The Ache In Their Souls

Memoir Excerpt:

 “While Angie was in Fredericksburg, I really stepped up my attempts to reach her. For one thing, I had an address to mail things to. For another, I thought she might be reachable while she was in Doc’s care. But I see in so many of my communications a dreadful tendency to condescend to her. I still clung to the illusion of control and I wanted her to do things my way.

‘Honor them, Angie, honor them.’ I know what I meant when I said those words to her, reminding her of the moral code I had raised her with. But how she would react to them was a different matter.

Many of my letters to Angie throughout her addiction were pages of barely veiled anger and disappointment. Since she was so sick I didn’t have the heart or the courage to be more honest with her. She saw through the mask anyway. My letters demonstrate how deeply entrenched I still was in needing to fix and control her. I needed to back off and let her find her own way. I kept hearing my mother’s old (imaginary) voice in me: “You can’t let go of her, Maggie. That’s not love. You can’t just stand by and let her self-destruct!”

It’s no surprise that she never answered these letters. Angie was well into her twenties by now and I should have known better anyway. I really needed to do more of what the Program was telling me to do. Even in my own journey of self-discovery, no one could have told me that I was OK. I had to believe it myself. I’ve had a lot of therapy over the years, but none of them worked as well as the Twelve Steps to bring about change in me. And I so wished that Angie could find something in life to give her faith in her own worth—go back to the first twenty-one years of her life—and remember all the things she excelled in and how much ambition she once had for herself. I too wished she could access the love of her whole family. It was such an impotent thing now, I realized, though I once naively thought that my love could pull her away from all this. But there was a masonry wall between Angie and recovery: rough, forbidding, high and difficult to scale. Addiction crippled her with destructive ‘solutions’ to the ache in her soul.” (From A Mother’s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, by Maggie C. Romero)

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