My mother is an addict. There. I said wrote it. Dealing with it is impossible. She and my father met it AA. I grew up going to Recovery with Kids. I know who “Uncle” Bill is, veryvery well.

Mom was in a series of car accidents over the years, most of which weren’t her fault – trust me, I was in a couple of them. Nothing is funner than getting rear-ended at a stop sign by some bimbo on her cell who doesn’t have insurance – what a fun 3 car pile-up that was. So, over time, her doctors started prescribing strong pain medicine. Tylenol 3 is kid stuff compared to the crap she takes. At first, she only took the narcs when she was in pain. Then it became a daily dose. Then the weird behavior started.

She sleep-walks (or so we call it) a lot. She wanders around half-naked, completely high, doing weird shit. Like, putting all the glass dishes in the fridge. Or, waking my brother up at 4am, because he “has to go to school.” Yeah. I am completely used to hearing strange bumps and thumping sounds in the night, and ignoring them. The entire family just ignores it as much as we can. Because she gets reallyreally angry when we confront her on it, or ask “what are you doing?”

This is becoming less and less possible as time goes on. Dad started going to meetings again, and has begun to realize that NO, this isn’t normal behavior. My brother and I have known it was wrong for some time, but don’t know what to do. We’ve become really short-tempered when dealing with Mom. I can go days without speaking to her at all; and to be honest, I often do. On purpose.

We had thought she was getting better. We confronted her a couple of months ago, and she swore she would scale back on the meds (because “she’s in pain“) and she would get rid of all the other unnecessary prescriptions she has. She made it maybe 2 months, and now we’re back to the weirdannoyingembarassing behavior.

Dad and Emm (my brother) and I have talked, and we’re considering another intervention.

What fun.

I am SO SICK of dealing with this. I’m naturally an introspective person, and I know that my behavior isn’t quite right. I know that I attract completely co-dependent partners, which is one of the reasons I don’t date. Since I’ve come to Oregon, I’ve made a lot of progress. My friends are, for the most part, normal. They don’t drink excessively or do drugs. Unlike my friends back home. The problem is my reactions to other people’s behavior isn’t right. My brother and father and I can become so passive agressive, then outright agressive when provoked. I fight against it, but I know it’s a problem.

I’ve considered going to Al-Anon for several years now. Mom doesn’t drink, tho, anymore. I looked at Nar-Anon, for relatives of drug addicts. I know it would probably help to go, but a large part of me rebels at the thought. I don’t like the recovery programs’ focus on a Higher Power. I believe in G-d, don’t get me wrong. But, part of me just thinks it’s stupid to say I have no control over my life or to ask G-d for help over little things that aren’t genocide or mass starvation. Am I weird, here? As a modern, Reconstructionist Jew, I was always brought up with the concept that G-d helps those who help themselves.

Why am I posting this? My Dad wanted to know,” for the sake of clarification, what about her behavior was so disturbing?” There are tons of families with weird family members, and they learn to deal with it. He can be so CO sometimes. He goes back and forth with dealing with her. He’s the master at ignoring her when she’s weird.

I think about it, and it’s hard to verbalize the problems.

One, I am SO DISAPPOINTED. Mom and Dad and Emm and I were the model family when I was younger. We lived in an upper-middle-class neighborhood in DC. My parents were on the PTA. My mom was my Girl Scout leader for 5 years. She was an artist, and a pillar at our synagogue. So was my Dad. Everyone loved us back home. We hosted fricking neighborhood barbeques! Then, in high school, it all changed. Not just because of Mom, but her “problem” was certainly part of the difficulty. I wouldn’t be so disappointed if Mom didn’t expect to continue to live like we did. She gets annoyed when we make ourselves food – because she was going to make dinner. She hasn’t made a family dinner on her own in… I don’t remember how long. But, we’re supposed to pretend that she does, all the time. She also gets angry when Emmett and I won’t schedule things with her. Because you can’t depoend on her anymore!! But, we’re expected to act like she’s the same as she always was.

