Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 16 Persons Being Visited By the Lord.....

I've been doing a lot of reading about learning to truly love.  I firmly believe that the gift of love is as healing as anything that I can ever do for my son.  I was reading some quotes from our Blessed Pope John Paul II on the subject of love.  I thought that one quote was so appropriate for all of us who have dealt with or are dealing with addiction. 

"The sickness of a family member, friend or neighbor is a call to Christians to demonstrate true compassion, that gentle and persevering sharing in another's pain.  Likewise, the handicapped and those who are ill must never feel that they are a burden;  they are persons being visited by the Lord."

Mother Teresa always lived and served the poorest of the poor by keeping the idea of serving the "least of these" as serving Jesus himself.  When you imagine looking into the eyes of those suffering whether it be cancer or addiction and see someone so in need, and you imagine that you are peering into the eyes of Jesus, I think that your strength is renewed in the fact that loving those who are sometimes very difficult to love are a way for us to really give love.  It is a challenge worth taking.

I am so blessed to be a part of this addiction/blogging community.  I know that sounds strange but, you who have walked this path....GET IT.  You know what is important.  You have lived or are living in fear and you're still standing.  I learn so much from you.  I feel the depth of your humanness.  I your strength and perseverance.  And, I feel your unconditional love in your giving back.
Today, I am thankful for all of you.  I am thankful for the lessons I learn from each of you on how to love, how to care for myself, how to be grateful, how to appreciate each day.  I pray for our continued growth and the spread of that love for all of the "least of these."  And, I pray for the soul of Henry.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 15

Last night, I spoke with a mom whose son wanted to deal with his addiction.  Today he is detoxing and will enter a rehab facility when the detox period is over.  A few years ago I would have felt so terrible hearing news of a child going through detox but not today.  Today, I feel so happy for this family.  I know about the reality of relapse.  But, I have also come to the realization that relapse may be a part of the learning process and I appreciate every step forward.

Love really does heal.  I believe that learning to love the whole, broken, warts and all package of our loved ones and radiating that love so brightly that they know it just by looking at us goes a really long way towards healing our addicted loved ones. 

My friend's son is going to a rehab facility where everyone patient is given a 6 week old puppy which they will train and care for and take home when they leave.  I think this is brilliant.  What better example of unconditional love than that of a puppy.  And, learning to care for something, be responsible for be told they are capable of caring for something.  I'm so impressed.

In some ways addiction has been a blessing to my family.  It is a horrible thing don't get me wrong however, it did wake us up to deal with a lot of things we really needed to deal with.  It did help us to see what is really important.  It did help us to really learn to love.  And, to learn how to love more completely. 

Today I am thankful for faith, hope and love.  I am thankful for the journey of recovery.  I am thankful for the clarity that this journey gives.  I am thankful to all of my new blogging buddies.  I pray for continued strength and understanding.  And I say a prayer for Henry.

PS  I didn't mean to publish the widget to ask for money.....just copied and pasted the quote and it came with it and then I couldn't get rid of it....I'm sure it is a worthy cause but I didn't intend to fund raise for them....FYI

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 15

 "Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town.

I remember feeling such relief when our son entered rehab.  I imagined him detoxing and coming home all shiny and new and perfect.....(yes I know, I am a fool idealist).  Identifying a problem is huge but addiction is but a symptom of a problem.

Addiction, I have read is merely a method of anesthetizing pain.  The real task is uncovering the source of the pain and dealing with it.  I read more and more the importance of "attachment" in healing those with a host of different mental and emotional problems.

Learning to really love is my new challenge.  Today I pray for understanding to learn to love better.  I pray for healing for all of our addicted loved ones and I say a prayer for Henry.

You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; in just the same way, you learn to love by loving.
~St. Francis De Sales

Monday, October 24, 2011

Finding Me Day 14

This post may sound like a bit of a rant, but the intent is to bring about awareness.  Because the topic has been a frustrating one for me, it may come across as negative.  I am trying to stay aware of how blessed I am.  But, as my youngest says, "it can't always be hearts, sunshine and butterflies". 

My son and I have ADHD.  As Mr. Monk says of his OCD, it is both a blessing and a curse.  One of the hallmarks of ADHD is slower processing.  Many folks will see that since things aren't clicking right off the bat that there is an inability for it to click.  This can't be farther from the truth.  While the speed isn't the same, when connections are made that person might be able to take that new skill and further it like no one else. 

Schools today really frustrate me.  As someone with a teaching degree, I can say with some bit of knowledge that the schools today are set up for one kind of learner.  The powers that be have set up a system that shows more importance in learning for testing than in learning for the sake of learning.

