This week will be our final week of Intensive Outpatient Family Group. I will miss it. On this final night, each of our family members have a sheet to fill out which states the feelings we have when our loved one does a certain thing and another which we list our regrets,requests and appreciations. My son has the very same sheet. He will sit in the middle of the room across from each member of our family while we exchange these very personal feelings in front of all of the other families. This is a nerve wracking and very therapeutic exercise that I both dread and look forward to. In many ways this is a lot like going to confession. While there is no absolution, those frightening thoughts and feelings are pulled out of the dark and into the light where they can be better understood.
Al-Anon teaches that we did not cause this, can't control this and can't cure this. I have had a constant struggle with the first "c". I have felt very responsible. This is my son, my responsibility. After much mental wrestling with this idea, I have come to the conclusion that I did not cause him to be a physically addicted individual. But, I also know that my priorities during his formative years were in the wrong order. I worried more over his grades and how I thought he was perceived by others than I was about how safe he felt, how secure he felt, how grounded he felt by the love of his parents, that he knew what a marvelous person he was. For this, I desperately need to go to confession. My self centered pride and fear took over how I treated my son more than my love for him. I have known that I've needed to go to confession since this all began, but I have been frozen and unable to act on this need.
Last night, my husband and I went to the movies to see Robert Duvall in the movie, Get Low. Without giving away too much, this was a movie about an older man who had done something he shouldn't have that ultimately caused something devastating. He was so shaken and unable to face the world to confess his sins before man and God that he became a recluse for 40 yrs. He received word that a friend had died and decided that he'd buy himself a funeral. But, he wanted to be there. Initially he wanted the townsfolk to tell stories that they thought they knew about him, but later it was really his story that he wanted told but he didn't have the courage to do it himself. He wanted another minister to do it for him. This very wise minister knew that he needed to do it himself and he refused. In the end, Duvall's character gets up to tell his story. He admits to the sin he had committed and starts to describe the devastating act that occurred but not at his hand. He admits that while he didn't do this, that in the middle of this horrible act, that he realized that he caused this by not doing the right thing to begin with. He admits that it could have been so different if he'd never done the wrong that he'd done. That was such a poignant story. It is my story. I did not ask him to experiment with drugs. But, why didn't I help him to see the marvelous individual he was so that he wouldn't need anything else to make him feel good. Faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love. Simple, simple, simple but I did not listen. My confession starts before man today and before God tomorrow. Today my prayer is for the courage to have a good confession and as always for Henry.