CONTROL: WHAT WE CAN AND CAN’T

photoPersonal note: During a recent Al-Anon meeting, a woman brought in a hula-hoop. She stood, raised it above her head, lowered it to her waist and then dropped it to the floor. “Do you see,” she asked as she pointed to the hula-hoop around her feet, “the space inside the hoop? My sponsor explained that I can control what is inside the hoop. All that is outside the hoop is beyond my control.”

My reaction: This visual of the hula-hoop crystallized in my mind what is controllable in life and what is not. As a mom, I tried for years to control Jeff’s and Jeremy’s behaviors. As Head of School, I felt it was my job to control every aspect of the school. After years of seeing the futility of my actions, the limits of my control started to make sense.

Today’s Promise to consider: Wanting to control situations, especially during the chaos of addiction, is normal. Normal, but impossible. I have control over my behavior and my choices  – the space inside the hula-hoop – but I can’t control the myriad of events outside the hoop. What I can do is continue to hope, stay close to my loved ones and pray for acceptance.

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Pat Nichols
Pat Nichols
9 years ago

What a great analogy. However, notice how easy it is to step outside of the hoop. There is nothing stopping us and the lure of saving our child overwhelms all reason.

What stops us from stepping outside the hoop? A 12 step recovery program with a sponsor and a trusting God who gives us the strength of acceptance.

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
9 years ago

Dear Pat,

What a great comment! It is easy to step outside of the hula hoop, and I’ve done it a million times. Often, I warn myself first, “Stop, Lib,” only to take the step without regard to my own good inner counsel. The 12 steps give me the structure I need, and God gives me the strength.

Jane
Jane
9 years ago

The other analogy that I am reminded of when seeing the visual of a hula hoop is the circle. No end in sight. It goes on forever, therefore chronic. Encircles us, does not infiltrate us unless we bring it into us and give it contact with our bodies. Just my own analogy.
Jane

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

The circle of addiction goes round and round, never stops unless the addict steps outside of it.

The “wanting” to save our child from addiction, goes round and round, until we get so entangled that we MUST step outside of the circle to save ourselves.

JOY
JOY
9 years ago

I Love this! –Hula hoop of hope.
Today, I changed my name from Hope to Joy. Not because I’ve stopped hoping my son might find his way to recovery, but 16 years forces you to change strategies and vision. I’ve decided that inside that hula hoop was the only place I had a chance to find my joy despite the outside being far from what I wished or hoped for. When I pray and work on surrendering to fear –that brings me more than hope,it brings me joy. What a concept, I can find joy inside that circle– even in the midst of sadness and all the conflicted messy feeling that surrounds me outside the hoop –and no matter what happens — as I continue to love a son in active addiction. I love this visual Libby, thank you. I beam love to all who come here. Fighting for joy — no one gets hurt or loses. It is kind of like shadow boxing. Drink lots of water. Breathe and rest.

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

Joy,

I so appreciated your post.

Love,
Barbara

JOY
JOY
9 years ago

Thank you Barbara — it has been a tough few weeks. I’ve been digging deep. My son is so lost and mired in his addiction and life style. I woke up last night with a very bad dream. I read and meditated/prayed and let the fear go.

My love for him cannot hea him but inside my hoop I can find peace, even moments of joy. It blows me away some times to discover that — but knowing I can relax back into the arms of forgiveness and LOVe– matters. Reaching out to others.. offering .. that matters. You have mattered so much in my life and understanding.Your words are wise and healing.

Sometimes, I feel that working with what is instead of what I wish it could be is like a a veil has been lifted from my eyes. The world is on fire as I see it these days. There is so much beauty in the world. It can balance the sadness. Distract if not banish my fear.

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
9 years ago

Dear Joy,

You were once Hope and you are now Joy. Please stay, Hope, as we welcome Joy. Mix them together and, as you write, “The world is on fire…there is so much beauty in the world. It can balance the sadness.”

Bless you for fighting the suffocating strength of addiction. We must continue to take care of ourselves and strive to live in peace and happiness. Barbara, you are a source of inspiration for us! You continue to live and to reach out a hand to help us.

Stay strong, Joy. Dance and lift your hands high. I’ll join you.

With love,

Libby