Thursday, August 30, 2012


I've traveled to Dallas to a writer's conference.  I am considering writing a book on my journey through my son's addiction.  There are days where I feel like I have to write this story.  Then, there are days that I think, who do you think you are to write this book?  There is the fear factor that is present because I have never published a book before.  There is also the fear of publishing such a personal account of our life.

Last night, I was channel surfing.  The lack of quality on TV is astounding.  Let's just say that when I become intimidated by writing, all I have to do is look at Toddler's in Tiaras or Honey Boo Boo.....

I've learned a lot here.  I've learned that I will really need to get organized, which does not come naturally to me.  And, I will need to get clear about the message that I want to convey.  But, most importantly, I only need to write if this is God's will.  So, I will proceed with prayer before I take any further action.

The most important thing is my son's sobriety.  What I have learned in this journey, is first and foremost for that purpose.  So I will pray for wisdom.  I pray for all of our loved ones who have felt the ravages of the disease of addiction.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Saying it Out Loud....

Most every day, I read a daily reading from the series In Conversation With God by Francis Fernandez.  I love those readings so much.  They help me to better understand the day's liturgy.  The author refers to a lot of quotes by St. Josemaria Escriva.  So, I decided to start reading some of his writings.  My best friend is "in the know" about most all things Catholic and of all books Catholic.   She hooked me up with a lot of his books and told me that he was kind of tough!  His writings are a collection of sacred scripture blended with personal reflections from his life and experiences of others.  His most famous book, The Way, is divided into chapters on topics such as charity, interior struggle, the will of God, etc.  Then under each chapter you will find numbered snippets of practical advice.

I'll just call my friend Sue.  Sue says each snippet should be followed by the phrase, "you slacker" or some other such fitting phrase.  For example,  on the topic of character:  "Maturity.  Stop making faces and acting up like a child!  Your bearing ought to reflect the peace and order in your soul. "   You can see how fitting it would be  if you were to end that snippet with "you slacker"  Josemaria does not mince words.  I think I would have really gotten along with him quite well.  My Dad was one for brutal honesty.  Sometimes when I was young and I would go around with him to his rental properties, I would just cringe with his straight forward manner.  Today, at 48 years old, I see myself more and more like him and it happened before I knew it.

Lately, I've questioned why I am considered the bad guy for telling the truth.  I've questioned the way in which I deliver the truth and I know that sometimes I'm a little blunt.  But, other times I feel as though the truth is the truth and there is no way to make it pretty if it is not what someone wants to hear.

"You never want "to get to the bottom of things." At times because of politeness.  Other times because you fear hurting yourself.  Sometimes again, because you fear hurting others.  But always because of fear!  With that fear of digging for the truth you"ll never be a man of good judgement." St. Josemaria Escriva.

We are taught to tell the truth...sort of...but many times we are rewarded for dancing around it.  My son's addiction made this quote a reality for me...

"Don't be afraid of the truth, even the though truth many mean your death."

Saying the "A" word out loud did not make it real.  It made me face it, accept it, and deal with it.  Failure to acknowledge does not control anything......nope it allows for things to continue to be out of control.  So, I'll continue to edit my words so that I do not make personal comments but I think I want to continue to be like my Dad.

Today, I am thankful for the courage to finally confront the truth.  I am thankful for those tough saints like Josemaria Escriva and Mother Teresa (Blessed) and I am thankful for a Dad who modeled the hard stuff for his kids.  I pray my son to learn to be courageous enough to accept the truth of his life long condition and to continue to fight.  I pray for all of your sons and daughters, husbands and wives and any loved one facing the demons of addiction.  And, as always, a prayer for the soul of my grandfather, Henry.

Friday, August 10, 2012

What I Did This Summer Vacation.......

The house is STILL for sale, but, we've been showing it quite a bit.  The son who had been laid off got a job which starts Monday.  The girls are quite burned out with summer and are ready for a schedule.  We are leaving for Cincinnati on Tuesday to see my best friend's son take his first vows as a Dominican priest on Wednesday.  Life seems to crawl but when I sit down to think about it all, I realize how quickly things are really moving.

