Mother’s Day Lies

~ Circa 1987 ~

~ Circa 1987 ~

A day to pay tribute to your mom. As a woman who (finally) works at living a spirit-filled and principled life, I am struck by the irony of who I was as a daughter. My sweet mom had her work cut out for her. It seemed all fine at the time, growing pains and such, but when I look back through (sober) parental eyes I am stunned at my behavior.

As a young child my motives were self-seeking for far too long. As number five of six children I seemed to always be waiting for mine. “When is mine coming?” was a big theme with me. I learned at an early age that it wasn’t coming—never. I got what was left over. I got what I took. I got less than in a world that I felt* didn’t care. (*Note: This felt is not based upon fact.)

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that others were getting so much. It’s that I perceived I wasn’t getting my share. It’s that I learned (aka programmed) myself to covet, manipulate, and con others to get what I perceived would make me happy. It was always about what I was getting and never about what I was giving.


Part two of five in the 5-Key Competencies.

Competency Two: I Am Straightforward

My alcoholism brought me to my knees, maybe even my elbows. When you’re on the floor there is simply nowhere else to fall. And while it may seem like there is no more going down, there is that idea that you won’t ever get back up. It’s like you know it can’t get much worse, but clearly you cannot see it getting better.

You’ve tried.

You’ve tried, not dozens, but thousands of times. You can’t do it. And you believe with all of you that you can’t do it. How do you combat that?

Here is where I found the error in my thinking. There was nothing to combat. I had spent a lifetime fighting something that wasn’t even there. But I believed so much that it was … I engaged in a full blown war because I believed it was the way to get mine. I had to lie and manipulate. This was the only way I knew to meet my ever growing needs. I depended upon everything external to make me peace-filled. It never occurred to me that peace would come if I learned to live differently.

I justified my behavior. I needed to drink to get away from my dependency upon alcohol. I needed to lie to cover up the lies before lies before the other lies. And it all seemed so okay. It was okay to lie to my mom. It was acceptable to manipulate her, to make her feel bad. I wanted her to feel like she screwed up then I didn’t have to feel the pain of the life I created. Blaming her was my solution. My beautiful mom, she gave me so much and I repaid her with so little.

Sobriety has taught me that I can clean this up. Not in a day, but a little every day. Being straightforward means I am honest. Honesty doesn’t mean I’m a bitch or a bull-dozer. Honest means I speak the truth AND I speak it from a place of love. Being straightforward means I don’t need to have it go my way because others have wants too. Being straightforward means I think before I speak. Yes, I actually stop and think about what I choose to say. I present my ideas with compassion and clarity.

Most of all it means I think about you and what I can give you and not about me and what I can get for me.

I have finally learned that when I am loving you I am loving me by default.

Thanks mom, the best of me is yet to come. I’m so glad God gave me you for a mom. I don’t know if I’ll get it right every time, but I’ll work on getting it right today.

I love you.

No Responses to “Mother’s Day Lies

  • This is beautiful, Lisa.

    “Yes, I actually stop and think about what I choose to say.” —I still work on this, as my instinct is to come from a place of reaction, but the more I think and choose my words, sometimes even choosing to say nothing, and consider my motive, the more I change that instinctual behavior.

    I love the photo of you and your mom! You look like sisters. I know she is so proud of you!

    • RoS,
      I’m still working on it too. It’s when I stop thinking I need to work on it that I get in trouble.
      I’m going to tell my mom you said about photo 🙂 This July marks her 79th birthday.
      (She looks about the same as she does in this photo.)
      ps. Your mom is proud of you too.

  • Your mother is lovely. I bet you smile that big with one of your children in your arms.

    Happy Mother’s Day, Lisa.

    • It’s as fun to find the picture as it is to write the post. xox happy belated Mom’s day. (But every day is mom’s day for me.)

  • Beautiful photo….I related very much! Thanks for sharing.

  • Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms- including the spiritual “mothers” who teach us the lessons we determinedly ignored in the grip of our disease.

    Here’s one I got from a spiritual mother and am still parsing out years later:

    “Every time you hear yourself articulate the words ‘I want…’ either silently or aloud, balance them by articulating the words ‘I have…’ and then look around you. Maybe what you need isn’t to obtain something new, but to get rid of something you have now. Or to appreciate something you have now.”

    And thanks for sharing that beautiful picture. What a lovely Mother’s Day gift a hug can be.

    • I love this idea of “I want or I have.” It’s a big theme in coaching work.
      And yes, the gift of a hug. I have undervalued that notion.
      That’s my take away from your comment: the gift of a hug.
      I love when readers see what I so easily overlook.
      Always love RecoveryInst over here. I loved Scott’s post the other day. When you love a Shapeshifter.

  • What a beautifully honest post 🙂

  • I love the picture…and the hair too…pretty groovy, ya hep cat 🙂

    Your post was stunningly beautiful and gentle – like mom there. I know I can relate on many levels there. That is the beauty of us sharing our stories – we find the common threads and cling on and tie ourselves to each other, like a tether or a lifeline. We are bonded. And like we are bonded to our parents through bloodlines, we are bonded by spiritual lines through the lash of alcoholism. You have shown some spiritual principles in which you lead your life in, and I see where I too need to work on things. I too come from a reactionary place as Christy said there and so i need to sound off in my head, count a pause, and think before I say (or not say) anything. Not always easy to so.

    And what you said about justifying, blaming others, etc. I can certainly stand up and count out as one who did the same. I really love what you said about cleaning it up – not in one day – but over time, as we become who we are meant to be, and taking the actions we need to take to live well and help others live well. And also what you said about honesty – not being a bulldozer or jerk about it. Speak out of love, act out of kindness…it pays dividends.

    Loved this touching post, Lisa.

    Blessings and hope your mom has a wonderful birthday in a few months!


    • Yes, the hair. I’ve learned you can (almost) get the date of the photo by the hair style.
      (My age is showing.)

      All the attributes I speak of are ones I work on continuously.
      I never mean to say I have them nailed.
      More or less I am a “work in progress” yet I have ideals I work toward.

      I know I will fail today. Not that I’m trying to set myself up, in as much, as I am not arrogant enough to think I am beyond making a mess of things.

      For me, in sobriety, the most important aspect is forgiveness toward self.
      Forgive self (genuinely) and move on.

      Otherwise, the consequences for my inability to be honest and forgiving will be devastating.
      We’ve both done it and seen it many times in recovery.

      Paul, you always make the poster feel so “normal” … Thank you for your kindness

  • Happy Mothers Day to you, Lisa! Wow, 6 children! Love the words and the picture too. Two beautiful ladies.

  • Love this picture of you and Mom.. Thanks for sharing, Lisa…and just for the record. I thought I was the only one who gave her so many headaches!! The oldest child (me) always feels guilty because I was supposed to be the “leader” and I certainly wasn’t perfect!! Children, are, by nature, in constant training to grow up. (and mothers are the drill sergeant. LOL) All children tend to learn some things the hard way. Be assured, Mom accepted all of us as we were because she knew, as all praying mothers do, that your kids eventually “get it” (especially when they become parents themselves) Don’t be too hard on yourself, girl!! Mom is tough as nails..That’s what we like about her!! Love you sis!

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