She’s Alive!

Memoir Excerpt:

“But my respite was short lived. The phone rang two weeks before Christmas, and I knew she was still alive. At the sound of her voice, I was drawn back in to her world, her illness, and her drama. I didn’t even think to take a step back from it all, so strong was my codependency at that point.

“Hi Mom. Doc thought I should call you and let you know how I was. Do you

want to come down and see me? I’m on a farm in Fredericksburg.”

“Oh, Angie. I’m so grateful you’re alive and safe! We’ll come down first thing

on Saturday.”

Why didn’t I just hang up and say the hell with her? Because she was my daughter, somewhere closeted inside that addict’s body, and no matter how much I raged at her endless betrayals of self and those she had once upon a time loved, I couldn’t turn away from her. She was my child. She didn’t ask to be born, and I know she didn’t choose to be sick. I would go to her, on a tranquil farm two hours away, to try yet again to reach her, in some way, on some level, while she could still be reached. As long as she was still above ground, I told myself, she had another chance to start over. I was her mother. I would rescue her. This time, I would save her from herself.

This was my mindset when we went to see her: stubborn, stupid, willful lab rat that I was. After all that we had been through, together and apart, you would think I would have learned. I wanted to think we were both still teachable, still capable of redemption. And so I continued to seek it, my own, but I was looking in the wrong places. I thought I could only find it in her recovery.

I would find it, eventually, a little farther down the road. It was deep inside me, I discovered, all along.

What I didn’t see then, and only see now years later, was that all the energy I poured into my attempts to save her were terribly misdirected. It said a great deal about me, but it said nothing about her. If she were ever going to beat this thing, she would need to do the necessary work on her own. We could help her access the tools she needed, but she needed to pick them up with her own hands and use them.”


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