A Mothers Lament

25 Feb

You can feel a mother’s lament in her voice. The tonal quality of her words, reverberates and penetrates deep beneath the soft flesh coverings and causes the stomach to increase its weight tenfold. The chest feels as if someone is pushing upon it and that breath, that one breath, is a struggle in itself to get in and get out. You can feel the rough edges of remorse that shape her story as it escapes her mouth… Or maybe you have to be a mother to feel it, or maybe you have to be a mother who once neglected her own to feel it.

They almost lost me that time. I almost lost myself.

Consciousness and reality sunk in as I shivered and sweat through my clothing, damning the light that was intruding into the darkness of the room. I was in someones bed. Dying a slow death.I thought that if only I could get my hands on another bottle and a couple of lines of coke, I’d feel enough or rather not feel enough, to get out of the bed. After four consecutive days of no sleep and running from myself, my life, my responsibilities, my son… I couldn’t do it anymore.

I was 8 hours from home in a city 30 times the population of my small town and I could easily slip into line with the nameless, the faceless, the voiceless. That’s what I went there for. To erase myself. I clutched strongly onto notions and far-fetched beliefs that everyone would be better off with out me. Better off than to witness my rapid self-destruction and moral deterioration. I just couldn’t seem to wrap my fingers around sobriety, it evaded me. Instead I wrapped my desperate fingers over the neck of a bottle, kissing it to calm the loneliness, snorting powdered lines of cocaine to blot out my self-hatred.

I was sober once before that, for almost 3 damned beautiful years. It was after I had my son, and looking at his beautiful face, feeling his fingers wrapped around my index, was enough to make me put down the bottle and begin to learn how to love. I loved hard. I did volunteer work at a soup kitchen and fed the homeless, each face could’ve been the face of my great uncle who died from those hard northern streets. There was such a thin line that separated us, them and I. I understood this and was grateful for my second chance at life. I promised my son that he would never know the monster that I was before.

The first time I drank I blacked out. The second or third time I lost my virginity to some guy I didn’t know and came to crying in a bathroom. After a childhood of hidden abuses, sex equaled love, and if I couldn’t love myself well I could find someone who would love me for the night. I spent my entire youth disillusioned and hardened from slipping out of beds in the early morning before the men even stirred. I was broken and I insisted and breaking my edges until they created chasms that I could disappear into. It wasn’t long before I placed myself in dangerous situations that would further contribute to my downfall. Rape after rape after rape after beating after rape after… I was under the influence for most of these incidents so it was all very hush-hush shrouded by the mentality that I probably deserved it because of my inebriated states. By age 17 I had been in a treatment centre 3 times.

Three long gratifying years, where I repented, found God, thought I found myself, and got my shit together. I finished my grade 12 and started post secondary education, I worked hard, volunteered in a developing country, I held fund-raisers, I donated money, I created groups to help others, I ran 7 kms every bloody morning.My younger brother started calling me Saint Helen and I became the golden child. I was always winning some award, being a part of some national program, speaking at some event, and constantly in the newspapers, or on the radio.

None of it kept me sober. Eventually I slipped and it was a slow descent.

I couldn’t, for the fucking life of me, stay sober. I had 4 months of sobriety before I decided to give it another go and ended up having a violent sexual assault being thrown my way. After this, I pledged to myself I would never black out. My saviour and solution to this nuisance of blacking out came in the form of a white powder. I would no longer drink with out coke to keep me in check. Then it became more and more about the cocaine and I found myself returning home after days spent bingeing, not realising just how much time had passed, how many times my son had asked for me.

In treatment someone once said that it’s the worst feeling to know that you are a loving and caring person and to find yourself just not caring anymore. It is.

Each night I spent in bed sober, which was every workday of the week, I laid with my fingers over my uterus thinking of the damage done to me. I might never have children. Certainly having sex ever again was out of the question, that also meant a relationship was never to happen again. I would die alone.

I couldn’t stay sober. I was disappearing regularly with my child suffering from my neglect. I did that. Me. My mother became his source of dependability, his structure, his mother figure. It was only for the course of four months, this spiral, but it’s four months that I will never get back. I still maintained my jobs, one in an educational institution in a semi prestigious position and another my dream job that I worked my ass off to get. I held well attended events and filled out forms with eager students, I created manuals and applied for grants. I had that shit on lock. It left me bewildered… how could I be so smart and yet so stupid?

After a few months of sobriety I heard a young man say, “I know I need other people to talk with me to help me change my perspective. If I learned anything, it’s that a broken mind can’t fix a broken mind.”


All my social work skills went out the window, when I myself, was insane with addiction.

There I was, laying in my friends bed, 8 hours from home, trying to let whatever light in me I had left die. I arrived there by way of a vehicle of two guys I knew once upon a time. They drove me on a whim, and the whole trip we kept the booze flowing. I jumped ship when we hit the city, my male friend there said he trusted me with him more than me with them. I don’t blame him, but I think he was purposefully wrong in calculating where I was most vulnerable.

I deleted all of the pictures of my son from my cell phone the night I got there. If I were to exist somewhere else, I couldn’t remember him, that would be too painful. I couldn’t live with the memories of having loved so profoundly and abandoning it. I couldn’t stay there any longer, not when I couldn’t stay sober, not when I was going to get uglier and uglier and resemble the beast I was before I had him. He couldn’t see me like that. Disappearing, that was supposed to be easier.

Thankfully, someone decided to tell people to flood me with messages of love. I looked at my phone, shaking and in the fetal position, and read messages like, ” you are a strong and beautiful warrior and are able to conquer anything,” or “we love you so much and life would not be good without you”. I had over 50 of these in my text messages and online inbox. I cried.

My fingers began to dial the numbers, then a dial tone followed…

“Is that you my girl?” my mom’s voice said softly.

“yes, mama…. it’s me,” I whispered.

“My girl,” my mom said cautiously, “can you come home now?”

“Mama,” I choked out, “aren’t you better off with out me?”

I burst into tears, almost choking in the process.

“No, no, no,” my mom said, “we need you and we love you.”

We discussed where I was, how I would get home, and how fast I could get into a treatment centre. I could barely talk, barely stay focused, and I wasn’t making sense and Mama encouraged me to go to a hospital. I wouldn’t though, and luckily I was okay. Not everyone is so lucky to have the support and love that I did that time. I guess I’m just a lucky unlucky gal.

My aunties angel of a friend who lived in the next town over came and picked me up. I slept for over 12 hours in the safety and comfort of her bed. Angels man, sometimes they come out of the woodwork at the exact moment you need them to materialise.

My next message was from my best friend.

There’s a doctoring ceremony on a nearby reservation. You’ve tried everything. I think you should go, I will come there and take you.

I had nothing left to lose.

To be continued…..

Note: I am just coming up on 11 months of sobriety now! Dealing with this neglect… has been one of the hardest things I have had to come to terms with while achieving my sobriety.


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