This is a picture of my mom and myself three years after I sobered up.  The look in her eyes?  That is pride!

And not just the pride that comes when you do something good or achieve a great milestone.  This was just her being proud of the man that I had become.

That genuine smile on her face didn’t exist in many pictures when I was in the middle of my active addiction.  When I was drinking the look that you would usually see on her face was some mixture of worry, depression, anxiety, disappointment, guilt and sadness.

Picture right before I went into rehab.

She worried the sirens at night might be from an accident I got in driving home from the bar. She questioned herself and wondered if she could have done anything differently. She desperately tried everything in her power to try to help me out of the hole I just kept digging. And then she patiently waited until finally one day I asked for help.

The look in her eyes in that picture didn’t come overnight just because I started accumulating days.  She still worried about me.  Wondering if I might make a wrong turn one day and end up relapsing.

She endured many years of worrying about me, and it takes a long time to erase that damage. To repair relationships with the people that stuck by us through our addiction, we must have the same amount of patience in their healing process as they did waiting for us to quit.

But days turned into months and months turned into years and recently years turned in a decade. Through that period of recovery, she saw me change, and she was able to begin healing also.

I know she still worries about me at times, because that is what moms do.  But not the kind of worry that keeps a mom up at night. 

And that look in her eyes in that picture?  I get to see that all the time now.