My girls did great in school.  They were easy.  My son picked up his diploma and looked inside in disbelief that he actually made it.  But, my son tests like there's no tomorrow on those standardized tests.  He is so intelligent sometimes that it shocks me.  My girls take a little longer but can organize and get a system of study to fit each class and succeed.

My point is this, they are all three so smart in different ways.  I do not worry about their ability to navigate this life.  But in school, my son was made to feel like a loser for some disabilities which were totally out of his control.  I can tell you the really good teachers because they were the ones who liked my son.  I once had one teacher tell me at a conference that he didn't even know who my son was....Shame on him.  And, he was respected as a great teacher. 

I don't have any complicated answers for how to teach each child individually but I do have some answers that would make a world of difference.  Love your students.  Fight for your students.  Cheer your students on.  Know your students.  Create an atmosphere of cooperation instead of competition with your students.  Show them how to fight for each other.  It's all about love.  It's the greatest gift.  No matter what the disability, home situation, socioeconomic level, academic level or degree of difficulty they are all children of God.

Today I pray that someone far brighter than me will come up with a way to teach all of our children with love and respect.  I pray for our addicted loved ones to heal from wounds that were so painful that addiction was easier than facing the pain.  I pray for all of our children.  I pray for their loved ones and I say a prayer for Henry.

Finding Me Day 13

We are trying to sell our home.  There are a lot of reasons for doing this.  For one, it is a big house with  only me, hubby and two dogs rambling around.  Also, the amount of yard work beats me up.   Downsizing would allow us to get a smaller home on a smaller lot and allow us to pay off some business debt while making life easier at the same time. 

It is something that I want so bad on so many different levels that I tend to only see what I want instead of realizing how much I've been given.  I've written a number of times about failing to see and see the importance of the small things. 

One day when I was feeling particularly frustrated with the progress of selling our home, I decided to start compiling a list of what I have to be grateful for.  The list just kept going.  I thought about just how ungrateful I'd become because I wasn't getting the thing that I wanted. 

I guess you're never too old to feel entitled.  I was really embarrassed at my lack of appreciation. 

Today, I am thankful for so much progress.  I am thankful for the gift of having a home.  I am thankful for my son's progress.  I pray that he continues to learn and never forget to be grateful.  And I say a prayer for Henry.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Finding Me Day 12.....

It's been a stressful few weeks.  I've had to train a new employee while we hit a sudden busy spell.  I am thankful for the business but overwhelmed by the lack of rest and most especially the quiet.  I had learned to enjoy  my time of silence.  It was a time to connect to my creator.  It was a time to hear His whisper.

One of my AlAnon lessons came in very handy during this time.  In the midst of chaos, I would just slow down, take deep breaths and pray.  And, then things seemed to work so much better.  I am learning to let go of those moments of chaos just the same as I let go of my son and then like magic....things improve. 

My son is this amazing young man.  He has overcome so much.  He is builder who builds very large buildings.  He just finished his first one and was transferred to a new one.  He told me how wonderful this new job is because they put him with some of the best in his business.

 Last night he told us how he loved his job but so many of the other workers were from another state and they were not nearly as good at their jobs which created a lot of problems.  As an apprentice, he needs good leadership to really learn.  Now, he loves the new crew and feels like he will learn so much better.

He said, "I felt like I'd been in purgatory and was just waiting to see which way it would go!"  He was so funny.  I could never imagine the conversation we had last night just one year ago.  I have so much to be thankful for. 

Today, I am thankful for the gift of learning who to turn to;   who to ask to lead my way in everything.  I am thankful for my son's recovery.  I am thankful for the support of this blogging community.  I continue to pray for all of our children and loved ones affected by the disease of addiction.  And, I pray for Henry.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Finding Me Day 11

I'm a little behind on posting but today I took a look back at my blog.  I looked at my very first post,  then a few others.  I was struck by just how lucky I really am.   Because of the journey I've been on, I've had a paradigm shift...... a much needed one. 

I keep thinking of Dr. Martin Luther King's famous quote where his wish for his kids is that they will be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.  If I am honest, I must admit to being judgemental for all kinds of ridiculous things.  While I may not judge for skin color, I have judged for messy rooms, bad grades, the way things "look", and a host of ridiculous things that my kids have about as much control over as MLK's kids had control over their skin color. 

One of the gifts of this journey is fresh eyes.  Today, I see that my kids are so marvelous.  It took my getting out of their way to see who they really are.  My son inspires me.  When I look at the changes he has made, I am so impressed.  He has a serious work ethic.  His sense of humor leaves me in stitches.  And, if he weren't my son and I was his age, I'd want to be his friend because of how great he is.  I know that when I need him, he'll be there for me. 

