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Strength My Mother Gave Me This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.


I glance around at everyone confidently breezing through the handout, so sure of their answers. I complete the first portion with ease, filling out my extra-curricular activities and grades in prerequisite courses. “Question 3: Is there anything I should know about you?” My brain is overwhelmed with thousands of things that I do not attempt to fit on the pair of lines allotted for my answer. I routinely strike out the portion labeled “Mother's Information” and squeeze “grandmother” in the margin.

I rush through the remainder of my personal information sheet, and estimate a few minutes of quality daydreaming. I open a book to appear to be reading, allowing my mind to drift far beyond the boundaries of my cold and quiet classroom. Time rewinds and I am transported to a familiar setting.

I perch on the back of my couch, with my cheek numbed by the cold window as I wait for my mother. The day is fleeing, and I am told it is time to go to sleep. I am embarrassed for thinking it would be different this time, but my gut pleads with me “just a few more minutes.” I wake up to my worst enemy: the flashing red light on the voicemail. That was her signature.

This escape is short-lived. The last of my classmates have turned in their papers. I make an effort
to join in a discussion of Beowulf, but can't stay ­focused. My mind continues to be consumed by the flashback. How had it been so easy for the rest of my family to give up on her, and why wouldn't my heart let me?

My mother's addiction ripped my family to shreds. I hated her disease, but I could not hate her. My love for her was more powerful than any drug. I promised myself that I would fight for her despite my family's disapproval. I was not going to let our relationship fall victim to her addiction along with so much else.

The past eighteen years have been a roller coaster ride, but I have no intention of getting off. This past summer, after one of my mother's worst relapses, her chances of survival seemed doubtful. I spent my summer believing it would be my last with her, and her recovery was nothing short of a miracle. God gave her a second chance the way I had countless times. On the six-month anniversary of her sobriety, she credited me with giving her the power to get sober at her ­Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. She asked me how I stood behind her all those years and finally, I realized why. I will ­always have faith in the people I love, and I will always have faith in myself. I am more powerful than my circumstances, and I will not let them define me.

I used to think my inability to let go of my mother was my biggest weakness, but I have learned it is quite the opposite. It is said that the greatest strength is the power to keep fighting when everyone expects you to give up. This is the strength my mother has given me.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the November 2013 Teen Ink Nonfiction Contest.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

Erin K. said...
today at 10:50 am:
i really liked this article because i can relate to what happened and how your mom was addicted my uncle mark was the same way and is still like that. But mine didnt die so im so sorry for your lost and im happy that you became a stronger person and the story really touched me. i also hope that your doing okay .
 
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Al07 said...
Nov. 15, 2012 at 12:08 am:
Very confusing and disorganized.
 
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