HAPPINESS: HARD WORK OF THE SOUL

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Son Jeremy and granddaughter Iysa

A mom wrote, For years, I lived in my head and froze my body as if I could keep away the pain of my son’s addiction. But now I dance. It is one way I deal with my emotions, but only one way. Whatever strategies you need, use them. Meditating helps train my mind, and dancing is helping to train my body and soul. Through all of this, I’ve learned that we have a choice to be compassionate, not angry towards the addict and ourselves, a choice to be happy. I still have to work hard at not being afraid and not being sad. But hard work of the soul is maybe why we are here. 

My reaction: I, too, remember years of trying to deal with the trauma of Jeff’s addiction by running and swimming miles, trying to relieve the pain. Like the childhood book Max and the Wild Things, dance allows us to stomp and rage against addiction and then to spin and raise our hands in joy and happiness. My personal journey toward happiness began when I reached out my hand for help. Al-Anon was there, and it still is.

Today’s Promise to consider: Locking ourselves away in pain and hurt doesn’t help our loved ones or us. When dealing with addiction, it can feel impossible to be happy, but today I’ll do the work necessary, the hard work of the soul. I’ll dance and meditate. I’ll run. I’ll pray, attend Al-Anon meetings and talk with a therapist. We owe it to our loved ones and ourselves to find our way toward happiness.

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Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

After my son passed away from this horrible disease, it took years to remember what happiness was. I took years to allow myself to experience (again) what happiness is. It’s really difficult to re-learn how to be happy, too. It takes diligence, patience and time. But, with hard work, it is achievable.

Pat Nichols
Pat Nichols
9 years ago

Happiness takes on a entirely new meaning when you have a chronically addicted child and the evil of the disease begins it’s transformation of you. You will eventually forget what true happiness is but you will find a new happiness, an evil & twisted happiness designed by the disease of addiction.

My new life was forced to filter happiness through the heart of a codependant parent. I was happiest when my son would call and ask for my help because a drug dealer was out to kill him.

My new life required that I be given the opportunity to step in and save my son in order to be “happy.”

Once I found my own recovery through the 12 steps of Families Anonymous I rediscovered what real happiness is.

It was the most incredible experience to feel joy again, to experience true peace and serenity. I had totally forgotten what happiness was.

I pray that all of you who are presently in great pain and have lost the ability to experience happiness will one day find your way back to the life you were meant to have, the life you so richly desevere.

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
9 years ago

Thanks, Pat and Barbara! What wisdom you both share. Addiction suffocates happiness, twists it and (as you both wrote) we forget what it is. In many ways, I used to think that I didn’t deserve to be happy. My son was suffering, my family was suffering, so happiness wasn’t afforded to me. It just wasn’t in my grasp.

Our recovery teaches us that each day is precious and we DO deserve to be happy. Sure, I made mistakes, but I can’t live my life whipping myself into despair. I spent many years in despair, and life passes us by.

We need to seize each day, if not for ourselves then for our family and those we love. We need to break the bonds of this disease.

I continue to pray and to work toward health. My love to you all.

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

Dear Libby,

I forgot to tell you how much I love the picture of Jeremy and his daughter. That picture surely depicts happiness as she dances. Her face is full of happiness, as is Jeremy’s. It brought a huge smile to my face.

Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
9 years ago

Thanks, my dear friend. Fatherhood is good for him, and he adores his baby girl. She has given him a joy beyond anything he’s known. My love to you. Thanks for being here for all of us.

Jane
Jane
9 years ago

Hello Barbara Pat and Libby. I hope this week finds you all well. This weeks blog reminds me of the phrase, ” life is not about finding shelter in the storm Life is learning to dance in the rain. It goes something like that anyways.
We’ve all had to find a way to learn how to find a way to keep living while our loved ones were drinking and drugging their lives away. Although, very difficult, I had to learn how to breathe, how to have a life and how to experience some happiness .. Tincture of time and acceptance has paved the way. Breaking the bonds of this disease meant I got strong with the help of Al Anon..absolutely necessary for me, and a lifesaver. Happy weekend to all

Jane

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
9 years ago

Dear Jane,

Learning to dance in the rain – what a great image. Sometimes I still have to remind myself to breathe. Yes, time helps, and accepting is a big part of experiencing happiness. My love to all.

L