Monday, November 26, 2012


Sweeping out from behind the newly moved sofa, I find pony tail holders, dog bones, pens, dust bunnies, memories both sad and happy all etched with a feeling of loss and sorrow.  The house grows empty.  It is begins to echo as it detaches from our family, piece by piece.

The Dad's heart is heavy as he stops for a hug.  "We are okay?", I ask.  He nods the affirmative.  "Then what else matters?" We keep moving forward.  This is but another death.  A dying to self and the past.  It is a visible reminder of what could have been different.

The girls hang around much longer than normal before going back to school.  They want to see their home one more time before they go.  They have worked so hard to help us move.  My heart is heavy for what they have had to go through.

Son calls from rehab.  I don't know what he really feels yet.  I don't think he does either.  I am thankful that he is not here, now.

These problems of ours seem to have grown using  compound interest.  They have become tangled and knotted into such a mess that when one is resolved three new problems are revealed.  One very dark and worrisome day, I googled novena for drug addiction and I stumbled upon this novena titled Mary Undo-er of Knots.  I began praying it and have found great comfort in it as well as tremendous helps in these difficult times.  You can find the prayers here.

Today, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for the gifts of the church.  I am thankful for all of the resources available to those who suffer from the disease of addiction.  I pray for their recovery and their families who support them.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Seven Times Seventy

You often hear of folks finding God in the rooms filled with alcoholics and addicts.  And, I've often wondered if it was merely the "at the bottom" kind of spiritual awakening or is it something else?  This weekend we went to the family weekend at my son's 12 step retreat. 

The family counselor made a very good point that has been hanging around in my mind ever since.  She said that when an alcoholic "falls off the wagon" and he comes back to an AA meeting, he is given a white chip that says that they desire to quit drinking or using.  And if they go out and drink or use the very next day they can still come back and they will be encouraged to try again.  They will always be encouraged to try again, there will never be any judgement and they are never given up on.

I must say that all people could learn a thing or two from those recovering alcoholics and addicts about the forgiveness that the church teaches; seven times you ever see it lived more fully?

Today I am thankful for the lessons that AA,NA and AlAnon teach.  I am thankful for the lessons gleaned because of addiction.  I am thankful for good counselors.  I say a prayer for my son and yours and I say a prayer for Henry.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Thanksgiving was always a big deal for me growing up.  My mom cooked for days.  Her favorite sister and her family would come into town.  Aunts and uncles, cousins, friends and usually a random straggler would gather around her table.  It was so much fun, so delicious, and it is a tough act to follow. 

My house is about half empty.  We still.....still haven't closed.  We are waiting on just one signature to close.  We could close any day and need to hop to moving, but not yet.  We were going to go out to a local country club for dinner but a good friend who usually comes to our house, has volunteered to cook and has invited us over.  My girls are very excited.

We went to see our son at his 12 step retreat this weekend. He looked good and seems to be working hard.  I don't think we could ask for anymore at this time.  He will go to a rehab Thanksgiving dinner at the facility that owns his retreat center. 

It will be different this year, but it will be okay.  It may even be really good.  You see as disjointed as it all may seem, I think we are all in the very spots that we need to be in.  And, for that I am most grateful. 

The family counselor at his retreat was really very good.  I think we gained a lot of insight and she helped us to take letting go a step further.  Our family is getting healthy.  I can just feel it.  Does that mean that I expect everything to be perfect?  Do I think he'll never relapse again?  No and I don't know, but whatever happens, I think that our response will be a healthier one.

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  Hubby and I are becoming quite a team.  I have friends and family that have scooped us up in our time of need and have kept holding us up as we walk through a very difficult time.  We have the best, I mean best group of folks at hubby's office who are like our second kids and give everything that they can at work.  All of our kids are working hard and we are on the cusp of a great new adventure.

I say a prayer of Thanksgiving for friends, family, employees, animals, counselors, recovering addicts, good food and the hope of a new adventure.  I pray for our son, your addicted loved ones, my nephew and my brother.  I pray for each of you to have a blessed thanksgiving and I say a prayer for Henry.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Catch Up of Sorts

Today is supposed to be the closing day on my house, but they moved the closing to Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.  That means that I will be moving 1-2 days prior to Thanksgiving.  With patience not being one of my virtues, I find myself whining and complaining, nervous and frustrated and an all around hot mess as my younger friends would say.

The office server went down yesterday which meant buying a new server.  When we got the new gee- whiz, fast as lightning computer installed, we learned that our practice management software is not compatible with Windows 8 so now I have to purchase Windows 7 to downgrade my recent upgrade....

