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.