FAMILY: EVOLVING SYSTEMS

Mom Aeriona, Nonna Libby, Iysa, Uncle Jeff, and Papa Jeremy

A mother wrote an email message to me. This is part of it: I struggle with the concept of “family.” When I grew up, holidays centered around family get-togethers. Today, my shattered family does not resemble anything I ever dreamed possible. Holiday times center around my other children, with my addicted son on the fringe. Largely he seems OK with this, but for me as the “Mom” I always feel so torn and split…never whole.

My reflections of the passage: I continue to struggle with the concept of family. With both a divorce and addiction as part of our history, I feared that my children would never feel the comfort of an intact family. Just like the mother above, our holidays have taken on new shapes over the years.

I’m not sure any family is perfect and I know ours certainly is not. That doesn’t stop me from being committed to staying close to my sons and offering my security and presence. One day at a time, we’re learning to accept each other with our faults, forgive past hurts and celebrate our gifts.

Today’s promise to consider: Family systems evolve and change. I’ll hold on to the belief that my family will find a better place, a stronger place, because we survived life’s trials together – and will survive more of them in the future. It is in love and acceptance of each other that we find strength and solidarity.

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Jane
Jane
11 years ago

yes, my concept of family has also suffered. Holidays are not like they used to be. There was always worry about what my troubled son would use when he was active, or how he was feeling and if he would slip when he was trying to be sober. That brought anxiety for me and little joy at holidays. Then there was always the decision about where to celebrate. There was so much sadness associated with my shattered holidays and son over the past 8 years. Now I just try to celebrate simply when possible and find some meaning and joy in simpler ways. Our Family is evolving with all the struggles as well. We won’t give up albeit very difficult during relapse. We are just dealing with that now which cost my son a week in jail after being arrested on a DWAI. It is probably good for him to have had to sit there for a miserable week. Hope has not died yet.

Jane
Jane
11 years ago

The good thing is he committed to going back for more treatment. Hope is still there if he wants to work at it.

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
11 years ago

Dear Jane,

Hope keeps us going. The good news is that your son is committed to going back into treatment. Relapse is so difficult and we as parents live with anxiety and fear of what will be. I’m sorry. Let’s keep each other and our sons in prayer. My love to you.

Libby

Kristen
Kristen
11 years ago

Dear Libby

My name is Kristen and i have been traveling the road of addiction with my oldest daughter. My sister who is a psychologist sent me your book. In short your story is almost parallel to my story. I ironically am headed to Italy at end of June and my daughter who is currently in recovering said you should email Ms Cataldi. That is what prompted me to get on your website. I guess its hope for me to connect with others who have gone through this.

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
11 years ago

Dear Kristen,

Thanks for reaching out to me and please give your daughter my love. Yes, please email me at libby.com and let me know when you’ll be in Florence. I would love to meet you.

Stories of addiction are often parallel and that’s why AA and Al-Anon work so well. Hope keeps us alive.

My love to you. See you in June!

Libby