Tuesday, October 21, 2014


"Well Mama, I think we have finally become numb."  The Dad said over our lunch, last Friday.
We were traveling to Columbus Ohio to the Dad's thirty year veterinary school reunion when I received a call from a bail bondsman letting me know that the son had been arrested for a DUI, his second in a month.

The Son has worked very hard to stay off of drugs.  But, he hasn't yet accepted his powerlessness over alcohol.  We did not bail him out, this time.  We did not try to manage his consequences.  This time, we tried to manage our lives, instead.

As I sat over lunch I thought about it, numb was the perfect adjective.  I didn't feel anything.  I didn't feel the panic, that I might have felt early on.  I didn't feel all that surprised.  Parents/loved ones know when the distance of addiction is present.  And, we know that something is probably brewing just over the horizon.

Instead of changing our plans to hover over the latest crisis, we went on our trip, taking in each activity with gratitude.  We stopped for lunch at a Jerry's restaurant, one that we had eaten at many times while growing up because it was the only restaurant in Elizabethtown KY.  I'd like to say that we didn't worry at all, but you would all know how impossibly untrue that can be. 

We stopped in Lexington Kentucky at the historic Keeneland Race Course and watched a few races while enjoying the beautiful sunshine that blanketed the still green pastures of central Kentucky.  From there we headed north and once we crossed the Ohio river we took in a little Cincinnati style chili at Skyline Chili.  Finally we finished our journey north by arriving at our hotel in Columbus.

The next morning after breakfast, we went to the All American Quarter Horse Congress, a show that is the culmination of all of the American Quarter Horse show season where the best of the best compete.  When my mind tried to return to the illusion of what I'd like to control, I would try to steer it in the direction of  'what am I to learn from today for my life.'  Then we had a little Rotola's pizza, the Dad's favorite from vet school and a trip to Barnes and Noble--what trip is complete without a new book or two?

We went back to the room and I read while he watched THE Ohio State cream Rutgers.  Then we headed to the reunion.  We visited and chatted.  Most were strangers to me.  At one point the Dad whispered in my ear, " Are you okay?"

Quite automatically I responded, "Yes, I am, now that I know who I am."

I'm not sure why that came out.  But, if I think about it, knowing who you really are instead of being the extension of others releases any fear that I might have had before. 

Post addiction, I can go to the reunion and see those who are posturing and think, "Bless their hearts" and enjoy those who are just want to touch base with old classmates.  Knowing who I am is a perpetual exercise in understanding intention.

That exercise allowed me to come to a place where I can let this place that we find ourselves in be about recognizing that this is his disease to figure out.  I will love him....enough to stop offering advice.  I will trust enough that I will allow him the space to feel God's presence and help. 

Numb, yes to the old fears and worries but yet hopeful.  Hopeful that like me, he will start to know who and whose he is and finally to know that that is all that really matters.

Praying for us all.  Praying for Henry.



Anonymous said...

I love your blogs and your so apparent kindness! Please add my son Joe to your prayer list as he needs all the help he can get!

Hattie Heaton said...

Consider it done. And, thank you.

Annette said...

I have been thinking that my numbness is due to the fact that I am taking my max dose of antidepressant. lol I am sorry for your son, but so glad for you and the dad and SO grateful that you share your journey with us. Yes, I feel like I know myself now, better than at any other time in my life.

Dad and Mom said...

It's not numbness, it is acceptance. We learn after many lessons where our boundaries must be set. We do not stop loving, we do not stop caring we accept and appreciate.

We appreciate that our life has meaning too, beyond addiction. We do learn we can love but not jump and panic.

beachteacher said...

I'm sorry Hattie. I think Ron explained it so well.

Syd said...

Thanks, Hattie. I used to feel numb when I would wake up after a night where I got little sleep for fear that my wife would hurt herself or fall down or fall out of bed. I would feel numb for days after an argument over her drinking. Now, in recovery, I am filled with enormous gratitude and love for her and that both of us are kinder and more loving than we ever were before. Miracles do happen.

Anonymous said...

Praying and thinking of you....hoping you are ok.