Reason number two, it’s fucking annoying, okay? I have the right to live a relatively normal life and not be afraid of bringing friends home. If I behaved like she does, I’d be shipped off to an asylum. Seriously, I would.

Reason number three, it’s all self-induced!! She WAS normal!! No – She IS normal!! She takes drugs and then acts weird! ONLY when she takes the narcs does she act like this. I don’t care that she has a prescription! I don’t care that her doctors agree that she needs painkillers. THEY don’t have to live with her! She can act, and IS, perfectly sober and normal when she’s not taking the narcs.

Reason number four: I’m 21, okay? I’m not married and I don’t have kids. I did not sign up for the responsibility of fulltime caregiver. I shouldn’t have to shepherd a 50-something woman around who won’t listen to reason and gets miffed if we try and prevent her from breaking all the dishes in the house. I wouldn’t be so bitter about this if she had an actual problem – like autism, or something. My brother is slightly autistic, and I’m fine with dealing with his issues. At least he doesn’t act like everyone should respect him when he’s acting in a way that’s a danger to himself and others.

Reason number five, I am sick of that g-ddamned queasy feeling I get when she sleep-walks! Or, when she tries to drive, HIGH! I’m so glad I have my permit now. I’ve even had to take her keys from her, you know. I get so nauseous and sick feeling when she’s like this. AND I’M FUCKING SICK OF IT.

If I am actually at the point where I fantasize about moving out – but worry about what’ll happen when I do – then I should know something’s wrong. And, I do.

I just wish this shit wouldn’t always pop up during finals. I can’t wait to visit Vonnie and Blair! Bless them for taking me away from these lunatics for a while. A whole week sans sleepwalking, temper tantrums, and just bizarre happennings.

Sorry to deviate from our regularly scheduled programming. I promise to return to my usual topics of blogging tomorrow. I have tons of things to knit and spin. Which also helps with the stress.


  1. Well, hell, I don’t blame you for being angry. Go directly to the campus mmedical services and ask if they have a therapy group on campus. Not neccessarily any of the Anons. Although they have helped lots of people, I really don’t think they are the One True Path, and for women, in particular, I think announcing one is powerless is really a terrible hermaneutic.

    Although you are entirely powerless over your mother and your father and your brother. Even though the spiritual aspects of the Anons may not be anything but annoying, you might get some relief from hearing from other people in a similar boat.

    No, you should not have to be in charge or put up with someone who is trying not very successfully to stay in charge of you. Is there any possible way you can move out? Be a counselor at a residential summer camp? Go to field school (NH is cheap) and just BE AWAY for awhile?

    And having your father act like you should think this is all normal is is codependent all right, and just WRONG.

    Write me. I hope you get lots of support from your friends, this was a very well-written and well-expressed rant and you have EVERY RIGHT.

  2. You are perfectly right to feel the way you do. My mother has her crazy spells without the excuse of drugs in her life. You can just come up and visit and escape all the crazies for awhile. You can even visit us this summer wherever we may be. Please feel better and know that there are people out there that care about you.

  3. Oh I feel for you….What you are experiencing with your family is not normal! You should not feel responsible for your mother although I know that it is something that is so hard not to feel when you have lived with this situation for many years…My suggestion….leave home….go talk to someone who can help you deal. Just take care of yourself! Please! I just started going to a Spiritualist Church and maybe that type of support would help. I too have problems with the view of God that all religions have but this church is non-denominational and helps you find your own God within and your own healing powers. If that is a rout you feel that you want to go you can find out about it on the web. Center. Relax. Breathe.

  4. Do her doctors know about her behavior? If not, call them. Let them know your concerns and see what they say. If that’s a dead end, do what you need to do to stay healthy. Sometimes it’s necessary to cut ties with troubled family members when their problems are making you crazy. I *wish* my family’s problems were substance-related… then maybe there’d be hope of recovery. *hug* Keep healthy.

    (found you on crafster)

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