Holy smoke! If you love a person who suffers from addiction you are familiar with what I am going to talk about today. If you don’t I’m here to tell you you have no clue. To call it a nightmare is to put it mildly.
At one stage in my daughter’s addictive path I spent a few weeks with her. You know, I went to go “fix” everything. To “fix” her. That is a farce. I knew when I went it was not possible. She is an adult and even though I am still her mother I truly have no control. Especially when she is in a drunken state.
I told her not to pick me up from the airport as I’d already experienced her showing up to fetch me once before – drunk! Way too scary for me. Speeding down the interstate, swerving a bit, and talking like a mad woman – nope I wasn’t up for that again.
I caught an Uber to her house and arrived long after dark. She clearly had been drinking during the day but had apparently backed off a bit before I got there as she could carry on a conversation. When I arrived her house was clean, she had prepared a few of my favorite snacks and had music playing. She knows I like all of that. What she didn’t seem to be aware of is the fact that I don’t like spending time with someone who is drunk. So, yes she was semi-sober but not sober enough. I had a couple bites of the food and then begged off on any sitting around chatting by claiming exhaustion from the lengthy flight. She consented to washing our faces and getting in bed.
Ahhhhhh…I was tired and more stressed out than one can imagine. I’d read a book about setting boundaries for addicts on my cross country flight and had written a bunch of notes and ideas down about what I needed to say the next morning. I thought after we woke up and had a couple cups of coffee, while she was clear headed, would be the only time to have a conversation. I think I took something to help me rest – to be prepared for the next day.
The next morning came as I expected. We did sit and have a long talk about what is happening in her life and what to do about it. I should have known better but she promised me she’d wean herself off of the alcohol in the next few days. I questioned the validity of this concept but she swore she’d done it before – honestly I didn’t have a better answer. I simply said, “ok but if it doesn’t work let’s talk about you going to rehab”. She didn’t balk at the idea but a few minutes after our talk she got the shakes so bad that she had to pop the top on a beer…9:30 a.m. Knots in my stomach and throat…watching my beautiful daughter destroy her life.
The next few days she did wean off of alcohol…it lasted for about 4 days. She got past the shakes and the cravings. We kept ourselves busy with walks and talks and cooking and shopping. Then it all went to hell in a hand basket. She ran to the store….alone…..big mistake…but as I told my husband, ” I cannot follow her around 24-7. I can’t stop her from getting in a car and running an errand.” I would have liked to have my nose up her backside minute by minute but I needed to see the reality of what would happen if I didn’t. I knew in my gut it wouldn’t be pretty.
She bought Vodka, I think. Clear and easily added to a glass of lemonade or water! Not only did she smell of alcohol but her behavior became what I’d already become familiar with when she was drinking. Ugliness in her words, glaring eyes, phony laughter, asking me to repeat myself, and a couple of certain phrases that were key to me knowing if she’d been at the bottle. I felt uneasy in my own skin, with my own child.
This is where it becames impossible to cope. Questioning her alcohol use only got me a verbal lashing or a bunch of bullshit. “I had one beer”, “You’re imagining things”, “I don’t know why I smell like alcohol – I’m not drinking”. All unbelievable and a mother begins to question herself and what she needs to do.
I survived a couple of vicious verbal attacks from my daughter and several mini oral attacks. All followed up with an apology later or the next day. Those attacks were reminders to me of what she’d dealt with from W. Did that make it ok? Of course not…but my heart remained shattered. I constantly reminded her I love her no matter what, but I like sober Kae not drunk/addicted Kae.
We had a couple of good days and a few more awful ones. She often reminisced about how we used to be able to go out and have a glass of wine or two together, or how while preparing a meal we’d pour a glass of wine. She reflected how fun that was and wished we could do that again. I flat out said, “NO” until I wore thin and said, “ok let’s have one glass”. I wanted to shoot myself as I couldn’t have made a more harmful decision. She couldn’t stick to just one…and the next time I said,”no” she ordered for herself anyway. What the heck is a mother supposed to do in a crowded restaurant? Make a scene? I guess I should have – I’ll probably never see those people again, but it goes against my grain.
As for being in the confines of her home…as I said I had no control over her getting into a car and running a few errands. Each time I knew she was really going out to get alcohol. I was smart enough not to tempt any physical altercation. Once at home she’d safely hide it somewhere and her many trips to the bathroom or closet were a sure sign – if the smell and behavior weren’t enough.
My poor husband, her daddy, the only person I was willing to discuss any of this with. Feeling isolated, scared, angry, confused, tearful, sad, and helpless! Those were the feelings I experienced continually…sometimes all at once other times I was overtaken by just one. Just one. Pick one. If you could pick just one which would be the lesser of all the evils?
I felt our relationship being compromised. I knew I was going to loose this battle. I knew it was time to go home. I felt a wall going up – for me it was for protection. I suppose she felt the same. If she constructed a wall of deceit she could convince herself that her path was ok. I knew she knew – it wasn’t.