Thursday, February 17, 2011

One Step At a Time

I often wonder about the origin of our expectations.  Addiction has challenged my thinking on almost everything.  It has given me the gift of humiliation and humility.  Yes, humiliation was a gift that led to humility.  Thomas Merton said that "pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real."  The beauty of being real is how relaxing and easy it is.  Being real eliminates this constant study and survey of what we think others might want or expect.  It eliminates striving for something that is not who we are, which is exhausting.

Many people ask about my son.  There are those who are unfamiliar with the disease of addiction.  They might think that rehab should just fix the problem.  Then there are those who are really rooting for my son.  They ask in great expectation of his progress.  In the past, I would have looked at the person asking and tried to accommodate them by giving them an answer that they wanted to hear. 

This way of thinking is one of pride.  It is foolish and dishonest.  It really isn't about my son, it is about me.  Al Anon and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius have taught me to take care of myself.  Does that mean going to the spa and having a massage?  Well, I guess it could but, way beyond that, it teaches me to become very introspective.  It teaches me to consider my every motivation.  It teaches me to discern.  These tools are intended to strip away all of the unnecessary garbage that we pick up along life's journey.  Stripping away is necessary to create a place pure enough to allow God to become close.  He will give you the clarity and vision you need. 

Now, if someone asks about my son, I tell the truth.  My son is an addict.  He is on his own personal journey.  He is exactly where God wants him to be at this time.  Step one in AA and Al Anon says, "  We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable."  If I am truly powerless and I can admit that, then I have to be hands off.  I can't ask him to go to church or to AA.  I can't try to make his recovery easier.  I can't help him get a job.  I have to let go.  If I nag him to go to church, who benefits?  Well, that would be me.  He needs to travel his own journey, as do I. 

My journey is all I have control over.  Maybe modeling this new way of life will be far more effective than my nagging and judging of the past.  So, my son is traveling this journey one step at a time.  He is traveling it on God's time.  He is the only one who can write and know his story.  I only share mine.

I am shocked and surprised that I have such a sense of well being in the midst of something that rocked my world six months ago.  I am thankful for the gifts I receive on this journey.  God really does provide.  We really don't trust that most of the time. 

Today I pray for perseverance in seeking God's will.  I pray for those suffering from addiction, that they might have the courage to give God control so that they begin receiving gifts.  I pray for Henry as always and for all of you that you may find the joy in taking things "one step at a time."


Allyson said...

Thank you so much for this post.

I recently have ended a relationship with my boyfriend because of his addictions and it was the hardest choice I have ever had to make.

It feels so counterintuitive to seemingly abandon this person to their addiction, but I'm learning that I can't beat this for him no matter how much I want to.

I will keep your son in my prayers. Please pray for Patrick.

It was really encouraging to to read this.

Mom of an Addict said...

Thank you for your kind words and prayers. I will remember Patrick in my prayers. Hang in there. Trusting Patrick to God is a gift to him. Take care of yourself.. place boundaries and's all we have and what we need. God be with you.