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The invisible line

October 7, 2013

I have heard many people say that they don’t know when their drinking changed and crossed over the invisible line into alcoholism.  For me, I know the exact moment.  It was when the elevator doors opened at UCLA medical hospital.  My dad told me that my mom had been on life support for 3 days and a decision needed to be made.  I was 19 years old at the time, a sorority girl living at college.  I am not sure if I was in denial but the severity of my mom’s on going illness was unknown to me.

That day a decision was made and my mom passed away shortly after.  Those hours at the hospital are engrained in my memory like a favorite movie, I can quote the lines.  It was like a hammer came down on a glass table, my life shattered.  Everyone was consumed in their own grief and I was able to slither away into a deep depression of drinking and isolation.

I was no longer drinking at the frat house with my friends or playing kings cup after class, I was now barely showering or brushing my teeth.  The only time I left my room was to get more beer and occasionally some food.  Don’t get me wrong, I always drank differently than my fellows, but it was always fun and manageable.  This was a different beast.

My mom had been gone for 7 years when I got sober and for 7 years I tried not to think about her.  I blocked out her smell, her face, the house I grew up in and all memories related to her.  That was until I was drinking, then it was all I could talk about.  It scared me to grieve her so I did everything in my power to numb.

I was 5 days sober when she came to me.  I was so frightened that I wouldn’t be able to stay sober.  It was Friday night and I locked myself in my apartment with diet coke, reality TV and solitaire.  At that time I was convinced that was going to be the extent of my new sober social life.  I was trying to convince myself that it was worth it to not cause anymore damage to my loved ones- God always has better plans.

I was sitting on the floor, I had my diet coke on the coffee table, my cards were laid out in front of me and I was tapping my red tipped nails on the table, thinking about my next game move when she came.  I felt a heaviness, like someone was hugging me from behind, I couldn’t lift my arms.  I could see the back on my mom, she was sitting in my childhood home, doing the exact thing that I was doing.  I had forgotten that on any Friday or Saturday night you could find my mom and her red nails playing solitaire on the floor, diet coke close by.    A calming came over me as I could finally smell her and a voice whispered in my ear that it was going to be alright and I was doing the right thing, all I had to do was be still.

The entire thing freaked me out and comforted me at the same time.  I didn’t want it to stop because it was the first time in 7 years that I allowed myself to think about her, sober, and it wasn’t as terrifying as I thought that it would be.  It was the first time that I had a piece of my mom with me in years, and I needed it, I really really needed it.  On the other side of the coin it freaked me out.  I didn’t want her to stay for too long because I am scared of ghosts, even if its my mom.

That was my first spiritual experience and if I didn’t have it I don’t know if I would have made it through that first weekend.

Before she passed, my mom told my dad that if we ever see butterflies that would be her.  I can’t tell you the amount of butterflies I see and how many times they have brightened my day.  I have grown up in a 12 step program and without a mother.  Those butterflies help me feel like she sees my progress and is proud of me.  I am also so thankful for the women in that 12 step program that love and nurture me like I am their daughter. They would continually tell me that the love they have for their children is so great that they always forgive their children and their teenage years.  I have finally come to a place of peace with it.  I no longer have to drink to shut out the feelings of sadness for not having my mother here for my life events and daily struggles.  I get to feel it, cry about it and then move on.

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  1. mysmartpuppy permalink

    You have a gift.
    Keep writing.

  2. Lavinia permalink

    I love you my friend! Thanks for sharing that beautiful story with me.

  3. Paulette Marie permalink

    You made my Monday & I hate Mondays 🙂

    -Love you!

  4. Thank you all for reading and your comments, they really mean so much to me!

    • Lavinia permalink

      I love you and you can tell you have a degree in creative writing. It’s a pleasure reading your blogs. Enjoy your day!!!! xoxoxoxo

  5. Marissa permalink

    What a beautiful story my love! Thank you very much for opening up and letting us feel what you feel, even for a moment.

    We are all so proud of the woman that you have been through this journey and who you are today. I’ll also love the person you will be tomorrow, and many days after that because you’re awesome.

    Keep writing!

  6. Love it girlfriend. You write so well. 🙂

  7. Kathy permalink

    Thanks for you honesty. Your Mom is very proud of you. You are a beautiful, intelligent, successful women. YOUR BUTTERFILIES ARE EVERYWHERE. guiding and loving you.
    hold on to the good memories. xxx Kathy

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