Monday, August 25, 2014

The Giver

Little one and I went to see the movie The Giver which is based on the book by Lois Lowry. Its a young adult book so I don't know how many of you would have read it...."my girl" read it when she was in middle school and was so upset by it. I remember her crying and saying that it shouldn't be allowed in schools, "Its just too disturbing!" There is a part in the story where they inject the "imperfect" newborn babies in the head with a poison that kills them. I had just had "little one" and I think the idea of anyone doing anything to hurt a little baby was too much for her. I remember around the same time, Molly accidentally seeing a horrible story on the news about a 3 year old beaten and killed by his mom's boyfriend. She burst into tears and said, "We would have taken him! He could have lived here with us!"  I think they were all old enough when I had "little one" to understand how fragile a new little life is and how much it deserves to be cherished and protected.

So anyway, back to The Giver.....I loved it! It was such a powerful story about a community that has had all feelings, memories, color, emotions, socioeconomic status removed. They created a community where everyone was the same, so there was no jealousy, no harsh feelings or criticisms or judgements. It was a perfectly controlled and "safe" world. Each morning the residents received an injection that took away their feelings. No falling in love, no sadness, no joy, and no fear. 

A young man, Jonas, was given the position by the elders to become the receiver of memories. The Giver (Jeff Bridges) was an old man who would transfer the memories over to him. He chose Jonas because he saw a hope that Jonas would be strong enough to do what it took to release them from the burden of this perfection that they lived under. This burden of nothing being real, not feeling, nothing being authentic. However, the head elder (Meryl Streep) was terrified of losing the control. Of opening up the world of feelings to the community members and risk something painful happening.

Jonas began to see the beauty in all of the memories he was being allowed to see. The pain, the imperfection, the vibrant colors, the joy, the messiness, and he realized that they all had been missing something that was vital to their lives, to them each living a real and unique life. Not just existing.

I won't tell you the ending.....

Little one and I talked about it all the way home....ok, it was me talking and her listening! Think of all the ways we numb ourselves and take away our ability to feel. We build emotional walls around ourselves, we distract ourselves with being too busy, with looking at the flaws in other people's lives instead of our own, we use drugs, we drink alcohol, we spend money, we exercise like fanatics, we eat, we watch TV, we do everything but stop and take a good long look at our reality. We MISS out on all of the beauty in the broken parts because we are afraid the broken parts will hurt too much, so we avoid, we dodge, we look away.....and we miss out on so so much because it feels safer to us than to stand still and just feel the broken shards stabbing into our flesh, into our spirits. We don't understand that if we will only look at it, feel it, experience all of what it holds over us,  it will only be temporary. The pain will subside. The broken parts will be stripped of their power over our lives because we shined light on them, we stood up boldly and acknowledged their presence and said, "Yes, there you are, but you do not make up all of me. You are only a portion of what I am made of."

Life is so messy. So imperfect. So not what most of us expected. However, to experience the good, we have to be willing to live through the bad. Not just exist with eyes squeezed shut, but to really live through it and feel it. The only way I have been able to be even remotely successful is to let go of other people's lives and let them live out their own choices. The truth of the matter is that I understand that head elder. I get being so afraid that everything will fall apart that you would rather live in a rigid, black and white, no feeling world. I have had enough years now of learning how to embrace our brokenness and allowing my God to be my comforter and putter back together-er that I see a lot of color these days, a lot of love and compassion, and room for imperfection without it meaning that my world is coming to an end. But heading back into my hiding place is always an option if I let it be. Today I choose to close the door on that place of perceived safety....big brave talker that I am. lol 

Much much love to you all.....
Annette (who is always praying for all of us.)

Friday, August 22, 2014

So much to say I can't find the words!

Does that mean I am speechless? No....of course not!  There are just some things that I can't put into words right now, so I am not going to even try.

