In their book Stories of the Spirit, Jack Kornfield and Christina Feldman tell this story: A family went out to a restaurant for dinner. When the waitress arrived, the parents gave their orders. Immediately, their five-year-old daughter piped up with her own, “I’ll have a hot dog, french fries and a Coke.” “Oh no you won’t,” interjected the dad, and turning to the waitress he said, “She’ll have meat loaf, mashed potatoes, milk.” Looking at the child with a smile, the waitress said, “So, hon, what do you want on that hot dog?” When she left, the family sat stunned and silent. A few moments later the little girl, eyes shining, said, “She thinks I’m real.”
My reflection: When my son was in active addiction, there were few people who realized or understood my pain. In truth, I was closed and defensive during those years, and I didn’t want anyone to see my ‘real’ suffering.
Today’s Promise to consider: Addiction is cloaked in silence and shame – feelings that isolate us. The antidote is to reach out a hand to others. In Al-Anon, I found a safe place to be honest about my feelings, to share hard stories about my loved one, and to talk about my sadness and hurt. There, in the halls, I wasn’t alone. I felt real.