Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 16 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Moments

I had the rare opportunity last night to share my recovery and recovery community with my parents. I invited my mom and stepfather to present me with my celebratory cake in honor of 10 years of sobriety at an event we call cake night. My sobriety anniversary was actually 4+ months ago, on December 28, 2015, but my parents were in Florida at that time. With ten miraculous, sober years under my belt, I thought it was time I invited my mom and stepfather to participate in this nice event.

Cake night happens the first Saturday of each month. It is a time for families and friends to come together in celebration and gratitude, and most importantly a time for the alcoholic to say thanks to those who've supported him or her. It's a really poignant, laughter-filled, energetic event.

We celebrated 14 different anniversaries and 124 total years of sobriety last night. The place was packed! When it was my turn, my mom and stepfather stepped to the lectern and said a few words about me, and then I got up and said a few words about my journey with alcohol, the miracle of sobriety, and thanked my parents for being in my life today.

I wrote about the miracle of my sobriety here in December. The close relationship I have with my parents, especially my mom, is probably the biggest miracle of all. My mom was a very young woman when she had all four of her children, my 3 brothers and I. Perhaps she was overwhelmed. She admits today she struggled as a mother. Both she and my father were loud and violent.

My mom left my father when I was just 12 years old. Continued violence in my life as well as resentment toward my mother for "abandoning" us turned me into an angry teenager, and then an angry teenager with severe, suicidal depression. To this day I remember vividly the moment I told her I hated her. Looking back, it makes me cringe.

Through my adult years, until I got sober, my mom and I had a decent relationship, but I always kept her at an arm's length. I certainly didn't let her close enough to offer help when I needed it. I didn't allow her to see me vulnerable. And if she sensed vulnerability and tried to assist, I shut the door in her face even harder.

That's why last night presented a rare opportunity. Though my mom has experienced the full, ugly brunt of my depression, she didn't witness my drinking or my slide into alcoholism. She wasn't living near me, and I was a solo drinker anyway. Nevertheless, my mom did experience the alcoholic personality traits I eluded to above, the arrogance, belligerence, and selfishness. As long as I continued my active alcoholism, she never had a chance. I would never have allowed her to be a full participant in my life. We would have always danced an arm's length apart.

Last night we danced cheek to cheek. In ten years our relationship has improved tremendously. My mom hasn't changed. I have. She always remained loving and supportive, even as I rejected her, but now I let her in. I learned how to be a daughter in recovery. What a gift! It was a rare moment for my mom, stepfather and I last night, and it only occurred because of my sobriety. It's good for me to remember that.

1 comment:

HBF said...

Beautiful. Wonderful. Congratulations!



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