Last night the dad and I claimed a night for ourselves and went to see a guitarist in a small cafe. You would not believe the obstacles we faced just to have a few short hours on a Thursday night. But we pushed on and we went and we had fun. Even if it almost killed us! The young man is my clients nephew and I have to say that it was so nice to see this young person, up on stage sharing his own personal compositions with us and telling us about his life in college where he majors in music. He shared his plans for after graduation, to get his masters and become a professor of music. It was just so awesome. He has a passion, and a plan, and he is motivated to make it all happen. No one is leading him along....he is doing it! He said he goes to sleep listening to classical music. He gave up his football career/full ride scholarship to follow his dream. I just loved it all so much.

I have backed out of my girls life. Not a shunning or a rejection, but a stepping aside and letting it all play out the way it will. The dad is not able to do that yet so when she leaves for days at a time he is texting her and calling her and wanting to know the plan. I know what it feels like to be so afraid and to be grasping at any little thread of control you think you might see. I suggested that we stop calling, texting, and waiting for her and just let go and let it all play out. Then we can make a decision based on the true outcome of her choices, not on her behavior that has been pushed and manipulated and molded by our constant attempts at controlling her. The dad is really struggling and is not interested in my "help." Imagine! So I am treading lightly and doing my own thing. 

I have been meeting with my new sponsor and I just love her. She is comforting and understands and brings so much clarity as we talk things through.

My son invited me to go on a hike with his new-ish girlfriend last weekend. I have only spent little bits of time with her so far.....but I just adore her. All I can say is that she emanates peace and calm and I think that is what attracts my big boy to her. Things have been strained between he and I so it was really so special that he sought me out and initiated the day together. I wouldn't have missed it for anything! We went on a 9 mile hike to this house.

 

 It was such a beautiful day.... We walked 4.5 miles along the left side of this bay, that led us to the house and the beach where we had lunch. Then back out again. Only some rolling hills. No mountain climbing. It was so great.....I wish I could go out and do that every single day. Think of how thin I would be! lol Its a great escape though!

Keep praying for us.....we need it desperately, and I am praying for all of you.
Annette


Thursday, August 14, 2014

I'm still here.....

Just working like a busy bee and school started yesterday for little one. Will update soon. So much is going on in our world....thank God for my anti-depressant! lol I feel so much better than I did a month ago.

Bless us all and lets keep hunting down our serenity and resting in it as much as is possible. ;o)
Annette




Saturday, August 2, 2014

Facing ourselves

Facing ourselves isn't just for our addicted loved ones. Its for all of us. I think we all at various times go through the peeling back of layers that shows us what is underneath our actions and our feelings and as horrifying and painful and frightening as that can be....it can also be what leads us to our liberation from the bondage of self.

If I live my life relying on my best thinking I end up so lost. I get myself mixed up in other people's business because it makes me feel important, like I have a purpose to serve. Someone needing me feeds my waning self worth and all of a sudden....I matter! That is ugly, weak, putrid....but I bet I'm not alone.

When I can look head on at the things in my life that didn't turn out the way I thought they would, I can feel that heartbreak, that disappointment, guilt, shame, responsibility....I can feel all of that, I can put it all into perspective and find the reality of the circumstances, whats really my part and what I can let go of? What can I make amends for? Can I forgive myself? Can I let go of the grudge I hold against myself for not knowing how to make all of this better? How to be better? Can I begin to take steps to learn new ways to do life? Better ways? More healthy for myself and those I love? Can I look at the facts of our circumstances and acknowledge whats mine and whats not? Because there are parts that are not mine to carry. I think as the parents, especially the moms, we love to carry as much as we can because then we feel useful. We are doing SOMETHING to save our kids, our family. So we burden ourselves down with an impossible weight of responsibility. "But look! I'm doing everything in my power to save your life!" Poor martyr me.

