Mom's fix things. It's in the handbook, right? They cried, we fed them, changed them, rocked them. They got bumps, scrapes and bruises, we hugged them, bandaged them and told them that they'd be alright. Problems with homework, friends, or the mean kids, we tutored, counseled and gave the "they really aren't your friends" speech. Now, we've hit the big problems in life. Drug addiction and the life that has been missed out on due to drug addiction, have left a wake of problems. As Mom, I think I could pull out my trusty notepad, make a list, and have a plan of action in no time flat. There could be order to this madness. We could be on the road to recovery.....only now, it's not "we", it's him.....it's HIS problem. I can't fix his problems. I'm really not doing a very good job of fixing my problems these days.
My new friends at Al-anon are so unusual and wonderful. They don't really directly give me advice. There isn't supposed to be a lot of direct cross talk. This is really hard for me. But, it really makes sense. If people aren't telling you what to do and you are just sitting back taking things in.....you have to fix it yourself. This is exactly what we need to do and what our addicted loved one needs to do. It is just so hard to let them do it. After all look at the decisions they've made up to now. It's hard to trust that they can or will do it. What it they don't do the right thing? Then THEY will just have to learn from that mistake. In the past I might have swooped in to make sure that they didn't have to deal with the ramifications of their actions. Now I know that I will just have to sit back and watch or I will only keep helping them to be led to an even bigger fall.
Stephan Covey, the author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, told the story about his son in the early years of school. He wasn't doing especially well in school and was kind of awkward so he and his wife decided to help him out. They eventually realized that the message that this was sending was that he couldn't do it himself. So, they backed off, didn't help with friends or homework and little by little he started to bloom all on his own in his own time. It is so hard to sit back and watch all the stumbling until a bloom appears, especially a recovering addict who in the past, never failed to disappoint.
Have I mentioned before, just how hard it is for me to NOT talk, advise, counsel....(interfere)? As one of the ladies at my meeting says, "I have some really good ideas!" But, I have no control, I have no control, I have no control.....So, I am trying so very hard to not talk. The same lady with all of the really good ideas....does in fact have a good idea...."Oh!" That's it, oh. When you start to open your mouth just stop yourself with oh. There is no advice or judgement in oh. It's just a clever way to disguise the fact that you've just opened your mouth to do the usual but it's just right for any situation. My best friend and I discussed various code words to stop ourselves. We've come up with a few. One (so that we can empathize) is I'm so sorry. One, if you don't really understand is, Is that right? Or Oh! or Oh? can serve you very well.
Today, my prayer is for the faith to shut my mouth and give the gift of trust in my loved ones to care for themselves. It is for the courage and discernment for my son as he learns to care for himself. It is a prayer of thanksgiving to all those that walk this journey and the journey of motherhood alongside me and for our ability to hear God's will for us today. As always a prayer for my Henry or yours as I think that we all have one.