I just love a good mystery. John Grisham (ahem) used to be one of my fav's. I love the Maisie Dobbs series, but when the mystery of my life unfolds, I typically expect the bad to come tumbling down. You can imagine my shock when several amazingly wonderful things started tumbling my way.
My husband and I both began Al Anon. It has been a lifeline. We also entered counseling. The astounding thing about counseling is not learning who is right and who is wrong, but, what all the arguing means. Communication is so rarely spoken. We might not even understand how to verbalize our wants and needs. But, we are learning that we want and need the very same things, we just don't know how to give and receive our needs. This new information is so wonderful. I feel like a kid who has just had a heart to heart with my best friend and now we move on from the crap because we just can't wait to start working on our "fun things to do" list. I get giddy just thinking of adventures to come that this time last year, I couldn't even imagine.
Financial gurus talk about the "snowball effect" of either good financial practices or bad financial practices. I think that in recovery we can also experience that "snowball effect". We accepted the chaos of our life. We detached from our son's active addiction. We went to meetings. We got counseling. Just like building that snowball, it's hard to find enough snow to get it started. It seems like a lot of work until it starts to really grow before your eyes. I think that is where we are now.
My son is starting to amaze me. When they tell you to allow them to handle their own problems and experience the natural consequences, and to say things like, "oh" and "huh" and "what are YOU going to do about this or that?" Well, I am now a believer!! In total exhaustion and exasperation, I let go. I stopped advising (ok I admit to feeling a little like "he deserves what he gets). I finally got to the place where I thought that it was just time to let the chips fall where they may. And, when things happened that normally would make me snoop or ask or think about solutions, I just started chanting, "not my problem, not my problem".
Guess what? He's becoming so responsible....dare I say driven? Oh yeah and I'm starting to see this young man who is gonna do great things. I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom. No, he's got this determination and ambition. He's got good ideas. He's thinking like a man with plans. Wow... each day brings something new....a long given up dream brought to fruition. Things like his coming home and talking to us about his day. Telling us his dreams and ideas. Hanging out with the family and looking forward to it. Starting new hobbies. He has stopped blaming others for his problems. He accepts them and deals with them!!!
It's official, I've hit the lottery. I used to think that I had a snowballs chance in hell at ever having such a wonderful cohesive family. But today, I'm not naive, I know this is a long journey, but to ever have experienced this kind of healing is a miracle. I stand amazed. I'm so grateful.
My girls aren't exempt from this equation. They are at college and are happier, healthier and starting to grow emotionally as their family begins to heal. This snowball just keeps growing. They no longer have so many worries so they can focus on who they are and what they want to do with their lives.
In the last post I asked for comments on the stigma of addiction. I didn't get any comments. But, I will say this. After last year, I bet a lot of folks started talking about me and my family. I've heard gossip. It's really quite amusing. The gossip usually gets back to you. You start learning who to trust. I guess that is part of this process....learning about what is real and what isn't and dealing with it. Those that criticize and judge are sad. I don't say that with sarcasm (even though the ugly part of me really wants to). Honestly, they are sad. Because they don't get it. Living life to it's fullest means living in total honesty. And, those who criticize, can't be accepting of their own defects or they wouldn't be trying to tear others down. They would be understanding of all of our human frailties.
I think that our addicts of today are the lepers of yesterday. The label has changed but the ignorance and selfish judgemental nature of some will never change. Addiction enlightened me. I would never willingly want to learn from something that was so awful for my son. But, he went there. The best I can do is to glean from any situation the gifts of knowledge and act in a way that shows I've learned from that lesson.
Today, I say many prayers of gratitude for the miracle of this growing snowball of gifts. I pray for your alcoholic or addict. I pray for you as you care for them. I pray for those who judge. And, I say a prayer for the soul of my grandfather, Henry.