My oldest daughter has this tough exterior but a soft vulnerable soul.  I think she's the only one who doesn't see how special she is.  She is so gifted at so many things that she could really take her pick of occupations.  But, caring for others is her specialty...sometimes to the detriment of herself. 

My youngest daughter is this little ray of sunshine.  She is quiet but she can pack a punch.  She is very thoughful and detail oriented.  Because of health problems, she has the wisdom of an old soul.

My husband and I are doing something that I am so proud of.  We are going to marriage counseling.  A lot of folks consider those who are in counseling to be those who are in trouble.  I think those who are in counseling to be those who love each other and their kids enough to realize the need to do things right for the rest of their lives. 

Counseling has made me realize that every person just needs to feel loved, needs to belong to others, needs to be appreciated for their unique gifts, needs to be heard.....needs to be loved! 

I am so blessed.  My new eyes don't look at the world anymore.  And, it's amazing because what's inside of my house is far better than anything outside of it.  I have a husband who is working so hard both at work and at home to build our family up.  I've got these three great young adult children.  Watching them find their way in life is like watching the bud of a rose unfold.  The content of their character makes me so proud. 

If I can pass along one thing it is this.....look deeply at what is important and then cherish it, nourish it and be grateful for it.  Today I share my favorite prayer with you and I'll throw in a prayer for Henry.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Finding Me Day 10

"God will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness."

Just one month before addiction came out of the closet, my son had surgery.  He had tonsils and adenoids removed and septum corrected.  The day we brought him home, it was like dealing with a mentally ill patient.   He was in a panic and his Dad was hiding the pain pills.  No one knew what to do.  I decided that he was just afraid so I went to his room and talked him down.  I decided that even as horrible as he was that I would go in there and ignore his ugly words and just "be mom" to my son.  I had my husband bring a lazy boy recliner up there and I stayed there for 3-4 days and nights.  In many ways that decision was a gift. 

This decision to just love and care for my son brought back a closeness that I hadn't had in such a long time.  I fed him and told him stories.  We watched tv together.  He actually got me hooked on "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" and "Pickers".  We watched "Intervention" where he told me what a terribly sad show that was.  I found that odd.  I was thinking of it as hopeful but he told me that most of them would never get off the drugs.  And, still I didn't or couldn't see the handwriting on the wall. Anyway, this time together is in part why I believe that he agreed to go to rehab.

The day that my husband told me that our son had to be addicted to drugs, I looked at him like he had three heads and said, "Get Out!!  I mean it Get Out!  You will not tear my boy down."  And, in that moment, I meant it.  You see that time together was something that I never imagined having again.  I could not tell you why.  Subconsciously, I could but I hadn't been willing to look very deep.  I still remember that anger (fear) of those words and the primal need to protect my baby.  I could have taken my husband out.  Four hours later, I agreed with him.

This incident reminded me of a story that my  family has told all of my life.  I am the youngest of six children and my oldest two brothers went to Viet Nam when I was 4 yrs old.  One was in the army and one was a marine.  My mother thought that if a sheriff showed up it was only to notify the family of a death.  So, when the sheriff drove down our driveway, she ran out the front door and started screaming for them to "get off her property!"  and taking off one show and throwing it at them and then the other before bursting into tears, barefoot on the front porch.  Later we learned that my brother was wounded by sniper fire and was being sent back to the states. 

Friday night, I spoke with a family who is just beginning this journey that none of us wanted to take.  She kept asking if she should drug test him to see if he was still using.  When I asked her how much money he made and what bills he had (none) and what he had to show for the money he was making(nothing), then I said unless you want to know what he's on, no what else could he spend that much on.  I kept pointing out obvious things that I too ignored in the beginning that seemed to be so hard to accept for her. 

This primal notion of mothering is so strong.  And, I've had a few ask how I could do the things that I've done.  I think it's about changing your perception of caring.  Caring for an addict requires some counter intuitive thinking.  Caring for an addict requires a dumping of pride.  It requires rolling up your sleeves and fighting with the devil.  You need to separate the addiction from the child and fight against addiction while fighting for the child.  It is a job not for the faint of heart.  It is something that I could not have done without prayer and God's strength. 

Today, I pray for this family to have the courage to let go and let God.  I pray for my new blogger friends in their recovery journey.  I pray for the Mom's and Dads who have lost their loved ones.  I pray for those who still fight for their loved ones.  And, I say a prayer for the soul of Henry, my grandfather.