Category Archives: Hope

Every Day = New Years Day

Happy New Year, everyone.  I sincerely hope that 2011 brings healing, spiritual renewal, and a deep sense of serenity into your lives and the lives of those you love.

As much as I want to detest 2010 (as if a time period has meaning and character all its own), today I gratefully report that 2010 ends (and 2011 begins) with both of my boys in recovery.  I do feel deeply grateful.  I’d like to say that I feel Joyful — but that would be dishonest. 

My melancholy comes partly from needing more time to trust the recovery my sons have committed to, and partly from my own continued need to heal from the addiction that turned our family upside down … and moreso, my daughter’s need to heal, which she has yet to acknowledge.  We have an appointment for a mental health evaluation on January 4.  I am grateful for that.  I’ve been out of work since July and we have no insurance.  Luckily the county we are in has this program for high school students, and so we are getting hooked in. 

All this to say that this year, I take “New Years Day” with a grain of salt.  I’ve returned to Al Anon (which I didn’t do much of last year) and what I’m learning is that every day is New Years Day.  Every day is an opportunity to accomplish whatever we can, to be the best we can be, to encourage those we love, to start over if we’ve erred, to find gratitude, to love ourselves, to pray for a new start. 

During 2010, I spent a lot of time trying to decide who is sick and who is well and who is responsible for what … I’ve let that all go.  On this fun date of 1/1/11, for today, I’m not playing the blame game.  I’m not going to try to analyze my daughter.  I’m not going to try to analyze myself.  I’m going to tell all my children I love them, bake some corn bread, take down the Christmas decorations, and rest.  

One of my Al Anon friends gave me this prayer:  “God, bless [him, her, them] and change me.”   I’m going to stop being like Calvin in this comic, and admit my need for change.  This is my prayer today.

Every day is New Years Day.  Thanks for being here, everyone.  You true blessings in my life, whatever the date may be.

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Rebirth

 This is a photo I took here in South Carolina.  My new home.  It is a symbol, though, of all rebirth for me and my family.  Especially for Dan.

The bigget news:  Dan gave his life to Christ after being ministered to in jail by a visiting Bible Study leader.  Now, he is out on probation living with his dad.  He’s been clean (except for one slip) since May.  But clean now for 28 days outside of jail, by his own choice and because – he will tell you – of the power of God that lives in him.  He reads the bible daily, goes to church, meets weekly with the pastor, and has met a group of students from a local college who meet for study and fellowship together.  PRAISE GOD!! 

I am not allowed to talk to Dan on the phone, or to visit him in person.  The restraining order set in place back in May is still in effect.  The judge won’t lift it until I am able to go to Colorado and meet with her in court.  I don’t know when that will happen.  But I am sure it will happen exactly when it’s supposed to.  In the meantime, Dan and I write letters to each other.  It’s a wonderful, underused way of communication.  He can tell me about his life, uninterrupted, and I can do the same.  We are getting to know each other in a way we might not have otherwise. 

He says, “Mom, I am growing up now.  And you have your own journey.  Do what you need to do.  I love you!”  What more could a mother ask for?

The Long Road Home

A fellow Blogger, whose sister struggles with opiate addiction, recently reflected on her own history of drug use.  It got me thinking.  I feel so far removed from those days, having walked that long road home a long time ago.

I didn’t use the hard drugs, I tend to say.  Truth is, I didn’t use them very often.  And I never touched a needle, never smoked crack, never went near heroine.  But that doesn’t make me better than anyone who has.

I drank, heavily, almost every night.  And I smoked pot as early as 7:30AM on the ferry ride to Manhattan…on lunch break…on the ferry home…and again that night.  Here and there I tried other drugs as well, mostly in those college years.

Here’s the best timeline, as far as my memory will take me:

  • Had my first drink at a friend’s Sweet 16 pary.  I was almost 17 at the time.  I didn’t get heavy into drinking for awhile.
  • Started smoking pot and drinking more heavily the summer after I graduated high school.  Toward the end of that summer, I was the victim of a violent crime, and that pushed me over the edge, I think, from occasional use of marijuana and alcohol, to regular abuse — as ways to block the pain.
  • I was introduced to “Magic Mushrooms” — hallucinogenics — in freshman year of college.
  • Summer after that: speed, hash, and cocaine.
  • Second year of college brought acid … LSD.  This was the 70s.  It’s what we had.  I found it interesting, but scary, and only tried it three times total.

I didn’t use any of these drugs frequently, and my experimentation lasted only a few years, total.  I was too afraid — and rightly so.  I felt like I was already on the edge of sanity in those years and had no desire to push myself beyond that point.   The alcohol was the hardest to kick, many, many years later.  Now, I have one or two drinks once or twice a week.  Sometimes less.  Never more. 

The difference between me and my addict son?  Maybe a chromosome?  Some random difference in brain chemistry?  I’m sorry he is an addict.  I’m sorry he has such a long road home.  I found my way.  I try to have faith that he’ll find his.

Grace

I really have so much to update and will not do that at this time.  It’s 6AM and I need to shower and go to work. 

I will tell you that I have been feeling guilty lately because I’m moving forward with my life and spend less and less time in “mother of addict” mode.  Does this mean I’m denying reality?  Don’t know.  Dan’s been in jail for months now.  I saw him Friday and he looks good.  I cried when I saw him.  He cried too…well, almost.  I saw tears in his eyes. 

Anyway, I had been feeling guilty about not visiting him enough, about actually going forward with the move (five weeks), about not trying to help him define his next step, etc.  And then in church yesterday, we saw this U2 video.  It settled my heart a bit.  Perhaps it will serve you as well.  God Bless!

I Claim Peace

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

  • It is well, with my soul,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well
With my soul.
It is well; It is well with my soul!

I Hugged My Boy Today!

Well, “Boy” of course is a relative term. He’s so tall. But I was at a local shopping center and there was Dan. Gosh, he was filthy. But he smiled and gave me a great big hug. That made me very glad. I told him that I would be home tomorrow, and that if he wanted to come by the house to take a shower, I’d run his clothes through the washing machine and make him a meal. He said yes, he’d like that (we’ll see). He asked if his friend could come but I had to say no. I’ve known that particular friend for a long time and don’t trust him for a minute. (I love him, but I don’t trust him, you know?)

That was a gift. It’s funny because I ran into all kinds of interruptions trying to get to the store. Perhaps there was a reason. A little Angel bringing me and Dan together for a few good moments between mother and son. Thanks, God!

“Hope” — a poem

I have a kinship with poet Emily Dickinson.  Here’s one of her pieces on HOPE.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

by Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

 

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

 

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.