Nobody told me there’d be days like these.

Tuesday, November 10th 09 at 4:46 pm 4 comments

I’ve debated immensely about writing this, because the truth is, I’m absolutely embarrassed. But I have so many feelings right now that if I let it all fester; the stress and frustration that I’m experiencing right now are going to swallow me whole. It really seems to me that at twenty-five, I should not have to deal with these things that I have to deal with right now. I will try to be brief (although if you’ve read anything here so far, you will know that I’m not too good at that. Largely due to my affinity for parentheticals).

The back-story goes like this: In the five years since my grandmother died, my mother has turned into quite the alcoholic. It’s gotten especially terrible the last year or so. Earlier this year, she was arrested for a DUI. After having a fender bender with my brother in the car while she was drunk, I felt a semblance of relief. I thought for sure that was what she needed to wake her up to what had been happening; which was the fastest sort of downward spiral. However, in the last six months, her behaviour hasn’t changed and I’d still have conversations with her that she’d never remember because she was so blasted. I’d still get voice mails from my brother at one am telling me that she fell down again, or that she didn’t come home again. A couple months ago it was one of those calls that had me in a panic for twenty-four hours because I couldn’t get a hold of anyone and for all I knew, she was dead in a ditch somewhere. When I finally got in touch with her, and freaked the fuck out weeping, I felt better when she said she had spent the day at an Alcoholics Anonymous event.

She takes various medication in the form of blood pressure regulators and mood stabilizers, most of which I’m pretty sure explicitly say on the label not to take with alcohol. So the fear of a massive body shut down has always been one at the forefront of my mind. Not to mention all the goddamn falling down she seems to do. In my work with brain injured people, I saw several that were completely and permanently incapacitated because of simple falls. I have been in a near constant state of fear. Finally, after seven months, the judge gave her her sentence for the April DUI; thirty days starting last Friday, the 6th.

Last Wednesday night, I got a phone call from my Poppa around 7:30pm, which is pretty uncommon, but I didn’t think anything of it as I answered the phone, happy to talk with my wonderful grandfather. However, as it turns out, he had just spoken with my mom’s ex-husband who just happened to be on his way home when he saw her pulled over. For another DUI. At 48 years old, my mother was arrested a second time with a blood alcohol level over twice the legal limit. All I could think was “Oh my god, I’m never going to see my mom again because she’s going to jail forever.” I was a little panicked initially. Panic quickly turned into anger, disappointment and embarrassment. Embarrassment because she’s that age and is making the asshole decisions of someone my age. Anger because I just don’t understand how she can be so fucking stupid. And disappointment because I sincerely thought that she’d go, serve her thirty days, and come out lesson learned.  But, I guess diseases aren’t cured that easily. I’ve come to the final conclusion though, that jail is probably the best place for her to be now. It hurts my heart so deeply to say that to myself, but it is true. At least now I know where she is and that she’s safe.
However, all I can think of is season five of the L Word when Helena went to jail for stealing all the money. I’m a little afraid that some big butch is going to tell her to “click up” and then she will find protection in her cell mate and then they’ll fall in love and run away to some tiny island with all the money when they get out. Kristi continues to assure me that she will be okay if she drops the soap, because the L Word, in fact, is not reality. (However, I’m still on the fence about her “the L Word is a television show, it is not real life, it is not the way that we live, this is not a perfect world where everyone is gay, Dana and Jenny never died because Dana and Jenny never actually existed” theory.)

L Word obsession aside though, I think I’m making myself sick over all of this. And in truth, it’s not even so much the fact that mom could possibly be sitting in jail for a year, it’s turned into dealing with my brother. Who at this moment, I want to disown and never speak to again. Admittedly, he has been through more than his fair share of shit the last couple years with our mother. I can’t deny that he has dealt with things someone his age should never have to deal with with their parent. But on the same token, he is eighteen years old and (I feel) should be acting with a bit more respect and maturity. It all started with me telling him, on our mom’s behalf, to return her computer to her storage unit which he helped himself to. When he decided to tell me no, I decided to turn into the mean big sister and give him the what for, because that usually works with him. It ended with him saying “fuck her.” Is something wrong with me? Because I DON’T GET IT. I’m such a mixture of emotions over that and most of them are really mean ones. I’m angry at her too, and I don’t blame him for it either. But, regardless of how angry you are, aren’t you supposed to stand by your family in support and love no matter what the situation?

It’s all just such a bizarre situation that I’m finding my family in. It’s certainly something I never imagined was possible. But I guess anything is when a substance takes control of your life like that. It just breaks my heart so very much, all of it. The obvious of course that my mother is in jail. All I can think is that she’s never going to eat because jail probably doesn’t offer a vegan alternative; she’s going to have panic attacks because she’s claustrophobic which will make her blood pressure crazy because they won’t give her her prescription and she will just get sick. But more than anything, my heart is broken to the winds because I just want my mom back. The woman who was happy and not (near as) crazy and was able to take care of herself and my brother and be the one to give ME support and encouragement. I just… I miss my mom and I want her back, whole and healthy again.


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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jessica  |  Tuesday, November 10th 09 at 4:56 pm

    You shouldn’t be embarrassed. At all. You have every right to feel thar way and want YOUR mom.

    • 2. Rachel Bruce  |  Tuesday, November 10th 09 at 5:00 pm

      Thank you, Jessica. I appreciate the comment, as well as the fact that you actually read all that. 🙂

  • 3. marnie  |  Tuesday, November 10th 09 at 6:12 pm

    i’m so sorry. i went through a very similar thing with my grandmother a while previous to her death from cancer, and it was honestly one of the hardest things i’ve ever had to deal with.

    it’s so hard to watch someone you love go through something addiction-related, you feel so powerless, so helpless :\
    it’s such a personal thing to go through that you don’t really know how to help but to suggest the same things you suggest all the time. idk, i think sobriety is unfortunately for those who want it, and not always for those who need it. i really do hope you make it through this unscathed.
    and i agree with the above comment! absolutely do not feel ashamed for feeling the way you do, i can guarantee you that you are echoing all the things that my entire family would say when we went through what we went through. so yeah.
    honestly best of luck to you and your mom to get through this time and you know i’m here if you ever want to have a chat 🙂

    • 4. Rachel Bruce  |  Wednesday, November 11th 09 at 9:10 am

      Thanks Marny, I appreciate it. I’m with you on the “sobriety is for those who want it, and not always those who need it. I think because it’s so hard that the only way to achieve it is by wanting it more than you want anything else. She kind of dabbled around with “wanting it” the last six months or so, and I really hope that this experience is going to be the wake up call she needs – once she’s all dried out – to stay that way.


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