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?
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
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.
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!
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.