Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Collateral damage

We went to visit my son at the halfway house Saturday.  It’s a long drive that takes up most of the day, but at least it’s within driving distance.  My oldest daughter was visiting and hadn’t seen her brother since before his arrest.  I read on another blog that the addicts don't intentionally cause pain to the people who love them, rather we are "collateral damage."  That makes sense to me.  My oldest daughter was part of the collateral damage.  She was visiting on that awful day in May when I found out he was using again and that it was out of control.  She held me as I cried.  It was a strange role reversal as she wiped my tears away and tried to comfort me like I used to comfort her when she was a child. She sat with me and pleaded with me as I told my son that he would either need to accept my offer for rehab, or leave our home.   She was sad, scared, and angry with her brother for the pain that his addiction was causing.  

So, when I asked her to go with me to visit him, she was nervous about it and didn’t know what to expect.  I’m so glad she was able to go.  He apologized to her for his behavior, and they made their amends.  It was very healing for both of them.  We had such a good visit and she was able to see, first hand, the change in her brother.  The miraculous change.  Not only does he look healthy again physically, but he’s in such a better place mentally.  One of the first things she noticed was his smile.  He has the most beautiful smile, and it had disappeared for a very long time, along with any kind of joy in his life.

            On another note, the girl he was arrested with is now in the rehab facility he just left, so she is in the same town as my son.  That presents a whole new set of possible worries. If she isn't committed to staying clean, he doesn't stand a chance.   It is what it is though.  That is one of the things I am powerless over.  I have to turn it over to God several times every day, and I have to trust. 

            For now, I’m just grateful for my son’s sobriety, for his rediscovered faith………and for his smile.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I am powerless over........

One of the most precious blessings I have enjoyed in my son’s journey to recovery is that we have a relationship again.  He calls me just to talk, and he actually wants us to come and visit.  For the past several years, the only time I would hear from him would be to ask for money, for “rent, food, gas, etc.”  I continue to be amazed and grateful for the changes I see in him.
         Just this past week though, I realized how close to the surface my fear and anxiety are over a possible relapse.  I had left a message for him to call, and he hadn’t responded.  Since his non-responsiveness to me has always been an indicator in the past of his addiction rearing its ugly head, my immediate response was fear……..no terror.  Terror that he had relapsed.  Terror that the nightmare was starting again.  Terror that I was losing him all over again.  As it turned out he hadn't responded because he had to be at work at 4:30 the next morning and was asleep when I sent the message.  He called the very next day.
         Believe it or not, I am doing a much better job in dealing with that fear than I used to.  I know the paragraph above doesn’t sound like it, but I used to be much worse.  I am better at catching the anxiety when it begins, saying a quick prayer, and handing it over to God.  But the fear is still there, still lurking, just waiting for a trigger.
         Anyway, I got an idea from an Alanon magazine I read called Forum.  In it a woman had posted an “I am powerless over…..” list that she had written.  I wrote my own, just to remind myself that the only person I truly have power over is myself.  No matter how much I love my son ultimately the journey is his alone.  I can let him know how much I love him and give him emotional support, but I cannot control his addiction.

Here’s my list so far.  I’ll probably add more as time goes by.

I am powerless over my son’s addiction.

I am powerless over my son’s recovery.

I am powerless over my son’s choices.      

I am powerless over whether he shows up at work.

I am powerless over the people he meets in the halfway house.

I am powerless over whether his girlfriend goes to rehab and ends up in the same town as him.

I am powerless over his girlfriend’s addiction.

I am powerless over her recovery, or non-recovery.

I am powerless over her influence on him.

I am powerless over the decision of the judicial system.