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
This is my first humble attempt at creating a youtube video with a bit of spiritual teaching and an original song. Surely we’ve all had questions for God. Please view gently – I’m just testing this out.
Last week I was feeling so happy and filled with gratitude that my boys had birthdays and are doing well. How is it that a week later, I’m feeling despondent? I’m filled with grief. Stress. Worry. I don’t expect it to last. But at this moment, as I’m writing, I’m deep in it. I miss my boys so much. In a way, I still feel like I’ve lost them.
They are at the age when it’s right for young men to move on from their parents and make their own lives. That’s not quite how it happened though, is it? They didn’t graduate high school and go to college and get a job out of town. I want to go back two years and erase it all and re-write the script and replay it the way it was supposed to be.
I feel selfish even writing this. There are parents out there who’s children are on the street or in hospitals or who have died. My boys are in recovery and they send me birthday cards, give me a call now and then.
I miss them. I miss them so much. And I miss being able to hug my daughter who is right here in this house with me but stopped letting me hug her after the whole addiction mess played out. So the boys are now 20 and 22, and my daughter went to prom last night and will graduate high school in a couple of months and won’t let me hug her. And here I am.
I guess I can be sad and grieving and grateful and blessed all at the same time. That’s it then. That’s what I am right now – all of those things. Figuring out how to be “One Mom Talking” all on my own. But, oh yes, you all are here. Thanks for that. Thanks for listening. God bless you.
So my last post was a mournful one. Self-pity. Whaddya gonna do?
This post is rejoiceful! My son, Dan, now 21 years old, completed his 1.5 year program in Recovery Court! Yesterday they had a court hearing for all the Recovery Court people. And when it was Dan’s turn, lo and behold, he was greeted by: his current judge, his original judge, his parole officer, his counselor, his NarAnon sponsor, the people who worked in the jail when he was there, even the prosecuting attorney. Even the judge’s clerk … and it was her day off. They all came to congratulate Dan on a job well done and to give testimony, on the record, of what an inspiration it has been to watch him grow and heal.
I wish I could have been there. But his dad was there, which is good. I’m tearing up just writing it.
In this case, for my boy, “The System” worked. The system I often railed against came through, partly because the program is a good one – a real example of the “it takes a village” philosophy. So I hope that program continues to be supported. But the program only works because of the people who run it. They did their jobs with heart, and they — plus the hand of God — saved my son’s life. And he has touched theirs as well.
I’ll write an official letter to someone there to express this, but I want to say it here: Thanks to all public officials who are in their positions for the right reasons, doing the best they can for everyday citizens. Whatever I end up owing the IRS…it’s nothing compared to the gratitude I owe to all the people who walked beside my son at a time when I had to walk away.
God bless us all.
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!
I only have a few minutes, but I did want to write about this: I had a knock-down, drag-’em-out, screamfest with my daughter two nights ago. I mean a cussing, yelling, door slamming, and crying kind of thing.
Finally, she opened up a bit. It hurt, but it was healthy. She told me, point blank, how I dropped the parenting-ball during the years when my boys were starting to party. She said that me and her dad both turned a blind eye to what was happening in our own homes – and in doing so, we failed her as parents. And we failed the boys too. She said that she raised herself during the years when it was worse. And then she said, “So check it out, Mom — this is me leaving the nest!!”
In the end though – like the story of grief I posted a couple of days ago – when it was all said and heard and understood – things were a little better. She gave me a real hug for the first time in a year. And we both agreed that if this type of interaction is necessary now and then for us to communicate honestly with each other about hard things, then it is. And we’ll get through it.
I’m sad for her, and for me, and for us. We’ve all lost a lot. And the truth is, she is right about what she’s saying. But she also has things to learn … about forgiveness, and the choice of love, and how families can heal. So we keep on walking.
One Mom Talking – signing off for today. Make it a good one!
This is a tough picture, huh?
I chose it because, to me, this is a picture of grieving. All the others I found were so … quiet. Calm. Thoughtful. A single teardrop falling from dark eyelashes. Two hands entwined in shared loss. A solitary person sitting on a mountain or beside a gravestone.
