How does life change when your addicted family member becomes clean? Clean time can be really complicated for the family. Complex, trying to figure out how to relate to them NOW. So much time has been used up and focused on coping and surviving and living despite carrying around a terrible terrible "concern" (that word seems ridiculously inadequate) inside of ourselves. Then they get better and its a total shift in our paradigm. Now what?
I can only share my experience and how its playing out for us *this* time. We have been navigating our girls issues and growing through the process for 10, 11, 12 years now. (The first indicators that we may be in trouble probably hit around 12 years ago.....real, undeniable trouble, was raging around us a year later) My point in sharing the time frame is that we have been doing this for a long time. I think that is a factor in how we handle the ups and downs these days vs. how we handled them in those early years.
I have been thinking of the holiday and how we will all be together and I am anticipating it being a lot of fun. My girl is clean and doing all she can do each day to live her life and remain healthy. She is not working a traditional job, enrolled in college, or keeping every moment of every day filled with constructive activities.....instead, what we have, is our beautiful girl working for room and board and a very few dollars, at her rehab house. She is in outpatient treatment, she goes to meetings several times a week, see's her counselor, reads a lot, sleeps a lot, fights off her depression and anxiety that seems to relentlessly nip at her heels despite a cocktail of medications and interventions and carries out her responsibilities at the house. To me....I see a brave person who continues to day by day slodge through the muck to keep living. Always hoping that things will get better. She is honest and courageous in my biased opinion. lol
The past few years she has come in and out of our lives. We have boundaries for when she is not in a good place. I don't see myself ever cutting off contact with her again though, no matter what condition she is in. We did go through that at the counsel of some well meaning program friends...."help her hit bottom by cutting her off. No contact." Yeah....thats just not us. The dad and I came to a place of agreement, she couldn't come home, but we would continue to reach out and see her in neutral places. She recently told me that that had had a huge impact on her. We weren't asking questions anymore, she recognized that she wasn't invited home anymore, there was no big announcement of our new way of doing things, and when we did see her we just loved her. We didn't criticize, we didn't comment on her weight (lack of,) we didn't even bring up being high, what kind of drugs are you on...nothing. We accepted her in whatever form she came to us. It was a God thing.....not anything good or brave or strong in us. God accepts His broken children where they are at and He was asking us to do it too. It was as simple as that. His heart breaks over his sick and broken kids and ours did too.
Here comes the part about how we are handling her life in recovery......kind of a convoluted path to here, but here it comes. We do it the same way we handled the sick child. We accept her as she comes to us. For some reason, right or wrong, I feel like we just pick up where we left off the last time she was clean. We pull her into our circle like no time has passed. She is part of us and its not hard to do. "Oh your working on being healthy.....great! Wanna come to the movies with us?" I have shared that she has never stolen from us, I never went through the locking up my purse or hiding car keys, any of that. She never willfully or without care used us or hurt us. Maybe that makes it an easier transition for us, I don't know. We allow her the dignity to handle her legal issues, her dr. appointments, her treatment.....and if she needs help we trust that she will ask and we can decide then what we can do, if anything.
Today I take everything at face value. I don't spend one minute digging around trying to find some hidden lie or message or motive. I take what is before me. If its not accurate, that will be revealed. I feel like, and trust me, I am as amazed as anyone....I feel like I live my life in a place of total acceptance. I don't know what a day will bring. I am very aware that bad things happen, very very bad, sad and tragic things. But also, really wonderful, happy, lovely things happen too. It can go either way. I have faced some really dark darkness and am still alive and relatively sane and able to live a good life. If it comes again, I will find my way through that.....but I won't waste one minute *waiting* for it to come upon me.
Anyway....kind of a long rambly post. I think what brought it on, was last night my girl met little one to see the 50th anniversary of Dr. Who in 3D. I had gotten a good deal on a couple tickets for little one. It was just the most natural thing, an easy transaction...."you wanna meet her there? I will go and answer emails and return phone calls."
"Yeah, sounds good." And she did...showed up on time, felt bad for little one because they had to sit practically in the front row, (Who knew that Dr. Who was such a big nerdy extravaganza?) then when it was over she delivered her to me at Starbucks and went home to her rehab house and we went home to our house.....hugging and kissing goodbye, "See you Thursday Mom. I get off around 2."
Life goes on either way......
Praying for all who are struggling so much during this time of year. My heart really does go out to all of you....some of you, I read you often, I hope you know who you are.... know that I am focusing love vibes in your direction. Don't lose hope. You are mid-process...that's a very difficult place to be and then add in the "stupid" holidays...you can do it. You are stronger than you know.
Much much love.....