth is that I kept her (and everyone else) in the dark because I knew that if I told my secret, it’d be harder to keep drinking.  I was protecting the addiction.  Letting my Mom in on the secret is just one more way that I’m making it harder for myself to relapse.  It’s one more tent pole!

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13 thoughts on “Dear Mom

  1. Beautiful note and reflections from a beautiful soul. I’m REALLY glad to hear that your mother was understanding and supportive. That makes all the difference! I love your blog and, as a reader, it’s been a pleasure to feel the weighted aches of your tougher days and to rejoice with you in your moments of victory. In fact, those tougher moments you’ve shared just make these victories all the better. Thanks for sharing your journey!

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  2. This post is so beautiful. Reminds me of letting those close to me in on my secrets. Felt good then and it still feels good when I do it. Wish I could admit I always do it, I do not. But I know I’m growing everyday and it looks like you are too. Wishing you a blessed day.

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      • Someone taught me too. And I’m still learning how to live. Thank you for being receptive to our friendship. I, too, love sober friends and support, as well as, love to support others. Having newly sober people is good for me because I see, OFTEN, that I forget how hard it was to get and stay sober. You give me a gift when you open up about these early days and struggles.

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  3. Big kudos to you for having that difficult conversation with your mom! I’m sure it felt good to get it off your chest, and to now know that you have another “tent pole,” as you put it (I like that, by the way!)

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  4. Glad to hear she is supportive too. I know just what you mean about not wanting to tell people because it’d be harder if you decide to go back to drinking – I’m sure that’s why I haven’t been more open with friends too. So good for you for taking that big, brave step.

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