I read a lot of addiction blogs. I am so curious to learn about the journeys of others. In the beginning of our journey with addiction, I hated them because they represented a long, complicated trip (no pun intended). Now, I am interested to learn as much as possible about this disease. There are a myriad of variables. And, I may never tamp down all of those questions that I have. But, I have learned a thing or two and I'd like to share that with you now.
First and foremost, I have learned that when (and I have a lot of trouble with this one) I forget to mind my own business, I sort of go a little nuts. OK, maybe more than a little. It might start out innocently enough with just a little concern or "help" that evolves into .............full fledged paranoia that is enough to drive a person to drink.........So, when I catch myself, I try to remember what a rehab counselor once told me. He said, "he's 21 yrs old, he's been raised, you are done." So, when I think of it that way, I remind myself of my boundaries and pray for God's help in letting go again. I cannot open the Pandora's box of snooping,questioning, looking for tell-tale signs, etc. that take me in all the wrong directions. I cannot think of ways to help him. It is not my journey. It is his. Now, I have to figure out mine. Figuring out mine will most likely teach him more than my words ever will.
Next, I must remember that he can do it, if I stay out of his way. God created this young man with every gift and every flaw for a special purpose and I am not privy to that information. I must in faith, trust the journey that God has given him. If I keep trying to "help", my actions tell him that I don't think he's capable.
Thinking long-term is a death sentence. It somehow makes me think that every slip or bump means that he'll never get it. This leads to despair which is a loss of hope and a dangerous place to be. Just today I read the parable about the father of a family who hires workers for his vineyard. He hired some early in the morning, some around noon, some in the afternoon and some in the early evening. No matter when they were hired they each received the same pay, one denarius. What does this mean? I've read that it is an analogy to represent when God calls us to His service. Some may get it early in their youth, some a little later in life and others maybe not until they are very old. But, the reward of heaven is the same, no matter when they chose to serve. To me, this also represents God's eternal hope for recovery for our addicted loved ones. For some maybe sobriety will take from their first rehab experience while others may not get it until much later. But, the rewards of sober living will be theirs just the same.
I don't need to worry about it. It serves no purpose other than to make me nuts and loose out on the wonderful experiences that God has in store for me today. I believe that every time I do that, it also slows down my son's progress because he is worrying about the trouble with me instead of how to live and survive as an adult, supporting himself in every way.
Today, I have such hope and so I just wanted to remind those of you who may be having a not so hopeful day that bumps and slips are neither good or bad, just part of the process. They aren't our problems....don't let them be. You aren't a bad parent if you refuse to help, you are a strong, loving parent who has the faith to see that this difficult process can get better. You have the faith, knowing that all of the good things you did in parenting that child are still there....as seeds waiting for a little fertile ground to sprout up and take root.
A watched pot never boils! Sappy, maybe, but true. So today I will quote for you and with you a prayer of the venerable Matt Talbot, an alcoholic who traded in his booze for daily mass for just 30 days, then 90, then 1 year, then a lifetime.
"God of mercy, give Your strength to our loved ones, who are bound by the chains of addiction. Enfold them in Your love and restore them to sobriety. Lord, look with compassion on all those who have lost their health and freedom to alcohol and drugs. Restore to them the assurance of Your unfailing mercy, and strengthen them in the work of recovery. To those who care for them, grant patient understanding and a love that perseveres. Amen"
And, a prayer for the soul of my grandfather, Henry.