Sure, these all count. They are all responses to grief. But this picture — I think this picture is the real, raw, taking-back-my-freedom kind of grieving that we, in our feel-good culture have ignored for far too long. I believe our obsession with looking young and looking beautiful … our obsession with owning more and more and more … and our efforts to legislate ourselves into a safe little box – well, I believe they all stem from our inability to truly grieve loss.
We have lost the value of grieving. We are trying to live without it. Pretending we don’t need it. Or that the loss that triggers this grief can be controlled. The Bible talks about people wailing and tearing at their clothes in grief. That’s this picture.
I think perhaps our struggle with forgiveness is also connected to our incomprehension of grief. Sometimes hanging onto an injustice is actually all we know how to do — or it’s easier, maybe, than accepting the loss of something we thought we deserved.
I have allowed myself to grieve like this picture over the loss of my family, the loss of my dreams for how my children would grow up and what they would do, my helplessness to change the tragedies that have befallen us. And those times of grieving have been both painful and healing. All that energy would still be stored somewhere inside me if I didn’t let it out. All that energy would be stored inside me if I feared looking like this woman … letting happen on the outside what lied within.
No. Hiding and avoiding grief is not the answer. Letting it out is the answer.Because then it has no hold on us. Grief is a process and the outward act of grieving is the release of the energy of grief.
The result is a new peace, healing, and rest. Maybe I’m a little crazy. But maybe a little crazy grieving can go a long way. God bless!
I suppose 4AM is “this morning” (even though it still feels like night). Either way, here I am writing prayers. I received a call an hour ago from Mike – my Ex – that he received a call that Al is in the hospital – possible overdose. So much for my cell-phone-detachment bragging rights. We’ve had about four months of clean living in our family and I’m grateful for that. And we’ve done this drill before. Maybe I can approach it with some sense of serenity.
Anyway, over these months I’ve been writing Scripture-based prayers for all of my children, and in support of Al, I’m posting a couple of his here:
Psalm 42:5 “God, sometimes Al is discouraged. Sometimes he is sad. I pray that you guide him so that he puts his trust in you. So that he knows that you are his Savior and his God!”
Psalm 25:4-5 “Dear Lord, show Al the right path. Point out the right road for him to follow. Lead Al by your truth and teach him; for you are the God who saves him. All day long, may he put his trust in You.”
I join in prayer for all of you and your children. I’m going to try to go back to sleep, since right now, the best thing I can do is stay rested and well. May God’s peace be with you all.
Anyone remember this song that Joni Mitchell sang? “Years spin by and now the boy is twenty. though his dreams have lost some gradeur coming true…There’ll be new dreams – there’ll be better dreams, and plenty, before his last revolving year is through.”
Yes, the years are spinning by. And I’m so grateful! One boy is 19 and one boy is 21. And while their dreams might have lost some grandeur compared to those earlier, more innocent years of their lives, they are dreaming still. So grateful.
Since I’ve neglected this page for awhile, here’s an update: Dan is a manager now with the food chain he’s been working for. He works too many hours, and contemplates backing out of the job for that reason, but he’s not rushing his decision about it (which in itself is a major sign of maturity). He looks so great and I wish I could post his picture here because he’s such a strong and handsome young man!
Al is doing well too. He’s out of his halfway house and he’s living with a girl. I guess they’re not supposed to enter relationships so quickly (especially with someone else in recovery) but the two of them have made this decision. They attend meetings together and he helps her family with various chores and child care, and they’re helping him find work in the town he’s settled into. He’s very active in the recovery community and contacts me regularly. So…while I still have those occasional nights when I wake up with a heart of worry about him, I think he’s doing well.
My daughter has friends now, and a car, and we’re going to visit colleges this summer! Wow…my youngest has only one more year in high school.
I’m enjoying my nonprofit job, and getting along much better with my boss. So gratitude is the attitude of the day. And here’s the best thing: “Addict” is not the first thing I think of when I think of my boys now. I never thought this day would come. I know that we could find ourselves back in that someday. But right now, “there are new dreams, there are better dreams – and plenty…” God bless you all.