Staying Out of the Results

Posted on June 2, 2009


I don’t feel like writing. I don’t feel like talking. I feel like all day, meeting after meeting (two today, one SAA, one AA and then the beginning of the big book with my sponsor), conversations with my mother, father, sister, Duncan, E-Deezy, every fucking body on this planet who gives a fuck, I feel like every ounce of meaning has been spent. Every drop of purposeful content has been drained from my brain, and now I’m left with the dribbling mass of matter, and its gray, and gooey. It was a hard day. Not because I wanted to drink. But because every day when facing reality is a hard day, and after a day like yesterday, I’m just fucking brain dead. 

I’d first like to clarify, because some of the comments seemed to reflect differently than I wrote, I did not actually say this to the man at Petco. So for those of you who thought I did, finish reading the post, and more will be revealed. For those of you who didn’t, thanks for finishing. And that pretty much sums up the bitchy little mood I seem to be in, and I apologize. SO. Moving on. 

On my way to the SAA meeting today I spoke on the phone with my mother. Now, today is supposed to be an off day, and I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I’m incredibly enmeshed with my mom, we speak every single day, sometimes twice a day, and part of recovery is detangling from this enmeshment thing I used to call love. We have no clear boundaries, and I have an incredibly hard time distinguishing where my needs and feelings begin and where hers end. In fact, it is so blurry, I’ve felt for a long time that these feelings are one in the same. Jilly Beans says this isn’t good. And we all know how I’m trying not to see things in terms of good and bad, but this my friends, is not good. And I know many people raise eyebrows to the idea of being “enmeshed” with your children, there are now two terrible ways to raise your kids, either you neglect them or you are too close to them, but I am living proof of how this theory comes into play in adulthood. 

I was speaking with my mother and she was asking me about Bleeze. I will repeat the conversation I had with her as precisely as possible. 

Mom: So are you really not going to be friends with Bleeze anymore?

Me: It’s not that I’m NOT going to be friends with him. It’s that I am making decisions for myself right now that will affect the rest of my life, just as he is making decisions that will affect the rest of his life. If our decisions lead us down different roads, then that is the way it is. That is the way life is. 

Mom: But that’s so sad.

Me: No, it isn’t sad. That is life. People make different decisions for themselves and it takes them in different directions. If he chooses to make decisions similar the ones I am making, then it’s possible we will still tread on the same path. But I have to stay out of his decisions, just as he stayed out of mine.

Mom: But you will break his heart! You’ve always been such a good big sister to him.

Me: I can’t really have you tell me shit like that because it doesn’t help me in making the decisions I’m making. And furthermore, I won’t be breaking his heart because I am not the one making decisions for him. I make my own choices, just as he makes his. 

Mom: But you tried so hard to help him. You’d always tell him he got too fucked up, and then leave. But you always came back because you love him.

Me: No, I always came back because at the end of the day, I had no right to tell him how to live. I had no right to tell him not to get fucked up. Especially because I was still getting fucked up. And now that I’m not, I STILL have no right to tell him ANYTHING. And I didn’t go back because I loved him, I went back because I’m a hypocrite. And because the only reason I said the things I’ve said to him is because I had hoped that if he were to change, it would mean I could too. But I can’t try to change anybody, and my choices are my own, and are made to benefit my life. 

Mom: That’s just sad. So you’re working through your traumatic experience? Did you figure out what it was yet?

Me: It’s not really the kind of thing you can pinpoint. And I’ve had a lot of traumatic experiences happen in my life. That’s why I’m doing EMDR, to work through my PTSD.

Mom: Talk to me about them.

Me: I can’t mom. PTSD means I can’t even talk to myself about them. It means I can’t face them. And it means that I can’t talk to you about them. And even if I knew every traumatic experience that happened to me I STILL don’t think I’d be comfortable talking to you about it in this stage of my recovery. 

Mom: But I’m your mom.

Me: I know. And that’s exactly why I can’t talk to you about it. 

Mom: I just want to know where I went wrong. I’m so sorry I fucked you up so bad. 

Me: See, Mom, here’s the thing. This is a traumatic experience I can talk to you about because it just happened. Every time you tell me that you just want to know where you went wrong, and you’re so sorry you fucked me up, it traumatizes me. It RE traumatizes me and makes me feel guilty. Because it makes me feel like you think I’m a total fuck up and there is something I could have done differently to make you not feel like a failure. And I find myself constantly making choices based upon whether or not they would hurt you, and I’m constantly trying to do things that WON’T make you feel like you’ve fucked me up because you haven’t. You did the best you could. And this doesn’t have anything to do with you. It has to do with me. So please quit trying to take the blame for the things that have gone wrong in my life because it is my life. I can’t keep worrying about making you feel like you’ve fucked up because there is nothing in the world that makes me want to drink more than making you feel like you’ve failed at being a mother. 

Mom: *sniffle*

Me: I love you mom. But if you want to help me please don’t ever say that to me again. It breaks my heart. So I love you. I’m walking into this meeting now. I’ll call you later. Mom?

Mom: *click*

Me: Mom? *Sigh*

This is the most concise and coherent presentation of my feelings I’ve ever delivered. The moment of clarity left me dumbfounded, and even though I felt amazing for telling her the truth, my truth, I’ve hurt inside all day because I know it wrecked her. And at no point in the conversation was I yelling, or cruel, I was intentionally delicate and soft with her, because with 8 days sober (and a dry drunk, not attending any sort of meetings or counseling to get help) I don’t want to send her off the deep end. Because her deep end is getting black out drunk, or committing suicide, both things she’s confessed she should do. There have been many times in my life where she’s said this “I’m sorry I fucked you up so bad” or “No, I should just kill myself, my kids hate me anyway. I have nothing to live for” and each time she’s said it I’ve taken it on as my own. I’ve made her feelings of self hatred and pity my own, and taken the blame for making her feel like that when all I’ve said is “Maybe you should get some help. Drinking from 4am-noon, then napping till 5 only to wake and drink till you pass out at 8 isn’t healthy.” I’ve only tried to help her, and all it’s done is make her feel like I hate her and she should kill herself. I’ve felt like if she were to kill herself, it would be my fault. 

And this kills me. Has for a long time. No matter how many different ways I’ve told her she didn’t fuck up, no matter how many times I’ve told her she is a good mom and my best friend, nothing can take away the fact that she thinks she did. And her thinking this makes me think I’ve fucked up as a daughter. As though I’ve failed her, and it’s my failure that causes her feelings of inadequacy. 

But I’m starting to understand (through intensive therapy, meetings and recovery) that it isn’t my fault. Just as my alcohol, drug and sex abuse isn’t her fault. While it was incredibly cathartic to tell her as I’ve just told you, it was heartbreaking. But in a different way. Because this time, I know I have to stay out of her results.