When Grandma Celebrates Sobriety

As many of you know, I host the internationally downloaded Healing Place Podcast. I do my own editing using a fairly easy software, Wondershare Filmora, and can usually work through any hiccups found in the recordings. However, I ran into a snag last week when my own audio feed was scrambled. I had no idea during the recording process and only discovered the problem when I started editing. Needless to say, I discovered I am not a sound engineer.

That left me scrambling for a solution for the upcoming Friday podcast release. I could bump up the remaining recorded interviews, but one of them was a celebration of podcast episode number 100! That nixed that idea. I happened to be running around with my eighty-four year old mother the day after discovering my recording dilemma when the idea hit me to record an impromptu Facebook Live interview with her.

A little history might help.

I have described my mom as that cute little Gizmo character from the movie, Gremlins. She is sweet and cute and an angel on earth.

When sober.

But add vodka . . . and just like those Mogwai in the movie, Gremlins, if they eat after midnight, all hell breaks loose. My mom would transform into a cruel, at-times violent and suicidal addict. I experienced flashbacks during EMDR Therapy of waking as a child to find my blank-eyed mother standing over me with a butcher knife in her hand. She denies such acts to this day.

I was the “good girl” in our family. Living a life of co-dependency, searching for my mother’s love and approval most often when she was drinking, and always there to clean up the mess alongside my younger sister. That is until July, 2019. I answered my sister’s phone call as I stood atop a mountain resort in Estes Park, Colorado. Hundreds of miles from home. In that moment, as I was informed of another hospitalization of my mom, brought on by a drinking binge carried out with the intent to die, that I reached my tipping point.

Hit a wall.

Broke the poor camel’s back with that last straw.

Said to the universe with zero hesitation . . .

I

AM

DONE.

I walked away from my elderly mother in that moment. And did not speak to her for the next three months. And it hurt my soul to do so. I cried. I shook off Catholic guilt. Yet I stayed firm. And as each day passed, I became more determined in my resolve to give her the space she needed to save herself. It was time for her to clean up her own mess and face those long-avoided demons of her own childhood.

She called me in October. I answered. And I’m not sure why I took the call that time. Something compelled me to do so. She was sober. Happy. And looking for resolution in our relationship. I was more than willing to honor her needs and give her a chance, yet again.

This past Christmas she asked if she could skip our traditional family gathering. I asked her if she was afraid she’d be triggered to crave alcohol and she admitted, yes. I, again, honored her needs and we changed our family plans. Instead we surprised her with a quick ten minute visit to her place which left her smiling and grateful.

Now here we are . . . six months in. She continues to celebrate her sobriety. As do I.

When grandma, or in our case GJ, celebrates sobriety, we share it with the world!

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