Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year-The Unknown

It’s the time of year when many of us make New Year’s resolutions.  I don’t usually make formal resolutions, but there are parts of my personality that I’m working on improving.  At the Alanon meeting I attend we say the 12 Steps together each time we meet.  Step 4 is, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” One of the things I’ve had to work on the hardest in my own recovery as POA is my tendency to worry.  I don’t know if it comes from being raised as the child of an alcoholic or not, but as far back as I can remember I’ve had a hard time enjoying the present because I’ve been so busy worrying about the future.  I assigned myself the role of “fixer” in my family of origin, little knowing that it was a problem that was beyond my control to fix.   I tend to think about the worst-case scenario and then worry that it will happen.  I read somewhere that when we imagine bad things happening, our mind doesn’t know that it’s fiction and reacts as if it were really happening. My poor mind, I've put it through a lot.   Here is the definition of worry according to “to torment oneself or suffer from disturbing thoughts.”  The phrase that got me was “torment oneself.”  That pretty much says it all.  At first I was appalled to learn that I was the one responsible for my anxiety, not the circumstances of my, or anybody else’s life.  Nobody is causing my suffering; I’m doing a fine job of that myself.  The good news in that is, that if I’m the one causing it, surely I can work on controlling it.
            I don’t know what 2013 will bring but I’m going to do my best not to let worries about the future steal my present.   I have a long way to go in controlling my worrisome thoughts, but I have to remind myself of the phrase “progress, not perfection.” It took years to build my habit of worrying, and it’s going to take awhile to conquer.

I found the following quote and thought it was appropriate as we enter a new year.  I think it’s better that I don’t know what the future will hold, and it sure won’t do any good to fear what that may be.

I said to a man who stood at the gate of the year,
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into
the unknown.”  And he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than a light
and safer than a known way.”

M. Louise Haskins

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas thoughts

When people ask me what I got for Christmas, I tell them the best gift was having all of my kids home and healthy.  No material gift could be better.  Parents and loved ones of addicts know exactly what I mean. 
            As we all sat together on Christmas day, I kept catching myself staring at my son like I used to when he was a baby.  When he was first placed in my arms after he was born I remember just staring at him, taking in every detail, so thankful that he was healthy.  Here we are 29 years later, and I found myself thinking those same thoughts, but for different reasons.  I was just so happy to have him healthy (sober) and home.  When we went over to my in-law’s house he met relatives that he had never met in the nine years that my husband and I have been married.  He’d never met them because when he was an active addict he was too high to socialize.  I didn’t know that at the time, so deep was my denial.  He gave each of us cards and wrote words in them straight from his heart, which is also something that has rarely happened over the past 10 years.  There was no money left over to spend on cards when he was using.
            He didn’t hook up with any of his old drug buddies, which was a huge relief.  His girlfriend did leave with her brother on Christmas Day, which could have ruined my day if I had let it.  Her brother uses.  I was glad my son didn’t go with them.  I had to make a conscious decision not to obsess over what she and her brother may have been up to.  Whether she chooses to use or not is on my “I am powerless over……” list.  I know very well that if she starts using again, my son will be faced with temptation and he will have to make tough choices.  But, like it or not, I do not control the universe.  That is the Lord’s job and He sees the big picture, while I just see my little corner. 
            So, I pray for strength to stay in the moment and find gratitude in each day that my son is sober.

Lord, give me the gift of faith…
Teach me to live this moment only,
Looking neither to the past with regret,
Nor the future with apprehension.
Let løve be my aim and my life a prayer.

Roseann Alexander-Isham

Friday, December 21, 2012


As Christmas approaches I am filled with mixed emotions.   Holidays have a way of doing that to me.  Thanksgiving went well, and it was such a blessing to have all of my adult kids home.  Both of my daughters make me proud every day, and it was the first Thanksgiving in many years that my son has been clean and sober. For that, I will be forever grateful. I am incredibly proud of him for fighting so hard to turn his life around.
            I’m going to pick my son up tomorrow and he’ll stay with us through the Christmas holiday.  I’m so looking forward to seeing him, yet I have to be always on guard against the anxiety that could easily replace my joy.  This will be the longest period of time he has spent at home since his arrest.  He will have access to his old drug buddies.  He may face temptation.  His girlfriend is in the same situation and will be spending time here too.  She also may be faced with temptation.  Here is where I really have to practice the art of letting go of things I can’t control.  They both know their future lies in their ability to resist the temptations they may face and stay clean. 
            I have watched in amazement as the good Lord has seen fit to work miracles in their lives.  He has shown over and over how much He loves them.  Not only has my son been clean for almost 7 months now, but he has a job, is going to church, and attending 12 step meetings.  Miracles.
            I’m not naïve enough to think the battle is over.  I know my son will have to fight this demon the rest of his life.  For now though, he is clean, and I am thankful.  His future is unknown.  He still has the justice system to answer to and that is in the Lord’s hands too.  Christmas is a reminder of God’s great love for us, and I will hold onto the knowledge that He loves my son even more than I do.
            I continue to pray every day for all of the addicts and the people who love them.