So many things I want to write about. Would love to file something about Christopher Hitchens. Have a stack of books, three or four of which I wish I could review today, one of which (the excellent ADDICTION AND ART) should have been reviewed last week. But these kinds of posts require more of my attention because I need to be responsible to the others involved in them… and this week my son is out of camp. I promised him some “bored” weeks, and today was a bored-day, and I didn’t get that attention to devote to this work.
Instead we helped a mentor of mine, 71-year-old Quaker friend who last night had to put her 15-year-old dog to sleep. Took her out for coffee and a walk at the botanical garden.
Think about it: she got that dog when she was 55.
“Did you see how happy you made Aunt V?” I asked my almost-13-year-old in the car on the way home.
“Yeah,” he said. “And you looked pretty happy. And I guess I was happy too, so that made three of us.”
The longer I stay sober, the more moments I get to have like the one pictured above. Or maybe I just get to be present for them. The other day I decided I’d just settle in for my 12-minute meditation in the couch in the living room; my husband and son were chatting about the car race scheduled for the next afternoon, and my son turned to ask me a question; then he said, “Oh, Mama’s meditating—that’s so awesome.”
He calls me “Mama” when he feels affectionate. Also “Motherington.” Also “Madréas”—his own personal derivative of the Spanish madre.
Another fine moment: standing in the kitchen telling him I’d become an addict, and that I’d detoxed two years before and changed my life. Inwardly I flinched, expecting him to sneer with venomous questions or accusations, but he nodded and clapped, hollering, “Yo, Mama!”
“Dude,” I said, crying.
“But Mom,” he said, “don’t you write about this stuff on a blog called something like Guinevere?”
My sponsor said later: “Kids know everything.”
“I dunno, I think I saw it open on the desktop? or something…” he said. My account on the desktop is password-protected. So he couldn’t have seen it there. Someone had found it and told him: Your mom is a junkie.
“Honey,” I said. “Wouldn’t you be embarrassed if I wrote about this stuff?” Because I have a few essays. Which I’ve been reluctant to send to outlets, or even to work on, because I don’t want to embarrass my family. Especially my son. I don’t want him to be the kid at school with the Addict Mom. His other friends are sons of the Surgeon Mom, the Professor Mom, the Epidemiologist Mom, the City-Planner Mom, the Rock Star Mom (for real).
I am the Writer and Painter Mom. I am also the Addict Mom.
In answer to my question, my son replied, with an incredulous expression, “Why?”
It seems my son can see more deeply into the situation than I can. And more deeply into both of us.
The woman who’s working with me on steps 10 and 11 told me today:
You hold yourself responsible for too much. You think that somehow you caused your addiction and you could have done something different? You need to take a long hard look at that. This is something that is beyond your control.
I suffer a great deal from wanting to turn the clock back—from the conviction that time-reversal is the ONLY way I can make anything right. Impossible. But this is what addiction does: its distortion of reality puts us in impossible binds. Leads us to suffering. Tempts us, eventually, to use.
In getting sober, you are a completely different mother for your child. And you’re influencing his life for the better every day.
(but what about all the time he missed out on while i was using?)
ALL you can do is live the best that you can and be of service.