One of the hardest things for me upon sobering up was seeing what I had done to the people who loved me. During my active drinking days, I got to be drunk and unaware of how badley my actions were hurting not just me, but everyone around me. I had lied until I was a professional at it, stolen things to pay for my habit, and ruined countless family gatherings. I can’t imagine how many nights they lay awake worrying, wondering when that phone call would come reporting the inevidable. I was in jail, hurt, in detox again, or dead. I imagine they pictured my funeral several times.
I remember one day, during my last stint in rehab, talking to my mom on the phone. My mom had really been the only one who had continued a regular communication with me. I kept letting her down, but she never lost all her hope in me. But this time she was on the brink. I had wrecked Christmas, and lied to her again to cover up my binge. She told me she couldn’t do it anymore, she needed to not talk to me for awhile. I had hurt her too many times and she was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. I slammed down the phone in anger. How dare she? All I was going through, and she was going to not talk to me? ME! ME! ME!…
That day was one of the worst days of my life.
I had all kinds of plans for that Sunday when I would see my Mom at church. I would not sit with her. I would sit where she could see me though, and show her I could do this alone. I would be fine. I didn’t need my family anymore then they needed me.
I saw her sitting there in our usual place. My heart softened when I saw her. I thought about all the times I had messed up, but she had still been there. I wasn’t even mad at her, I was mad at myself. I was so broken and living in the dark and coudn’t find my way out. I walked over and sat down next to her. She turned to me.
“Hi.” She said.
“Hello.” I replied.
She turned to me and took my hand. “I am sorry I blew up on you on the phone. I was just hurt and didn’t know how to handle it. Will you forgive me?”
My mouth dropped and my eyes filled with tears. Me? Forgive her? After everything I had done to hurt her and our family, she was asking me for forgiveness? I asked if she could ever forgive me. She said she already had. We hugged and sat there crying together.
I’m not sure my mother is aware of how her gift of forgiveness that day affected my life. I know that her relationship with Jesus Christ was the motivating factor for her forgiveness, and that day she showed me grace. I didn’t deserve her forgiveness, not really. She had every reason to write me off as her daughter. I had done enough things to her to warrent her cutting me out of her life. But because she knew Christ and his forgivness, she was able to forgive me. She showed me the light of Jesus and it started to break into my dark world.
Today my relationship with my family is on the mend. Slowly, they have let me back in and because I have chosen to stay sober with the help of Christ, I have been busy replacing bad memories with many new beautiful ones.
I would like to close with a note my mom wrote to me a few days ago. I found it in this silly mother-daughter book she had been filling out for me. I think it is a beautiful example of how far Jesus has taken our relationship since the dark days. It was the gift of forgiveness that is exemplified by Christ’s work on the cross that made any of this possible. Who do you need to give the gift of forgiveness too?
Jennifer, A lot has happened since I started writing in this sappy book. There were some dark times-when I didn’t understand what was going on in your life-why you could act the way you did. Then I found out everything and wanted to help you through the nightmare. As a mother I thought I could fix everything. I thought if I did this or that, it would make you drink. I lived in fear. But then Jesus changed you and took you out of the darkness into the light. I am with you in the light now. I am prouder of you now than ever before. I love you more then words can ever say. -Love, Mom