On July 2, my 86-year old mom transitioned from this world to the next,so I now have another angel on my shoulder.

She lived a very big life with many facets, and didn’t make much of a fuss near the end. During the weeks since she has passed, I’ve thought about her contagious laugh and her open arms, even when I was active in my addiction. She was my mom and she loved me — no matter what pain I caused her.

The gifts I received from her were many, from her artistic talent and sense of humor, to alcoholism.
Growing up, the word “alcoholic” was rarely, if ever spoken in our home, which I imagine only deepened her shame, because we all “knew.”

Back in the 50’s and 60’s women were almost ostracized for having this “affliction,” and certainly no one considered it a disease. If this type of chaos was happening in your home as it was mine, the rug was not big enough to push it under and the 800 pound elephant lived in every room of the house. There was always an eerie feeling when my mom drank — while it was right under our noses, it was a topic to be ignored and never to be discussed. In fact, I still remember declaring I would never follow in her footsteps, not me, I would never be an alcoholic. Obviously my plan to lead a straight and narrow life didn’t last long. Once I swallowed what I considered to be the magic elixir, there was no stopping me for many years. But that was then.

Today, I cannot imagine my life without sobriety.

While I went the 12 step route, my mom chose to “quit” on her own back in the late 70’s. That is where we differed. Yet there was never any judgment from either one of us about it.  In fact, when I moved here in 1990, she was the one who handed me my first meeting list. Just another gift.
Thank you Mom for the life you gave me, supporting me on my journey, the laughs, the love, the ups and downs  — and one last reminder — don’t ever leave my shoulder.*  With love, and forever your daughter.  Barbara

*Just hours before this issue went to press I found this photo of my angel on my shoulder.