A Letter To My Sister, The Addict
I believe in Sober Mommies, and the empowering message it sends to anyone who has struggled with addiction. Having said that, I hope I won’t be judged based on my perspective.
I have been blessed. I am not an addict. I have never been addicted to any illegal, mind-altering substance. I have, however, had to deal with the actions and consequences of an addict for the past twenty years.
In many ways, an addict is like an ever-igniting bomb. The addict suffers each blow, but the shrapnel from each explosion also devastates everyone in her path.
If you are reading this sober, I congratulate you. But I also beg you to be patient with the people who have been on this journey with you. We are filled with anger, resentment, bitterness, and the very real fear that you will mess up again. While you are learning how to live sober, we are trying to learn how to trust you. These obstacles are equally difficult. I can no longer be a beacon of hope for the addict in my life. This letter is for her.
To: My Sister
A few days ago, I heard you say to your daughter, “If anyone cares, I am eleven days sober.” This confused me. Are you seeking support and admiration for doing something for eleven days? You haven’t raised your children in SIXTEEN YEARS! Your daughter hasn’t been able to seek guidance from you with her relationship problems, celebrate happy occasions with you, or reach out to even ask random questions, because you have never been there for her. That responsibility has been left on your mother, her grandmother and legal guardian, and me; her aunt. And now, you would try to guilt your daughter for not being supportive of your eleven days?
Where the fuck were you?
When I was twenty years old, you decided to abandon your children and leave them with our mother and ailing father. You decided, for whatever reason, they were a better fit to raise your son and daughter.
And then you left.
During this time, did you take it upon yourself to self-reflect, seek therapy, or focus on the important things in life? NO! You chose to procreate again with an abusive convict; a man who, when not incarcerated, collects disability because he suffers with an “addiction problem”. You brought two more children into this world, and now they are also being raised by our mother.
But you have eleven days sober! Good for you.
I have a family. Most days I work nine hours; sometimes ten. Every day on my way home, I call our mother to see how she’s doing raising your children.
Some days she’s in tears.
On those days, I go to her house so she has some support. On my way out, we plan my return. These days throw off the routine I have established for my own family. When I get home, I still have to do what REAL mothers do. I have to make dinner, get things ready for the next day, and bathe my child.
On the nights I don’t go over, I check in on your older children to see how they are doing. I worry about how they are dealing with the ramifications of the incident that has motivated you to stay sober for ELEVEN WHOLE DAYS – the fact that you overdosed two days after your oldest daughter’s birthday.
Good for you, though. You have eleven days sober.
I am enraged at how easily you can go for a leisurely walk in the middle of a workday; while our mother tries to figure out when to pick up your younger kids from elementary school. It must be nice to awaken whenever you want, without the responsibility of having to get your kids dressed, make them breakfast, or deal with their emotional confusion, because they don’t know how to express their feelings after seeing the domestic violence you subjected them to, and their mother lying on the floor…BLUE.
I hate who you are, and what you have become. I am envious of people who have a sibling they can depend on; someone they can do things with, enjoy life with, and love. I was short-changed. My sibling is a pathological liar who lives for her own hedonistic pleasures, and ignores all things she is responsible for. I wanted to move out of this city one day, but I can’t. I gave up that dream, because I made a promise to our father, when he was dying, that I would help take care of Mom and YOUR children… because he knew you wouldn’t.
You play the victim because you’re the addict, but you have held our entire family hostage because of your choices. You have done nothing but lie and abuse our trust. You have wasted our youth, our expectations, and our hope that one day you might become a decent daughter, mother, and sister. Your actions have altered who your children could have been, their relationships with people, and their ability to trust.
If you need someone to acknowledge your eleven days, here it is. I will congratulate you, but this is the last interaction we will have. I’m exhausted, and I just can’t do it anymore.
Eleven days does not make up for your sixteen years of destruction.