We've moved the old dog to the clinic to live.  He is 13 yrs old and a big dog.  So far we have had to buy him a new bed and do a lot of grooming.  Then, one night he chewed the barn doors in an effort to go outside, or die trying.  We decided to buy a dog door and an electronic fence system so that he can go potty and not get out of the fence and get hit by the busy traffic.  We discovered that despite the fact that we keep his monthly flea protection up to date, he had fleas.  So, we went to the small animal vet and purchased the meds for an instant kill and will look for a new maintenance product as he is probably becoming resistant after all these years.  His hips don't work so well so now we are looking at a heated pad for his crate for the winter. My guess is that once we purchase all of these items, his time will come.....not that I'm a skeptic.

This has become quite a strain on our already strapped, stretched ready to snap financial situation.  And so I wonder,  What, are you wanting me to learn from this, Lord?  What is it that I'm not getting, because I want to get it, already. 

On a good note, because there is always a good note, a family member who had relapsed has asked for help.  For those of you out there living in the midst of addiction, you know just how big that is.  And, this weekend is family week at my son's 12 step immersion retreat.  I really do look forward to that.  Friday will mark 25 days(29 days since we sent him to detox but tapering down with Suboxone)  totally drug free and so it will be interesting to see him totally clean.

The girls at the jail are really impressive.  Two of the five have acceptances from Sober Living communities and the others whose release dates are getting closer are working on a plan.  I'm so proud of their work.

If I am quiet the next week or so, you will know that we have started our move and a new chapter.  I'm very excited for this to begin.  Today, I am thankful for nephew asking for help, son working on sobriety, blog friends, regular friends and hope for tomorrow.  I pray for our addicted loved ones for healing and  to persevere in the program.  And as always a prayer for Henry.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Building Back.....

My Dad, the son of Henry, the alcoholic, died in 2002.  He fathered six children and left no debt and a little money to each of us.  When I got my money, I felt so guilty.  He had to fight so hard to even make it through the eighth grade.  He worked to feed his family since he was a young boy.  He left for  Europe during WW2 when he turned eighteen, and spent 2 years and 8 months there.  He worked very hard to make my life always feel safe.  And, he did.  I feel unworthy of the money he left.

A little over two years ago when we first realized my son suffered from drug and alcohol addiction, I offered up to God (like I had the power) any and all of my worldly goods if he would just save my son.  I don't think you can really bargain with God.  But, we are selling our home and divesting ourselves of a lot material possessions.

The idea of moving from our home of 18 years was a little sad for me at first.  Now, you can't get me out of here fast enough.  After the last round with son, this place feels more like a crime scene than a home.  Nonetheless, I have been feeling a little sad.  And, I could not figure out why.

On Saturday, we took a load of furniture to my hometown, to my sister's garage to store.  Oddly enough, she lives in my parents old house.  One of the items that I chose to keep was a bookcase that I bought with the money from my father's estate.  I just couldn't sell it.  I must admit that it was a little humbling to return there with some of my last worldly goods. 

Yesterday, hubby moved his horse to a boarding stable.  I dreaded it so much because this home and this farm was his dream, not mine.  I feared that it would be very difficult for him.  I saw a little pain on his face and a little sadness in his eyes, but, like me, we have learned what things are of value.

There are so many emotions swirling around in my head.  I'm not really sure how to sort them.  But, the one thing that kept entering my mind was the verse from Genesis 3:19:

By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return."

Now, I know that I am not dying.....but perhaps there is a death occurring, one which involves a way of life.  The old unhealthy way that we have been living...maybe that is what we are dying to and it is becoming visible in my mind. 

After a very loaded day of emptying, son called.  He sounded so very good and clear.  Daughter came home and commented on how good Dad and I seemed together.  This is how I choose to build back my home.  Thanks be to God.

Today, I am thankful for this insight.  I am thankful for the opportunity for my son.  I am thankful for starting over.  I am thankful for all of the bloggers out there who pray.  I pray for all of our sons and daughters and I say a prayer for Henry.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Little Lost

  Trust is a detachment from control ( my definition...don't quote me).  I'm having a spectacularly difficult time resting in faith, right now.  My house is exactly one week away from closing, if all goes well.  I sit here typing while waiting on the appraiser to arrive; the last item on the list of things to do before closing.  It makes me a nervous wreck.  Tomorrow we have another showing.  Our realtor does not believe in taking chances and will continue to show it until the ink dries.

Son is at his 12 step immersion retreat and the counselor called saying that he was doing well but moving slowly with regard to the first step.  So, now I'm worrying about that.  Why oh why do I do this?  Someone please tell me how to turn this off.

I want so desperately to do things differently this time around.  As I sit here to write, I start to dig out my feelings and I think that I am afraid to accept the possibility that he might not make it.  I am afraid of totally letting him go back into addiction because if he does, I will not be able to afford to put him in a safe place to recover.  I am afraid of this disease taking him completely.  I am afraid to entertain the thought of burying my son.

There it is, my greatest fear.  And some how, my worrying about the fact that he is struggling with the first step leads me straight to the worst possible scenario.  I wonder if parenting a child who suffers from drug addiction counts for time off in purgatory? 

