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  • Jayne Stearns

An Unmother's Day

Updated: May 13

According to the 2022 United States National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 46.8 million, or, 16.7% of Americans aged 12 and older, battled a substance use disorder in the past year. 10.5% of Americans 12 and older had an alcohol use disorder in the past year. In addition, 21.5 million American adults, or 8.4 of us, suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder.

But these are just numbers.

The sad truth is that these people with an addiction, all had mothers at some point in their struggling lives. Every. Single. Person. We don't come into this planet without one. These are the mothers who suffered and/or are suffering the results of their child's addiction or who stopped communicating with their addicted child altogether to protect themselves and their families from the addict's disruptive and painful presence in their lives.

We are the mothers who dread Mother's Day each year. It arrives in our lives like a cruel celestial joke, creating discontent, shame, and, most often, resentment for years of broken promises and dead dreams. It's a painful day for us. Drugs have deprived us of what good the day was ever meant to be. Most of us are so depleted by our addict's shortcomings and goings, their lies and their aggression, that we don't have the emotional bandwidth left to be happy for others. The phrase "Happy Mother's Day" becomes salt in open wounds. And so, we spend the entire day wishing it would go away. It's just another day in which we watch our children slowly die before our eyes, made worse by the expectations of the day itself. Many of us already lost our child to an overdose, and so the day becomes another day to grieve their loss. Again. And again.

So, I will not say Happy Mother's Day. Instead, I wish you a swiftly passing day and hope for a better future. I wish you better, greater things than this.

Love you all.

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