She graduated with one year of sobriety.
Our family has a history of drinking. Much of that history involves drinking way too much. It may have started before my great grandfather George, but he is the oldest family member I can think of that had the problem.
George was a clown. That isn't an insult. He was actually a professional clown by trade. Like painted face and prat falls. He had a larger than life personality from what I remember. Every room he entered felt a little smaller because his personality stretched from wall to wall. He loved to laugh loudly and tell jokes. He was also a mean, ornery drunk with a bit of a temper that didn't know the definition of too much.
In a lot of ways my mom and grandpa have both emulated his personality. You know when they're in a room. They have a joke for every situation and only one volume, loud. They also have a bit of a short fuse and have been known to fly off the handle at times. One thing that my mom also inherited is drinking.
I'm not going to go into all the tell-tale signs of her alcoholism because this post isn't about that. I just know there have been times that I was embarrassed of her drinking. There were times when I worried what she would do to herself. There were times when I was glad that my wife and children weren't around to witness some of her darker places.
One other character trait that has been passed down from generation to generation in our family is our hard-headedness and our absolute need to always be right. It can make some family functions seem like a war, but I'd like to think this has had a little bit to do with her success over the past year.
Now that she has come out the other side of a year of sobriety, I couldn't be more proud of her. Her graduation included her group talking all about how she inspired them. They talked about how big her personality is and how full of humor she is. They talked about how big her heart is. And I saw that in the relatively short time (compared to how long I've known her), they've recognized everything that I love about her.
I'll say the same thing here that I told her last night. I know that much of her humor, like mine, comes from how we deal with pain in our lives. It's our coping mechanism. I'm glad she has that to cope instead of alcohol. I'm glad she doesn't have to experience her grandchildren through a fog. I know she isn't perfect, but she also admits that and is always working on just bettering herself. And my daughters are lucky that they'll only really know the sober version of their grandma. They'll only see her as the loud, funny and admittedly crazy woman that so many people can't help but love.
I love my mom. I'm proud of all she's accomplished in this past year and all she'll accomplish from this point forward.