Today is another day in the desert.  I'm so tired of of the mountains of worry here.  I hate addiction.  I hate feeling so lost.  I know that God has been so good.  I know that I could turn all of this around and look at it from the point of gratitude. 

He is in recovery.  Thanks be to God.  There is a contract on the house.  Thanks be to God.  He is struggling with this first step, but he's got ten other young men there to help him ( and they are trying to teach him to ask for help which they say he has trouble with) and maybe this is one big step in changing the way he does business.  Thanks be to God.

Ignatian spirituality teaches us to have "holy indifference" to anything and everything.  That requires a great deal of trust.  The reason I can't trust that much is because I want it to turn out the way I want it.  I don't trust enough to let go of my will, not all of the time anyway.

So, I sit here a little lost and fearful.  I will continue to pray for courage.  I am thankful for this opportunity for recovery for both son and for myself.  I am thankful for the contract on the house.  I am thankful for good friends and family.  I pray for recovery for all of our addicted loved ones.  And, as always one for Henry.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Learning to Love

I've considered writing a book for sometime.  It may just be one for my family, but maybe not, we'll see.  When I first began, I wrote snippets like I do here and struggled with how to organize them.  My good friend kept pushing me to get organzied and outline, first.

I first had to come up with a thesis statement. That was a very difficult task.  I want to write about how addiction has changed me.  I want to write about what I've learned about my own life because I've had to face the addiction of an adult child.  That is no easy feat.  How do you boil down all of the things I'm learning into one bold statement?

For a long time, I thought that my story was about the lessons learned in accepting the cross.  But, with further reflection, I have discovered that the lessons I've learned in accepting the cross are not about totally different things;  they are all about love.  Accepting the cross teaches me to love.  There it is, plain and simple.

I've been doing catechetical training.  I hope to use it with prison ministry someday.  I had to miss one session to take my son to detox, so I sent an email to Sister Mary Michael and  I told her what was going on.  When I went to the next session, she came over to check on me.

I started telling her a little about things that have gone on.  I told her how blessed I felt in the midst of this hardship.  She began to smile and turned her head to look at me very directly with a piercing stare and she said, "at some point in your life, you wanted to be very close to our Lord."

Wow!  I didn't see that coming.  But, she's right, I do.  It's hard to accept the difficult path, but it is truly the only way to get to the better place.  I had to give my son up to hopefully get him back one day.  I have to give up my will to get a better future.  I have to give up my fear and learn to trust.

We talked to our son this weekend.  It is a little awkward.  I asked my husband what he thought and he said, "I don't even know who he is, he's so clear."  We will try our best to give up expectations and just trust God with this process.

Today, I am thankful for this step.  I am thankful for my girls and how incredibly hard they work.  I am hopeful that from this difficult experience they will learn to lean on our Lord for everything.  I'm thankful that I won't have to watch one more political ad!  I'm thankful that our home closing is just 8 days away.  I pray for those still out there trapped in the clutches of addiction.  I pray for God's grace in helping them to reach for recovery and I say a prayer for Henry.


Friday, November 2, 2012

The Communion of Saints

Fourteen years ago yesterday(All Saints Day), my sweet mother died.  Four years later, my Dad joined her.  Since then we've lost my husband's mother, a very sweet aunt and the last surviving Heaton male of my father's generation. 

Sometimes it seems as if there is just too much loss.  Last night we went to mass for All Saints Day (a holy day of obligation).  My husband had given money in remembrance of All Souls Day (today) for my parents and his mother.  Each name was carefully printed on the outside of the envelope.  He handed it to me to put into the basket as it passed by.  He usually remembers these little thoughtful things but last night just seeing their names in print evoked feelings of loss that I hadn't really considered in a while.

I just wondered and imagined what our current situation with my son would be like if those anchors of the family were still with us.  But, really they HAVE been.  You see I believe in the communion of saints.  And, what a marvelous gift that is.  I believe that I can pray to Venerable Matt Talbot or my mother to extend prayers for my son any minute of the day or night and we all work together as a family in the mystical body of Christ.

This weekend we will not go to visit my son because it is awfully far away.  Oddly enough, I learned that parents weekend (family counseling) is the weekend that we are to move.  And, we will be there. We will just move before and after that time.  I feel like he needs this time alone with himself to begin to sort, process and hopefully heal. 

This is when I will need to have faith.  We've reached the big pinnacle of going to recovery.  It is a big step indeed for him to want/need to go.  But, now, it's up to him the addict and thus far that track record is not so good.   I am afraid.  But, my hands are off.  Instead, they will be folded in prayer.  So, I'm taking advantage of the gift of communion that the church gives me.  You see I am adding strength to my prayers.  What a beautiful gift.
Today, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for all of the marvelous examples of christian living that the church helps us to recognize.  I pray for all of the souls in purgatory.  I pray for our addicted loved ones and I say a prayer for Henry.