The son of a recovering addict wrote: My mom found her sobriety after she had me. She said that she wanted a better life for herself and for me. She told the story of how she tried to walk out of rehab the first night when a big fella named Norman put his hand on her shoulder and turned her around. I remember thinking because Norman was a giant dude that he was able to keep my mom in rehab and that we were lucky for that.
Norman and my mom remained friends. He would come over to the house for coffee and they would talk. Now that I am older I understand that we were lucky, not for Norman’s size, but that he was able to start a dialogue with mom that kept her in rehab and it was constant throughout her recovery. Mom lived the rest of her life continuing that dialogue with other addicts, getting them into rehab and guiding them through recovery, just as Norman did for her.
My reflection on the passage: Jeff says, “Anything that shuts down dialogue is dangerous.” The young man above and I think this is absolutely correct. Honest communication is critical in recovery and in life. The Big Book says that recovery can be found only in rigorous honesty.
Today’s Promise to Consider: Open and honest dialogue is an essential first step is achieving healthy relationships with others and with ourselves. The young man above wrote, “Dialogue is to an addict’s recovery as fire is to man’s survival. Without it I wouldn’t have had a sober mom.”
Your post brought to mind an experience I had early in my sobriety. There was a guy at meetings, and older guy, with some sobriety time, who would always talk, sometimes starting off in a rambling kind of way, and those of us who had prepared a riff on the nights topic in our heads and were chomping at the bit to display our great wisdom would get a bit impatient with Jim. Then one night, I decided that I would pass, and he told me, “Always talk”. Now I understand a bit more of how talking allows me to name stuff inside me that I hadn’t named before, so keep the dialogue going. Mike
I always talk at Al Anon meetings. In the beginning I couldn’t stop talking. Talking and talking with others who understand the journey is essential to our recovery. Holding it in, silence, secrecy,keeping it behind closed doors…..perpetuates the illness just like for the addict. We are all sick with this disease and must share, be in program, and do service. It’s what gets us well.I know that’s how I got well
Thanks for sharing your experience. Your story brought to mind a story that Jeff told me: During an AA meeting, there was an ‘old timer’ who sat quietly. When he finally spoke, he banged his cane on the floor and said, “God’s will will be done.” That was it – just that simple. Jeff said that he learned that talking and listening were important and that he didn’t have to say much, but that what was important was dialogue. As you write, “allows me to name stuff inside me that I hadn’t named before.” Lovely.
My best to you,
I agree with you. As they say in AA, “We’re as sick as our secrets.” It was hard for me to share at first – I was so ashamed, scared and felt alone. But once the talking started, so did the healing. Let’s keep each other and our families in prayer.
I spoke with a good friend of mine today. There is a family member of hers suffering with the disease and the mother is the second victim. She is suffering because she won’t talk about it, due to shame and stigma. How sad. If all of those who isolate could just know how much talking and listening in the rooms helps the healing start. But no one can force a solution on another. I can just pray for her. Dialogue is important.
Thanks for helping us all to have dialogue on your site Libby!
You are absolutely correct: No one can force a solution on another. I couldn’t force Jeff to change or anyone in my family. I had a tough enough time trying to change my own behavior and it took me fourteen years! Prayer and dialogue. Love you!!!