LEARNING THROUGH SUFFERING (Part 3)

Our family is growing and learning, for ourselves and for baby Iysa.

A mother wrote to me: My daughter, addicted to heroin when she was fifteen, is still struggling with her recovery at eighteen. I can distinctly remember my response to crisis and insanity: justification, enabling, making excuses, detaching, not detaching, hurt, anger, love, hate and feelings that I had failed as a mother.

Working my program through Al-Anon has shown me that I can be a leader, an example and a student, all at the same time. I am not expected to be perfect. I am learning to judge people less often, enjoy moments of appreciation for little things, connect with and delight in nature, give and receive unconditional love, pray for people who make me angry, instead of yelling – sometimes!, be grateful often, and acknowledge that I’ve been blessed. I am thankful for my growth in Al-Anon.

My reaction to the above: When faced with an addiction or any trauma, it’s hard to stay grateful, but this mother’s words reinforce what Dr. MacAfee and Dr. Grant say: Suffering can be redemptive and transformative.

Today’s Promise to consider: I will be grateful for this day and I will accept hardship as an opportunity to grow. If I slip, it’s OK. I’m not expected to be perfect and I can try again. Learning is a lifetime journey.

 

 

 

 


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Jane
Jane
10 years ago

I can relate wholeheartedly with this passage. I am many roles too at one time. A leader at work and a student moments later. We are all on this journey of life with all of us being incomplete and unfinished. We are works in progress on this continuum. Along the same line, I may be having a good week when something happens to set me back into a “relapse” of old behaviors and I have to relearn some old lessons, or focus on a step I may have mastered a while ago. It happens to all of us.
I find I am very grateful and appreciative of simple things now.That comes from being in Hell already and knowing what heaven looks like.
Thank you again Libby
Jane

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

Dear Jane, what a powerful message. I can also relate to Libby’s passage. I have accepted hardship to help me grow. And, I continue to grow each and every day/week with help from people like you, who have been through the same kind of hell. You are right, we are all works in progress.

I am grateful for each day that I have, and appreciate the small things, too. I try to never take anything for granted and try not to judge anyone.

Dear Libby, I can truly attest that suffering and trauma can be redemptive and transform a person. I am that person.

Thank you so much for starting and continuing this forum. It is so healing. Thanks to everyone who participates. You are all so special to me.

With lots of love,
Barbara

Jane
Jane
10 years ago

Hello Barbara
Yes Libby’s forum for us is very healing. We heal when we suppor eachother, validate eachother’s struggles and deelings, and we learn from eachother. The way the ocean smooths out the sand,and the same way the sun stresses our skin and adds wrinkles, we are being transformed by life
Love you
Jane

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Jane and Barbara,

Addiction changes life, suffocates life and traumatizes all of us involved, including the addict. I had cancer, but I was surrounded by love and support. People understood cancer as illness and they rallied around me to help, take me to the hospital and love me through it. When Jeff’s addiction beat me into the ground, no one was there. No one knew what to do or say. I can’t even blame them – I didn’t ask for help. I hid with my shame. I didn’t know what to do, or say, or how to help myself let alone how to help Jeff.

Suffering shapes us and is ‘redemptive and transformative.’ But we have to accept suffering and allow it to do its work. I still have a hard time with this. I still fight the suffering. Sometimes I try to punch it out of my life and other times I roll into a ball to protect myself. I’m still learning. With each meditation, with each conversation, I’m learning with you.

Jane, your words hit me as very true: We know both hell and heaven. Emily Dickinson had it right when she wrote, “Parting is all we know of heaven, And all we need of hell.”

Love to you both,

L

Sarah
Sarah
10 years ago

Today (at mass) I heard… “before one finds faith, one finds despair”. Mentally wasn’t really there and had other things on my mind but definitely heard that one.

darby Logan
darby Logan
10 years ago

Hi All,

I am struggling each day to find joy in this new world of recovery. My recovery as a mother who thought she knew her child, and the recovery journey of my son……who is at the very beginning of his new normal. I do not want to be here, but this is where my child will live the rest of his life…if we are lucky. We both stand in frustration everyday as we try to remember all the steps we should be working on.

Bitterness is creeping in. I am writing to people I do not even know. This is how anxious I am. Thank you for this place where my words can be released. Darby

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Sarah,

What a powerful message, “Before one finds faith, one finds despair.” Such a hard concept for me, but I understand. A dear friend once said to me, “We don’t learn when everything in our life is fine, when we are standing upright and all is well. We learn when we are knocked to the ground and have to get back up.” I join you in learning.

My love to you,

L

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Darby,

Addiction suffocates life. It wants to rob us of our joy, our children and our very lives. Yes, bitterness creeps in along with resentment, anger, frustration and betrayal. We rail against the addiction and it does us no good. We see our family suffer and we can’t stop it. We are powerless. It all hurts so very much.

My saving grace was Al-Anon. Only there did I find a place where I could hear stories that gave me hope and that helped me find compassion for myself and my son. The folks in Al-Anon lent me their strength until I could find my own.

My love to you. Glad you wrote.

L