This post has been sitting in my edits for nearly a week. Each time I'd try to work on it, my mind told me I wasn't ready. In the same way that it stops me from saying something (albeit only on very rare occasion) that might not be the most diplomatic thing to say.
Last Monday someone fairly close to me went into a rehabilitation center for substance abuse. Immediately the calls started coming in from eager, anticipatory family members. There was a pressing urgency for me to "get on board" with everyone else and their hysterical happiness. "Oh she went, that's good news, keep me posted", I said over and over again in a rote tone. Each time, hanging up the phone and feeling a burning anger, fueled by doubt and a selfishness necessary to survive a relationship with an addict. When she disappoints again, because she always does, let me know how all that happiness works out for ya, I thought as I stew in my own raging sea of painful memories and their corresponding emotions.
Today, I spoke with my mother for the first time in nearly 20 years. Of course I've spoken to her in between, but it wasn't her. You see it was...I don't know, pick a vice-[insert here]-speaking. We'd speak, she and I , a few times a month; verbal sparring, full of vitriol in a cycle of anger that's been part of our relationship for more years than not. Sometimes, I'd avoid it by not telling her who I was. "Hello may I speak with...", she couldn't recognize my voice. This became the system of bypassing her to check on my siblings without incident. But, today was different. I called, she answered and she knew my voice right away. She seemed almost happy to hear it; keeping in mind that recognizing the emotional state of a veritable stranger can be oft-times deceptive. It was odd, for so many years to change in so few days. It was a pleasant "visit", I guess.
It's going to be a long road ahead, for both of us. It's going to take equal parts strength, perseverance and patience to let go of her habits as it will mine, and I can't expect her to be anymore understanding of my defenses than I am of her dependencies. I didn't come to this hardened place easily and I don't believe the soul-kneading process of softening my heart to be a fundamental task. But, I'm here today admitting it, and as I've come to learn, "admitting is the first step". "Hi my name is Tameka and I'm the hurt, angry adult child of an addict. Deep breath.
Peace and Strength