There is freedom in looking at ourselves and being honest about what is there. Not dwelling there, not building a cave and burying ourselves there...but looking at it all and then *letting it go.*

Today I will do better. I will love myself despite my imperfections, despite my character defects, despite my flaws and poor judgement at times....and I will ask for help to see a clearer path. The healthier I become, the more attention is focused on my own journey and maintaining my health in every way...the more free my family becomes to focus on themselves and their own health. We become co-travelers....not just a tangled up ball of arms and legs and jabbing elbows and big feet rolling all through town causing chaos everywhere we go. We can walk together, allowing each one to go at his or her own pace. We can respect each others journey. Even when its not pretty or not falling into the parameters that we deemed correct and acceptable.

But first we have to face ourselves.

Help us God. Give us the courage and bathe us in your grace and acceptance.
Always praying for all of us.
Annette


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Just do it.....

We called Teen Challenge yesterday, on an information gathering mission. I had them on speaker and my girl sat next to me. She shared a little bit of her story and why she felt she needed their program....then I asked about medications. "We don't allow any medications. We believe that God has the power to heal them of any and all ailments."

Whoa.....

I said, "Ok. I can understand that. I hear what you are saying, but that is a scary leap to make." No anti-depressants, nothing for anxiety, and certainly no Suboxone. I asked about vitamins....those are a  no-go also.

Let me start with....I DO believe in the healing power of God. I really do. But I also believe in a process. I believe that process is different for every person. I believe that there are many Christians who take medications for all sorts of ailments and they are NOT out of God's will for their lives. I believe in walking along someone in their process....gently and in love. Working toward a goal. Of course the argument could be made that that method has not been very successful for us...but its still what I believe. I think that we all have the responsibility of responding to our process too. 

We would need to have a Dr. wean my girl off of all prescribed medications prior to entering treatment. Does God heal her as she crosses over the threshold of their doorway? What if that doesn't happen and she started sinking into a depression......would they pray for her revival as she hung from the closet rail?

I explained that her mental health issues were the pre-cursor to her drug use. There is a long family history of mental health issues with depression and anxiety. "We believe in the healing power of God."

After we got off the phone, I felt like, "Ok thats not it. Thats not the answer." I also felt like, its time for her to decide to just do it. She doesn't need another program. She is IN a program right now. She knows recovery, she needs to APPLY the principles of recovery in her life. If she wants to be clean then she needs to do what it takes to make that happen. In my new book The Privileged Addicts he talks a lot about doing the right thing. Again and again and again and it began to change him.  "Something mystical (spiritual) happened." As he chose he was given the tools he needed to do each day. I believe that.....we are given what we need when we need it. Its those initial choices, those first steps toward something new that are so hard and so terrifying.

Somehow, these ideas, these awareness's feel so simple and so right to me and I feel ok about it all. Relieved. I work my program. I do what I need to do to the best of my ability every day to live a clean and honest life, a surrendered life. That is my little plot to tend. Thats it. Thats all I get to dig around in.

God show us the way......
Annette


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Beauty in a day.....

Thank you for all of your very kind comments and for not telling me what I should do next. Sometimes choosing to do nothing is something. We will see how it all plays out. The dad and I both said to each other that we don't know what to do anymore..."so maybe we stand still for a minute and see what happens." They tell you if you are lost in the woods, stay in one place.

I so appreciate knowing that you all are out here reading and that you care about me and my family and that you pray for us or think good thoughts....me, just a stranger out here in the world trudging along like everyone else.

I feel at peace right now just being still, for today. 

The beauty I have been able to see today in my world.....

We have a massive forest fire burning in our area. Today I went to our Red Cross evacuation site to donate some supplies and I was so blessed by what I saw there. My little community is amazing! So many responded by dropping everything and came immediately to the evacuation centers to direct traffic, accept the donations, make meals, show the evacuees where to go to rest and get something to eat... people were posting online that their horse trailers were hitched and ready to pick up and transport horses, there were many offers to shelter animals both large and small. In the middle of my drama, good people are rising to the occasion all around me.


