Have you ever considered yourself a snob? I have always considered myself a fairly friendly gal. I felt like I was fairly open minded. I have been taught that addiction is a family disease. You will hear me say this over and over again. This is because it is so astonishing to me. It isn't JUST the addict that is sick. The family is sick. We're sick not just because of the effects of the addicts lifestyle, but because of OUR lifestyle. Which comes first the chicken or the egg? I don't know. We are sick because we have lived inside of the tornado of each other's problems. We are sick because of fear, insecurity and a lack of acceptance. We are sick because we don't understand that the only small bit of control we might have is in the control over our own decisions.
I am a snob. I realize that today. It is so very foolish to be a snob. Part of the denial regarding my son's addiction is that I felt that this couldn't happen to someone who took her kids to church and taught the dangers of drug use. I couldn't possibly be one of those parents that it happened right under their noses. I would know. THEY must not have been paying attention. Wonder shy you (ME) can have such an elitists' attitudes? When I first took my son to rehab, I figured that we'd be different somehow than the others. When I went for the first time to family group at intensive outpatient, I thought I'd be different. At my first Al-anon meeting, again, this slow learner thought she'd be different. What a fool I am and why? Why would I assume that I am different/better? What could possibly constitute that feeling? I am a child of God. So are they. I was not destined to anything special outside of what God planned for me to do. I'm not special in the sense that I am automatically, by the grace of God, immune to life's difficulties. I am not special because I went to college or drive a nice car or go to church. I am not special because I work hard and hate what drugs and alcohol do to people and their families. I will only be special if I respond to life's problems in the way God intends for me to.
The people that I've experienced in this new journey have been wonderful. They are so very normal everyday kids, adults, moms and dads, husbands and wives and friends. They are struggling and working very hard to turn things around. Yes, I've met a few who don't really seem to be honestly making a change, but MOST are in this to win this. They are people like me, learning how to be stark naked honest because that is the only way to heal. They are people who are overcoming such huge obstacles and doing it with great grace. The rehab center my son used, employed only recovering addicts. This includes all the folks in the financial office, the cafeteria workers, janitors, counselors, nurses and doctors. Now if that isn't hopeful, I don't know what is. The leader of my Al-anon group teaches female inmates in the local jail to sew. The psychiatrist we've started using, was a high school dropout. Now, she is a medical doctor. My son knew one friend from high school, one college friend and one person from work in rehab. He roomed with a young man from his grandfather's hometown over 100 miles away. This disease lands everywhere and with anyone. I see that now.
What needs to be seen is that this disease does NOT define them or their families. None of us are perfect and thinking that we should somehow be is a very defeating attitude to have. It just can't be done. I am now trying to understand that my problems are here because I am a normal human being. The only thing that I am capable of doing is to practice honesty and do the best that I can. Learning to let go and give God the driver's seat is still a work in progress.....you see as a practicing snob I still trust my ideas over God's. How sad is that? I have been a snob. But, now I see just how silly this is. I am going to try everyday to open my mind. Those new folks that I was so sure were different than me, are. They have inspired me to do better and be better. Does it really matter if my kids are at the top of their class and are super at sports or getting special honors? No, I think that today, I'd be so proud if they were the ones quietly teaching the inmates to sew or to read, if they were the ones who connected with those that society looks down their nose at. This new attitude has got to be a gift that I couldn't have seen had I not been placed in the position that I am in. I still don't like this journey because it still scares me. But, if I must travel this road, I am thankful for the gifts of vision and the knowledge that I am gaining along the way. I am thankful that my son WANTS to live in a half way house to really be able to battle this disease. That might have been hard for me to say before, but not now. This means that he is serious. This means that he wants more for himself. I want more for him too. Now, I know that more can't be my definition or society's definition but only God's definition of more.
Today my prayer is one of thanksgiving for what God has revealed to me in the gift of all the wonderful people that I have met along the way. It is a prayer for guidance and listening for my son and for the soul of Henry and for all of his descendants affected by the disease of addiction