I once read that the stone which covered the entry to Jesus’ tomb would have weighed 1-2 tons. Let’s be cautious – let’s err on the light side and imagine it was just under one ton. Let’s, for the sake of argument, say it only weighed 1,750 pounds.
One thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds.
The effect of addiction on me, on my children, on my whole family…
on your child, on you, on your whole family…
this is the weight of a stone that we cannot roll away in our own strength.
Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest. 29
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. 30
For my yoke is easy
and my burden is
I haven’t done any formal research on this, but it seems to me that there is a pattern to creating public policy changes: It starts with telling our stories to whoever will listen. If you are anywhere near my age, you remember when the word “gay” or “homosexual” would rarely be spoken in a whisper. Now we have states passing gay marriage legislation. Why? Because brave people stood up and told their stories.
How about child abuse and sexual assault? I remember the days before the term “date rape” existed…days when people would barely say the word “sex” and any kind of talk about incest or sexual abuse or rape was hushed in families and communities as if speaking it would make it spread like a disease. Now we have laws prohibiting these crimes and, recently, commercials with celebrities speaking out against sex crimes. There’s a long way to go, but we’re making progress.
Same with drug use and abuse and dependencies. We’re learning. How many people have to die of heroin overdose before we all stand up and speak. We are learning. We are starting. And some laws and legal processes are changing – like “drug court” systems surrounding people with services for recovery rather than condemning them immediately to jail.
I’m not lecturing any one person to stand up to speak – because it all depends on where you are in the process whether that’s a role for you or not. I’m just bringing up the issue. People are learning and those of us who are ready and able can speak out.
Here’s the article that brought these thoughts to my mind. Take a look and see what you think. I’d love to hear your views: http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/addiction/lets-get-serious-about-treating-addiction
Blessings and prayers to all of you…
There are so many sayings about the past: “Put the past behind you.” “Don’t look behind you, you’re not going that way.” “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery.”
The one that rings most true to me right now is a quip that I don’t see often on facebook posts or memes: “The past is never where you think you left it.” (Katherine Ann Porter) I may need to read some of her essays and stories – I think she’s hit the nail on the head.
One of the most frustrating things about this addiction/recovery process – about the road paved by drugs and their users – is that it’s a path not easily erased and left behind. Even when a person has “ceased to be a prisoner of the past” and “continued moving forward one step at a time,” the past can appear without warning, rearing its head and proving that it is harder to dismiss than we want to believe.
Yesterday, one of my boys was arrested. Apparently, he had attempted to sell something to someone a couple of years ago…
I won’t print the details (as little as I know) at this point, but it involves small-town police building a case over years in an attempt to get to the bigger dealers. I get that. I want those people stopped too. But it’s hard to watch this young man who has been working hard to support himself and his family, to stay clean and live right … to walk the right path … have the past come and spin him around, sneering, “Though you could leave me behind did you?”
We say, “Let bygones be bygones.” It’s harder than it seems.
One mom talking. Can’t sleep. Thanks for being here. Much love and God’s peace to you all.
FOLLOW UP NOTE: Yes, all will be well. The system, hopefully, will work in favor of (a) stopping the flow of drugs and (b) supporting my son as he continues to build his life and raise his family. That’s the best possible outcome; that’s what we hope and pray for!
Recently, I applied to a job opening as an Addiction Recovery Specialist. In South Carolina, there is a certification for this specialty – which I do not have yet. But I thought that my coaching certification combined with my personal experience might make me a good candidate for the job. I’m interested in helping people get healthy. I’m interested in educating the public about drugs and families and recovery. Where do you turn when all those efforts you made as a parent to avoid this experience slip through your fingers and here you are … wanting to wake from what feels like a nightmare?
I want to tell you there is HOPE! As long as there is breath, there is hope! For me, my first focus was the health of my child. And the next focus was education for me and my child. And amidst it all – a constant focus on God and faith.
Every now and then, I spend some time on Google looking for new information or resources. Recently, I came across a recovery center called, “Advanced Health and Education.” Well – isn’t that on target! Advanced Health and Education has a truly holistic approach to recovery which seems to be increasingly popular these days – for good reason. Most of us have learned that recovery is about more than just resisting cravings. It’s about rebuilding and redefining an entire healthy lifestyle for both the addict and the family.
In the west – states like Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Arizona – I have had excellent experiences with the Valley Hope treatment centers. They have gone above and beyond in providing service not only to their patients, but to families as well – on the personal side as well as making treatment financially viable.
