I really enjoyed writing last week’s blog. I had quite a tough week with work last week so being able to pen something like that was a really positive experience. Being able to express myself on this platform is a great release and coupled with my other methods of therapy, I believe this to be a very positive thing for me to keep doing week after week. I said from the outset this blog was for me and my pathway in recovery but being able to help anyone along the way is a fantastic bonus on top. I am still overwhelmed by the kind response to Sobering Thoughts and enjoy talking about it to anyone who is interested. The focus last week was on my dad. In typical Simon (Denton) fashion, the review I got which normally comes on the day after I post was, “I read your blog…. very interesting”. I took that as a five-star review understanding the subtle undertones of appreciation that can sometimes be lost on others.

This week, it’s my mums turn. Lucky her. Mum is the correct shortened version of mother. Not mam, she isn’t a high-ranking female police officer. Although, every year I write that on her birthday card as she really enjoys it… You can call your mum mam if you want to, I’m just messing. My mum is a terrific woman. Very caring, considerate and has always been there for me throughout my struggles. Without going into too much personal detail she had a difficult upbringing being estranged from her parents until her late teens when she reconnected with my grandad. I think it would have been perfectly normal to have accepted that some of this experience could have affected her own parenting skills. But it didn’t, far from it. She has been everything that her mother and father weren’t to me and my two brothers. Yes of course, there have been some up and down times as I alluded to in my last piece but overall, my mother is an excellent parent, and I am very lucky to say that. She now enjoys being called Granny with her two grandchildren adoring their time with her. I have only recently come to understand why your parents become such doting grandparents. They are effectively getting to relive their lives again enjoying the best parts of being parents but without the day-to-day hassle and drain us kids put on them. I have only come to realise this since seeing my nephews come into our family. Makes total sense now.

After my parents separated and eventually divorced, I lived with my mum. She had to take up the role of being the ‘nagging’ parent making sure I was doing my schoolwork on time and not lying-in bed all day at that age when all you want to do is that. Evaluating this time now again as an adult, I was very fortunate to have this. I am talking about experiences with my parents and family that not all children get to have. I appreciate that more now as an adult than I did then. I probably made things hard at times, actually not probably I know I did when I was an adolescent.

Like my dad, my mum has been there to witness a lot of my fuck ups. I have kept some hidden from her probably not wanting to let her down or disappoint her. For instance, she only found out about me being arrested (see earlier blog for context) a few years ago. I can’t remember how she found out. I should really ask her. I said last week that I always turned to my dad for help in difficult situations, and that is true. That’s not to say I couldn’t have counted on mum. She would have helped as much as she could I am sure of it. I have always felt like I could talk to her about most things, even very personal details about relationships or difficulties I may be having with work. I recall that when I was going through a very bad patch in my first job, she would always be the person I would talk to the most for advice. I have always felt like my mum has had faith in my abilities, when I have struggled to maintain the confidence, I have needed to succeed whether it was at school, university or in the workplace she has always been there to tell me I could do it and to never stop trying. Whatever limited success I have had, academically or outside of education I would attribute a lot of that to my mum.  

I don’t think my mum knew I had a drinking problem. She has seen me drink but as I have alluded to in other blogs, but I got good at hiding this from everyone. I think of my mum as a fixer, she always wants to find a solution to a problem. Whenever I have an issue, she is always offering advice on how best I can sort myself out. I am not always receptive to this and have sometimes been dismissive to her trying to help. That is the only thing she is trying to do. Help. When I was feeling at my lowest point last year, I think my mum realised that she couldn’t fix that, and I can imagine it was hard for her to try and process. I don’t know whether she has ever felt that way herself, I hope she hasn’t, but I know for a fact she has had a complicated life which has not always been easy. She’s had to bring me up for a start, that’s bad enough for anyone to have to deal with.

I have chosen a Simply Red song title as the sound of Mick Hucknall’s voice is etched into my memory with my mum playing his songs on repeat throughout my childhood. I actually like Simply Red now, I think she brainwashed me from an early age. The song is set in a moment of time, specifically for the narrator, where he is on the verge of leaving his tumultuous teenage life behind. But it also describes an absentee mother and the person having issues with their dad. Possibly resonates with my mum more than I ever realised.

I usually finish with a conclusion befitting of the piece I have just written but I will simply just say mam, I love you and thank you for everything you have done for me.

Thanks again for reading.

Nick Denton

Sobering Thoughts