This is another one of my treatment assignments. My dear mother has been waiting for me to publish this for a while since it’s actually written by her. Well, sort of.
It was written by me during a phase of treatment in which we were learning about the ripple effect. Not quite like the butterfly in China causing a hurricane in Iowa. Or whatever. This is more like how my actions, however insignificant they may have seemed at the time, affected my friends, family, and society. The assignment was to write a one page letter from a victim in our ripple. I chose my mom pretty quickly because I believe my actions have had the greatest effect on her over time. It wasn’t supposed to be hurtful or degrading, but simply state, from her point of view, my actions and how they made her feel. It was well received by counselor and peers, but I still don’t know if I really hit the mark. I guess I’ll find out soon. I wrote it from the time just after my arrest for my current charge. Here goes:
Vince, I haven’t seen or heard from you in so long. But for now at least I know where you are and that you are safe. When I heard you were arrested I can’t say I was surprised but I was still sad and hurt. On the other hand I was grateful that you might have another chance at recovery.
In your nearly five years of sobriety, you shined. You were always a favorite with the kids in both our, and our extended families. They looked up to you. They admired you, and loved you. We all loved you since the day you were born. Then, without any warning, you disappeared. For the second time in a decade, you fell off the face of the earth. Because of your history, we knew more or less what was going on. And from our experience we knew that any attempt to communicate with you would have been shot down.
After a couple years, the second time around, you showed up and said flat out you were using again and if I wanted to be part of your life I needed to accept that. Well, I did. It was tough. You drank so much and so openly with your friends but you seemed happy. But every time I would bring up the future, or school, or family, you shut down and didn’t want to talk about it. So I stopped bringing it up.
Then after eight years you were gone again. The closest friends you have ever had couldn’t tell me where you were. They were just as confused and upset as I was. For a while I was so afraid that you would show up dead in an alley or on the side of the road, but then you showed up on the news, and you were finally somewhere again.
Since then we have become closer than ever, as a result in large part, by you being open and honest about everything with me and more importantly yourself. I’m glad you are excited about being where you are. I hear in your voice and in your letters the same enthusiasm about recovery you had when you left Hazelden and Florida. Me and the rest of the family will be here for you when you get out. You will always have our full support in every way as long as you remain active in your recovery.
And that’s it. When I was writing it I recall feeling sad for the first time in treatment. I don’t often feel emotions, and rarely do they make me feel bad but this assignment did just that. Even though that wasn’t the point of it, I thought of a lot of bad times I’ve had with her and because of being high or drunk nearly all of my adult life. I hope you get out of it what you can mother, and I’m sure I’ll hear your thoughts on it in the morning!
For the rest of you. Well my day to day life is a struggle. I don’t have a job yet. I am not worried. My agents are not worried. But I can tell my mom is. I communicate with the world three times a week for an hour at A.A. meetings, through this blog and on Facebook. I do not like talking to people outside of my family or very few friends, all of which I was incarcerated with. Shit. I’m over 700 words. Until next time.