Now that I live on the East Coast, I’m snooping into what’s available here. I have a friend who recently went to New Jersey for treatment. New Jersey drug and alcohol treatment centers abound, but I’m interested to know how many have the comprehensive type of program offered by Advanced Health and Education. If you are located in the NY/NJ area – a good resource for New Jersey addiction treatment centers can be found here: http://drugabuse.com/usa/drug-abuse/new-jersey/. For New York (and other states), look here: http://www.recovery.org/browse/new-york/.
I want to follow the lead of Advanced Health and Education by advocating their example of treating the whole person – I’d even say, the whole family. What should our next steps so that all treatment facilities – from California drug treatment centers to NJ drug treatment centers and everything in between, above and below, continually improve and provide excellent healing service to addicts and to us? How can we help? What can I do to make a difference?
In response to the recent death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, there’s been debate over whether addiction is selfish or, perhaps, guiltless. Today I came across a poem I wrote years ago with that title, “Guiltless.” I thought I’d post it. I’m not sure if it’s relevant, but I’ll share and let you decide.
On that night when my heart hurts —
when I can’t think of anything to say,
the world moves forward outside my window
where the mesa stands strong and the people look
content and carefree in my thoughtless and empty sight…
On that night the stars still shine
and the moon still sets its glow over the city
while I worry about the words I said to you.
I wish I was the leaf.
I wish I was the river.
I wish was a field of purple aster
or a dangling bat wrapped safe in the cape
of my own wings.
The fox and the cat wander the same midnight road.
They pounce. They screech.
One eats, lies down and sleeps
full and deep.
Hindsight is always 20/20 – or so they say. But whoever made up that quip … I don’t think they had an addict in the house. Looking back doesn’t really make it any clearer.
Recently, a friend told me that she read this whole blog; so I decided to come back here and read it myself from the start. I has been a few years and I was wondering what I would think. I tried reading as if I was a stranger to the story, which wasn’t very hard to do. I felt like I was a stranger to the story!
Here are some things I noticed:
- The child who was in the most trouble (or causing the most heartache) got all the press – with only a few exceptions.
- Insomnia inspires blogging.
- Drug addiction sucks – for everyone in the family.
- I was in some real denial even when I thought I had stopped being in denial.
- This place and all of you here in blogland helped me preserve some sanity. Thank you.
- My journey really has been God-centered.
- The severity of the crisis made it seem (to me, at the time) like all this addiction stuff had been going on for years, when it was only one year from when I discovered the problem to when I chose to move away. (That left me feeling bad; like I gave up too soon – but I let that go quickly too).
- I have so much to be grateful for.
Another popular saying: “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” Good advice. There’s nothing I (we) can do about the past. Eyes straight ahead – forward, march!
You’ve heard of “peace and quiet.” I suggest we change the phrase to “peace and now.” Now is quiet – maybe not outside of us, but internally…spiritually. At the core of who we truly are, now is silent and cannot be altered.
Sounds too easy? It is and it’s not. I’m reading Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now,” and I’m in a section toward the back of the book titled, “Give Up the Relationship with Yourself.” What? Isn’t our recovery about RECOVERING our own relationship with ourselves. It’s the same thing. Just roll with it for a minute and I’ll do my best to explain.
It’s this idea: “If you develop a sense of identity based on your [victimhood, loss, recovering-parenthood, etc.] you have escaped one trap only to fall into another.” (That’s a direct quote from the book except for the parens). This is because any identity other than your pure essence (some might say “God”) is frought with some earthly or ego-centered frailty at one point or another.
Here’s the peace in NOW: Right now I am this breathing body filled with the spirit of life. If, tomorrow, I experience a trauma and my mind/body experiences intense pain of some sort or another, at any given moment I am still this breathing body filled with the spirit of life. What I’m trying to get to is this question (which we’ve discussed before in a different context): How do you identify yourself? I’m thinking that the answer to this question begins any person’s true recovery.
I’m really just thinking through this “out loud” here on this screen. But I’m experiencing access to an always-accessible quiet of “Peace and Now” lately. And this time it’s not just because my boys are in full recovery – because one of them had a relapse recently. He had a relapse and I started to re-identify with my “parent-of-addict-filled-with-fear-and-worry” self again. But I was reading this book, and I find I’m changing a bit in my ability to … as A Course in Miracles says … “See things differently.”
Please know I’m not lecturing or making light of where you are, what you’ve been through, or what you’re feeling. I’m just sharing an idea that might help others as it’s helping me today. Right now. God bless you.
Posted in Addict Child, Addiction, Codependency, Healing, Hope, Parent of addict, Recovering Child, Recovery, Relapse, Spiritual Growth, Support Community, The Ongoing Story, Uncategorized, Women