The Twelve Days of Christmas – One Mom style, with many thanks
On the twelfth day of Christmas my children gave to me…
Twelve prayers answered,
Eleven years of therapy,
Ten gifts bought with their own money,
Nine brand new friends,
Eight college credits,
Seven hugs for Mama,
Six job applications,
Five straight good nights’ sleep!
Four of us in church,
Three siblings laughing,
Two new family members,
And the blessing of their sobriety!
I cannot believe that I get to spend this Christmas with all of my children! My boys are doing so well, my son’s girlfriend is also doing great and taking care of herself and my grand-baby-to-be… I have so much to be thankful for. So to you all – those who share a season of blessings and those who are in the midst of the darkness that addiction can bring – I send you my prayers and my love. Keep on living. You are not alone. We’re in this together. God bless!
Here I am, living a good life. Troubles here and there – sure. But no crises at the moment. Daily beach walks. New friends. A (generally) peaceful household. A part-time job in my field of expertise. Friends and family visiting now and then. A good life!
This morning, I realized one thing that I seem to have misplaced: Silliness!! Where are all the silly people? Where’s the silly girl in me? Ha – I’m not complaining. Just smiling and thinking that it’s time to work some goofy fun into my life again.
What’s the silliest thing you’ve done lately?
“The successful person has the habit of doing things failures don’t like to do, they don’t like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.” – E.M. Gray
Interesting. I have just entered the field of real estate sales in South Carolina. My sales coach used this quote at the very beginning of training session #1 as he explained the difference between the 10% of salespeople who make 90% of the sales – and everybody else.
Today, I found this same quote opening an article on addiction management. This confirms for me something I’ve become to realize: the formula for success is very much the same, whatever your goal, and whatever your psychological condition. Overweight due to inactivity? Get up and exercise. Lonely due to shyness? Go out to social events. Not making enough sales? Call that list of contacts you feel too nervous to call. Experienced an addiction relapse? [fill in the blank]
This is not to make light of any of these things. Some surely are easier than others. But the underlying theory is the same — hence the quote showing up in my life in two very different contexts.
Below is a link to an article that helped me frame my thinking about relapse. This article, and the site overall, is worth your time. Please take a look and tell me what you think! God bless!
Preventing Relapse | Addiction Management.
This week I’ve been pondering an import topic that doesn’t get enough attention: the struggles of siblings of addicts. There has been some research, and I started to look up a few things, but I think it will take awhile to put a decent article together. I do recall learning that the siblings – especially (but not exclusively) younger siblings – often enter adulthood with lasting trauma because they do not get the help and attention they need to deal with their issues in relation to the addiction.
This is playing out in my house now. My daughter, Lynn (I think that’s the name I’m using for her – I’ve changed everyone’s names here) … anyway, Lynn has been having a very hard time. As some of you know, we moved 1800 miles away from her brothers to give her a chance to finish high school away from the addiction chaos. Since we’ve moved, she’s become more withdrawn, angry, doesn’t sleep, doesn’t eat well, and missed four days of school because I couldn’t get her out of bed.
It took three months, but I finally got her to agree to counseling. After two sessions, I already see an improvement. She really needed someone outside the family to help her sort things out. I doubt if they’ve gotten close to the deeper issues, but I’m confident that this will bring her to a better place in herself, where she can begin to deal with the deep stress that comes with having brothers who are addicts. She loves them deeply, and is afraid of losing them, and yet is angry as well, at them, at me and her dad … it’s a lot for a young girl in the prime of adolescence!
The other reason I write this is that there’s another blogger who’s sister is a heroin addict (http://worksaside.com). It’s difficult to comprehend the sadness of a sister who has to accept her sister’s addiction. I’m going to visit my sister for Thanksgiving and I know how grateful I am for her. And so I’m just caught up today in the emotional journey that siblings have to take as a result of this tragic twist of fate.
I have no conclusion right now. I just wanted to share the thoughts. Thanks for being here.
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.
Oh yes, I mean this literally and figuratively. Not meaning to take His name in vein or anything but My Son Dan Starts Training For His New Job Today and all I can say is “THANK GOD!!” Seriously, I am truly grateful. This is an important step for my son in his recovery. It will (a) give him something to do with his days, (b) provide him with money so he can do other things he’s interested in and/or go back to school, (c) build his self-esteem as he succeeds in his tasks. It’s a starter job, no doubt — that’s just fine. He was afraid that he would not be hired since he is dealing with some legal issues. But apparently he passed his drug test (YAY) and now he is employed!
And while I’m on the subject of thankfulness, if you’re ever feeling down, just do a google search for “Thankful” — either a site search or images. There are many blogs and websites dedicated to gratitude and they are all quite cheery.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. Do you ever get tired of decisionmaking? Sheesh.
This is a heavy topic for me right now because I’m stuck in a state of indecision … because I feel like this particular decision holds heavy weight for many people. I expect the truth is that it holds heavy weight for me. I don’t have a clear perspective. I’m a recovering codependent — used to thinking that my decisions have the ability to keep things together…or break them apart not only for me, but for those close to me as well.
What’s this all about? A move. I want to move. We’re not talking two towns over or even to a neighboring state. I want to move almost 2000 miles from my current location back to where my mom and dad and sister and cousins and other friends live. I want to be on the coast, at the ocean’s edge. The place on this earth that my heart cries for. I want to move there with my daughter, who wants to be near the women in the family and who yearns for a new beginning after a couple of very difficult years. I want this.
I want to be near my mother as she ages but while she’s still vibrantly alive. I don’t want to wait until the doctor calls and suggests I come take care of my mother on her deathbed. I don’t want to wait for that.
And yet … my boys are 18 and 20 — not so independent yet. Especially Dan, who is doing great in recovery so far. Three weeks out of rehab and still clean. A job pending. Court appearances still to come. Al, 18, his life on solid ground for the first time in a long time. He could actually join in the move or not, but Dan has no choice because of court. He cannot move, probably for a year or two. He would have to stay back with this dad. And when I talked with him he said, “Don’t move away! I already have no friends…” (He can’t socialize with his old friends due to their partying and his addiction). “I can’t imagine you not being close by!”
And on top of that my job — where I finally have a boss who is teaching me and encouraging me and helping me to grow in our business and become more of the leader I want to be.
Here I am. Stuck. Trying to think of a way to make everybody happy and to move forward without any negative consequence. Or to stay put … again … so that I will not bear the responsibility of initiating potentially hurtful change. But in that, sacrificing my own yearning. And my mother’s. And my daughter’s.
Ah yes — awake at 4AM and singing, “Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right. Here I am: Stuck in the middle with you.”