One of the most challenging relationships in my life is my relationship with my mother. I don’t feel alone in this; I know many women, young and old, who are in the same boat as me.
I have been angry with my mother for many years now. When I was fourteen years old she left with my stepdad and moved to Colorado. I stayed in Florida with my father. This was the beginning of the arguments, the blaming, the screaming fights asking the same questions: “WHY WON’T YOU MOVE TO COLORADO!?” or “HOW COULD YOU EVER LEAVE!?”
At first I didn’t feel much about my mom leaving. I was more relieved than anything actually because it meant one less parent on my back asking me where I was going, what I was doing and with whom. Her absence made it easier to drink and do drugs.
But what I didn’t realize until I got sober and started working the 12 Steps was how angry I was at my mom. I thought I was over it; I thought I had moved past it. But there was still a part of me that hated her for abandoning me and hated myself for somehow being the cause of it.
That’s the thing about this program and the Steps that I love and sometimes don’t like – anything that is underneath the surface, any festering emotions or resentments are inevitably going to come into the light. And so they have with my mother.
I am twenty-one now, and my mom is in her mid-fifties. It has taken a while for me to let go of the unrealistic fantasies about our relationship that I’ve held on to for so long. And now that I’ve truly begun to let go of how I think our relationship should be, and instead focus on all the things I like about her and our time together, the more I enjoy myself when we?re around each other.
What I’ve begun to realize is that my mom and I don’t get along when I am disappointed because she isn’t living up to my expectations. But like my Sponsor reminds me nearly every time we talk, it isn’t other peoples’ job to make me happy and do what I want. It’s their job to be themselves and follow their heart.
And if it makes my mom happy to move around all the time and have different boyfriends then who am I to say anything about it? Her actions are not a reflection of my worth.
Now I know this is easier to say than believe. I thought she was going to come and visit me this May, but today she told me that going to visit other family in Seattle and go shopping for a week was more important. Initially I felt an emotional sting, but I took a deep breath and stayed polite with her on the phone. I was quite proud of myself that I didn’t freak out and act like a jerk to her.
My life is separate from my mother’s, and if I spend all of my time feeling bad that I don?t have the fairytale relationship with her, then I’m going to miss out on all the opportunities I could have with other women who could be like a mom to me. I have met so many great women through the program who have become like moms and sisters to me. They watch out for me, give me guidance when I ask, and are always there with hugs and comforting words when I need it.
So if you’re having trouble with your mom, don’t forget that sometimes the Universe will bring us family that we are not blood-related to. These people are not to be scoffed at just because they’re not genetically similar to us. Wherever there is something missing in our lives, I’ve found that God will surely fill it. My biological mom may not be there for me much, but there are now thousands, maybe even millions of women all around the world in 12 Step recovery who I can call for support and guidance!
Help is always there for us if we will only reach out and accept it.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.