In talking with parents of young people who are struggling with addiction, I hear some common themes. Most of us do not allow ourselves much down time, because we need to be ready and on guard for any pending calamity. That takes energy. A lot of energy. I typically hear that parents feel "heavy," "no energy," "dragged down," "like I'm walking in quick sand," "I'm going through the motions of life."
I also hear a lot of parents resorting to food to comfort themselves. God forbid they too, numb themselves with anything that would debilitate them from being ready to pounce into action if need be.
It's so sad of course and I am so guilty myself of feeling and getting lost in many of the same emotions and behaviors. Living with active addiction in our lives, even if from a distance, is EXHAUSTING.
So what is the solution? I don't know about for everyone, but for me, choosing to STOP masquerading as "normal" was a gigantic first step for me. I am not normal. Nothing about my life is normal. It is filled with intricacies and nuances that are solely just mine. No one else has my exact history, my exact experiences... And that holds true for each of us. So I guess we all share that one fact....we all have our individual histories and stories that make us unique, but the fact that we share that one unique truth, makes it normal! We are normal in our uniqueness.
We can circle back around to the same old messages that we have heard about the oxygen mask on the airplane, and we have to take care of ourselves in order to help others.....but what if we take care of ourselves just because we deserve to be taken care of? Because I deserve to have some peace in my life? Because God has a plan and a purpose for me, as an individual autonomous child of His, and I want to carry it out and live in His plan, because one thing I have learned through the years is that when I am living in His plan, according to His purposes, I am ok. I am at peace. No matter what storm is swirling around me.
I recently heard a speaker at a speaker meeting for an unnamed program in an unnamed area (protecting their anonymity) who spoke in his slow, calm, manner (someone called him boring after the meeting.....I called him soothing) about surrendering his will. He spoke of the dynamic of letting go in order to receive what he had needed all along, but hadn't even known he needed until his needs began to be met. How absolutely terrifying it was initially, but once he got into his surrendering/letting go groove, his life was given back to him in incremental amounts....just what he could manage. If he needed to stop and wait and catch his breath, that was ok. There was no rush, no pressure, for things were unfolding exactly the way they had always meant to. His job was to be patient, to let it play out, to not rush ahead and try to piece everything together, but to trust the process and his Higher Power. It is in that place of being, of resting, of letting all that was his reality lay out there in front of him, the good, the bad, the embarrassing, the ugly....that he found his freedom to live again in the purpose that God had set up for him so long ago.
So how do we find our way to that place of mindfulness with God and life and being? How do I care for myself on a deep level....I am not talking bubble baths. I am talking life sustaining, for the long haul, sustenance. For me, because my experience is all I have to go on....scary, I know! But for me, the times I am the most at peace are when I have chosen to slow my life way down and hunker into God's covering. Surrender to my need for someone stronger and wiser and more all knowing than myself. When I choose to take those moments for meditation, to not fill every waking moment of my schedule, to trust that all is exactly as it is supposed to be at this very moment....even when it seems unfathomable that that could be true. Trust, faith, is believing in something bigger than myself, even when I can't see it. Believing that my needs will be met...emotionally, physically, spiritually.
So on we go, one day at a time, choosing to make ourselves a priority because we matter. We are not just the parent of a lost child....we still have ourselves, our inner being, our personality, our likes and dislikes, that all matter. We matter, if for no other reason, than that we too are a child of God and He see's us.
Take good care of your precious selves.
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."
John 14: 26 - 27