If I were going back to school and asked to write an essay on what I did on my summer vacation, this is what I'd write:

Summer break was a time that felt more like summer school.  Our family is beginning to learn some very important lessons about BEING a family.  We have refused to let addiction take over any time that we have to be a family.  We have started trying to practice unconditional love to each member.  By practice, I mean that we are trying to give time to other members and we try very hard to help them feel and know that they are loved.

We have not done this all with ease or seamlessly; we have painfully, with frustration and trial and error and error and error worked things out.  And, while at times it feels like frustration is at every turn, when we slow down and look back, we do see that progress has been made.

One of our biggest lessons is the "what is" lesson.  For those working a program, "what is" is the very beginning....acceptance of what is and choosing to live with it ......or not.  Another biggee is trying very hard to look beyond self to try to see and understand another.  This is not an easy step but the rewards are mighty cool indeed.

We are trying very hard to stop defending self in order to look out for other family members.  This is such an unnatural thing to do.  It requires a lot of trust and trust is sometimes hard to come by in a house where addiction once lived.

The rewards?  Oh my, my....watching daughter go from tears because she thought we were fussing at her to soaking up the words that we were just disappointed that she wasn't staying because we miss her and want to be around her.  And, she stayed....we all sat together until .....dare I say a normal family?

We are making plans for holidays.  We are so thrilled to go and share this lovely celebration with my friend's son.  We are acting like a!!!!!!  And, that is what I did on my summer vacation.

Today, I am thankful for my family and the progress that we've made.  I am thankful for my son's new job, the service of my best friends son, the showing of our house, the progress of our girls.  I am thankful that my son is going to meetings and to church.  I pray for his continued strength and growth.  I say a prayer for my son and yours (or daughter or spouse or sister or brother) and I say a prayer for Henry.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fear is My Enemy

Many experts warn about the dangers of parenting out of fear.  I think there is a lot to that.  The problem is that I have a hard time stopping myself when fear arises.  I start thinking that maybe I am letting something slide instead of confronting it.  I start backsliding with the whole control issues.  I start to panic and so I behave in all sorts of weird ways that confuse the whole family.

I hate living like this but I can't seem to stop myself when he behaves in a way that I don't recognize.....which is most of the time.  It is all new.  He is really doing better than I remember in such a very long time.  You'd think that would put me at ease, but no, it gives me all the more reason to fear the past.

I guess this is where I have not let go of control.  There is where I must face the daily task of detaching.  And, I'm not really all that good at that.  We've gained so much ground.  I am truly over the moon for that.  Some days, I get greedy and forget what I have to be thankful for.  I want normalcy, whatever that is.  Maybe that's what I have and I don't recognize it.  I guess it is my norm.

Today I start a new term of the Homeward Bound program at the jail.  I get to meet the new ladies and start a new AlAnon group with them.  I really look forward to that.  After working for and with the public, it is so refreshing to work with those who are at the place where they know that they have to change.  They are thankful for the opportunity to learn a healthier way.  Working with that mind set is like breathing the sweet air after a springtime rain.

Today, I am thankful for a new fall routine.  I am thankful for sobriety even though each new step is a little scary.  I am thankful that we are really starting to show our house.  I am thankful for my kids and my husband and my friends.  I pray for strength in detaching, continued sobriety and health to all who read.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Long and Winding Road

We are at the stage of the game that leads to really good places and really tough places.  We have uncovered so much that was hidden by the anesthesia of drug addiction each day and even though the addiction is "in remission"??  we have other battles ahead.  Anxiety is a big problem.  Getting help for someone who is afraid of taking medication is problematic.  

I have so much to be thankful for but this long and winding road has really begun to wear on me both physically and emotionally.  I feel good about my decisions and then an hour later I question.  I'm really tired.  I don't know how to proceed.  

Today, I say a prayer of thanksgiving that we are dealing with the issues underneath the addiction.  I pray for guidance and strength.  And, I say a prayer for Henry.