I am a talker. I simply talk too much. The twelve steps and the practice of them teach us that in order to restore ourselves to sanity that we have to turn our will over to our higher power. I can easily accept that "concept". But, really, how do we put that into practice every day? These 12 steps are so amazing to me. If you haven't been exposed to them, you should check them out. You do not have to be an addict to need the 12 steps. You don't even have to be a family member of an addict to use them. To me, they apply to everyone. They can apply to any situation. Bottom line here, we are simply not and have never been in control. The reason that I live in my particular situation today is the direct result of my talking and not listening to the will of God.
So, just how do we listen? I'm so particularly inept at this skill that I looked up the definition of the word listen. The verb to listen is to give attention with the ear, to attend closely for the purpose of hearing, to give ear. Lastly, it says to pay attention, to heed and obey. Ok, I usually hear what is being said but to heed and obey when it's not my idea.....well....that's where the rubber meets the road.
One of my very favorite movies is an older one with Salma Hayek, called Fools Rush In. She was a very devout catholic who believed that God gave us signs and they were everywhere. Her husband who was less grounded in his faith didn't really believe that. But, as time passed he came to believe because he started to notice. He started to feel that this was too orchestrated to be coincidental. He started to trust.
So, I've been a lousy listener. Pig headed, wanting my way not God's way. I'd like the easy, less painful way that is my idea with a side of I want it right now, thank you very much. Well, my way, my vision have been just lousy. Easy didn't make the real issue go away. Ignoring the signs, the intuitions, being too fearful to really look the devil in the eye just haven't worked. So, now Lord you have my attention. I am willing to listen.
Guess what, there are signs everywhere! Who would have thunk? In family group night of my son's intensive outpatient therapy, you can listen and find nuggets of truth everywhere. Tiny messages meant to hit home with other members of the group, a perspective not yet considered, a life line, hope, compassion and understanding of what you are going through. I think I just needed to have my eyes opened.
There is one mom there that I have really connected to. Her son also attended rehab with mine. Her son is married and his wife also attends. They are a wonderful family. She made a comment one night, that really hit home for me. She always knew that her son shared many of her attributes. For example, she mentioned that they were both procrastinators. She felt that because they shared so many qualities that her expectation of the way that he reacted to situations, the way he thought about things and the choices he made should be much like the choices that she would have made. She had to realize that he was not her. She had to stop getting upset when he didn't react the way she would have. It didn't make it wrong, just uniquely him. That was me. I expected my son to react like me and when he didn't it couldn't possibly be normal. I am the poster child for normal, right? Boy when you type out your real honest to goodness thoughts, it becomes painfully evident just how big a fool you really are. Thomas Merton said that, "The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves and not to twist them to fit our own image."
My son recently decided that maybe a half way house would be an environment that could better serve him during the early part of this journey. I recoiled at the thought of this idea. I couldn't keep my eye on him. Those folks couldn't possibly care about his well being like I could, but, I listened to him, REALLY, listened for a change. Mom, he says, it is here with you guys that I got high. It is in this area where I can't get out of the people, places and things that I used to do. It is with other people going through recovery that I can learn. I need to learn to take care of myself for a change. I need to be on my own to learn to be on my own. This is a safe place to start. His counselor agrees. He made a great argument. I have to say that I agree with him. I'm a little impressed by him. I could not have seen this perspective if I hadn't listened and a few months back, I probably wouldn't have heard anything outside my thoughts and ideas.