Tuesday, July 2, 2013

So I am thinking....

what I am working my way through is just where I am at personally with my daughter. There are elements of the harm reduction model that strike me as beautifully compassionate. What I am realizing right now is that I am not as afraid as I used to be. I am not angry anymore. (Well, except for my little upset a couple weeks ago) But overall speaking, I don't go around mad about our circumstances and riddled with fear anymore. I had so many years of that.

Not being angry or fearful has left room for me to be compassionate. I agree with Signe....in that I have thought us having our girl home with us, even though she is not a poster child for NA, is a form of harm reduction. We do have our limits though and if shady drug dealers were being brought around, if she was actively using needles in or around our home, if she was bringing constant drama, if she was constantly nodding off and behaving like an active drug addict....she couldn't be there. The difference this time is that I don't think I will ever cut off contact with her. We have done that and it didn't do anything. This last burst of awfulness (prior to this last round of treatment) brought us to a place of saying she couldn't come home, even to visit, but we could go to her. And we did. Her dad, bless his heart, would invite her to have lunch with him at his job in their on site restaurant or dinner after work. I would meet her for coffee or a meal when I was down in her area. Those were usually
challenging visits but so important.

The message was, "You are still our girl. We are here when you are ready." Without ever saying any of that. We set out to quietly love her while she lived her life in all of its horror....at least from our perspective.

This is just where I am at today and we can call it whatever we want.... however there is something in the harm reduction model that resonates with me, that strikes me as beautiful. I don't know that I could take it to the lengths that some do....but the act of compassion to someone who is bound up feels right to me. What that compassion will look like will vary from person to person, it will change with the always changing circumstances in our kids lives, and it doesn't negate the need for boundaries. However what I have learned is that boundaries can be set and carried out in love. I was so afraid in the early years that my boundaries came across as anger, rejection, shunning....I don't ever want to go back to that place. I have gotten very good at setting boundaries if I do say so myself! lol I have learned how to say what I mean, mean what I say, but don't say it mean. And the biggest element of that was allowing her response to my boundary be hers. I don't need to try to anticipate what it will be, or head it off, or cushion anything to avoid a blow up. The boundary is mine, the response is hers.

Ok, I will stop droning on about this. This is something that has really been in me, on me, and I am putting the pieces together for myself.  Thanks for all of the comments and ideas....and for allowing me the space to do this here. God knows, I couldn't do it in an Alanon meeting! lol My sponsor would get it though.

Bless us all......


SoberMomWrites said...

I have loved reading you make your way through this and I want to thank you. During this process you have made me look differently at how I "manage" my niece. She's not an addict or alcoholic but she has all of the mental disorders that my mother and sister had/have. They are challenging for me because, as my child, I can't just cut her off as I have with my sister. She's a part of my heart...it's not that easy.

So I'm learning to set boundaries. To tell her how I'm feeling and why and then let her think and believe any way she chooses. I can't, nor do I want to control her reactions. I can only love her.

And thanks to this recent series of blog posts from you, I now have a new tool in my toolbox...compassion. I have compassion and I'm so willing to shower her with it. I don't think it will have any affect but really, that's not my business either. I just have to set boundaries and love her the best way I'm able.

Thank you for you,

Signe said...

"I have learned how to say what I mean, mean what I say, but don't say it mean." That should be a poster. Excellent. I am not there yet. I still talk in code. "How do you feel today?" code for: Are you thinking of drinking? Words like that. I have to break the code and just say what I mean. I, too, am not so angry anymore. Resentment creeps in, but anger has begun to fade. "Lean not on your own understanding." Because I will never understand why this all had to happen, I have to keep repeating that in my head. Also, your writing today made me think, too, that I've been told that you can't control the person with an addiction, that they'll do what they're going to do and will quit when they want to, so...why not keep them in a safe place until they decide to quit. Also, having you around as an influence (by your healthy actions) and to be there for conversation--even if it is only a kind, "Good morning" who's to say that those experiences won't be the life-saving rope that they can choose to grab onto. I think this is wonderful, Annette, what you are thinking about and sharing here.

Syd said...

I think that you have to do what feels "right" and true. If that means that you meet up with her or that you don't have her in your home, then that is between you and your HP. I do believe in compassion and love for those who are sick and suffering. I also know that I have to take care of myself as well. It's a fine line sometimes.