This big guy came to help us today.

I spent the day back to school shopping with little one and her best friend and her family. Little one was so careful to stay within the budget I gave her. I saw grace and consideration in her today. I spotted a shirt on our way out of one store and said how cute it was and she replied, "Yeah I really liked that too, but I was already at my limit." I told her to get it anyway.....we weren't too far past our limit. I just love the person she is turning into. Refuses all makeup, no pierced ears, just wants to be natural.....I hope she stays this way.

A reader here, Liz, showed some of us mom's over to a blog called The Privileged Addict. He says exactly what he thinks and could be construed as almost abrasive.....but the thing I absolutely love about his writing is he is all about taking full personal responsibility and about doing whatever work we as individuals need to do to be healthy.....spiritually, physically, and mentally. I ordered his book and am reading that. His focus thus far is the 12 steps and the need for a spiritual awakening. His belief is that addiction is a spiritual problem. He says, "I can't simply remove my addiction. I must replace it with something as powerful as the addiction itself. And I discovered that by taking consistent right action, something quite mystical occurs.

I also have been reading Beyond Addiction and to preface my opinion, I have to say I am not very far into it, page 21, and it could be the place I am in personally right now....but I feel like its ridiculous. So far the examples given have been short term addictions, or alcohol addictions. I know....addiction is addiction, but a kid with a needle in their arm (especially MY kid) is somehow more alarming to me than a housewife who drinks too much wine each night. (No offense intended to my beautiful blogger friends who were wine drinkers...I love you all and you know who you are. I think the roots are similar but you all are on a slow boat and my girl is on a freaking Lear Jet.)  The first 21 pages focus on ways that we can *help* our addicts, by communicating gently and in kindness,  "For some addicts, moderation is a reasonable and viable goal that leads to eventual total abstinence." I will learn here, how to recognize, reward, invite, and support turns for the better.

I've worked so hard at learning how to let go but love unconditionally. How the hell do I let go, love unconditionally, but also recognize, reward, invite and support turns for the better, but not enable!? It is such a quandary and always such a fine line we are walking. That last sentence above exhausted me just by reading it. But wait.....as I was just looking through this book, I realized I'm not even out of the introduction yet. So maybe it will get better.

Anyway, I have a long work week ahead of me. I always find it interesting that when things get tough here, work picks up and I am removed from the equation. God's protection for all of us. lol

God we invite you to walk with us and give us YOUR wisdom, because our own fails us so often.
Bless us all.....
Annette

Friday, July 25, 2014

Back in the game

I have known for more than a week that we were back in the game of active addiction. I haven't wanted to post because to be quite honest, I don't want to hear what I "should" be doing. I feel like the lover whose partner was having an affair and everyone knew but her. I knew....but I kept hoping. What can I say.....I am her mother first, before anything else I am her mother.

I've been doing this a long long time and I know what my options are. The dad and I will figure it out yet again. Treatment is no longer an option.....at least through our insurance. She used up all of her chances there. We have no money left so anything she wants to do will be on her.

It used to be that she was young enough that she could regain the time she has lost. She is getting older now though. She hasn't worked, hasn't gone to school, and its becoming harder and harder to think about her having a "late start" by launching forward at some point. What would she tell a prospective employer about the past 9 years of unemployment? How do you account for that lost time? Of course a job has always been the least of our concerns.

I got tangled up in a debate about Ibogaine on another mom's blog. I think what really makes me sad is the desperation we all feel to save our children. We would spend our last dime on flying them to some remote part of the world to be given a root that supposedly resets their brain and "cures" them of addiction. Maybe its true, and if it is and its being kept from our U.S. families due to "big pharma" and our children are dying... its a crushing thought. On so many levels. Flying our girl to another part of the world for treatment.....we might as well be asked to find a way to fly her to the moon at this point. Its gone on too long, we've used up every resource.

God show us the way.... we need you.
Annette