STAYING IN GRATITUDE: PART I

Jeff and niece Iysabella

Jeff and niece Iysa

A mother wrote, My son is in active addiction. Last year, one day before Thanksgiving, he called home asking if he could come the next day to our family dinner. I asked everyone, including his brothers, and we all agreed we wanted him here. He brought flowers: two for me, and two for each of his grammas. I am grateful that our family was able to see that even though my son was in the throes of addiction and all the ugliness that goes with it, our son and his heart were still there.

My reflection: This entry reminds me of the time when I had a bilateral mastectomy and Jeff, still in active addiction, wanted to help me. For as chaotic as his life was then, I decided to find something positive in that moment, the humanity still present inside this child of mine. I asked him to wash my hair in the kitchen sink because I couldn’t raise my arms above my head. He washed, dried and styled my hair. He asked me if he had done a good job. I wrote:

I could see in his face the concerted effort this task required of him, but he never gave up. My son, my chameleon son, this was the tender child I remembered, the kid I knew, and I wondered how could such kindness be contrasted with such self destruction; the polarity, the duplicity was undeniable. But I looked at my boy who was now a young man and I replied, with a smile, “Yes, Jeff, it’s perfect. Better than my hairdresser in fact.” He returned my smile, going along with this loving game, played with a hair dryer and a brush.

Today’s Promise to consider: Beauty is all around us, but we need to open our eyes and our hearts to see it. Within the beauty, there is hope. Today, I choose to stay in gratitude.

 

 

 

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Pat Nichols
Pat Nichols
8 years ago

My son gave me so many opportunities to be grateful just like the one described in Libby’s post and I denied myself those moments of joy. I filled the moments with anger, fear and frustrations.

I was overwhelmed with grief and despair. It controlled me. I was but a puppet controlled by the disease of addiction.

I thank God everyday for 12 step programs like Al-Anon, Families Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery.

I thank God also for the sponsor who guided me out of the darkness so I could once again see the beauty of the life I was meant to have.

I thank God for all the support I have received in my own journey to recovery.

May we all find the gratitude, peace and serenity we each so richly deserve.

JOY
JOY
8 years ago

Wise words , deep love, ever grateful. Love, prayers to all.

Jane
Jane
8 years ago

I have had moments where I was able to detach enough to see the disease and separate it from the struggling, sick person that my son was. I also have had long stretches of overwhelm, and anger and despair that made being with my son too difficult. I have never stopped loving. But tough love and ceasing to enable can appear harsh, especially to one not in full recovery.
I wonder how I appear to him. I wonder how he perceives my decisions to ask him to leave our house.
It is a disease that steals so m uch. I am grateful we still have the opportunity for more chances and more chapters. The book is not finished and there is always hope for a better tomorrow.
Pat,, like you, I too am grateful for AlAnon!
With love to all
Jane

Sue
Sue
8 years ago

With Christmas upon us one of the things I have struggled with is what I would do if my daughter were to call and ask to come home for Christmas dinner. I don’t expect to hear from her and part of me doesn’t’ want to deal with the addictive behavior but with all these years this could be the first Christmas without her and that is hard to imagine.
These posts gave me the answer I have been looking for. Deep down inside is my beautiful daughter and I need to remember that and cherish the moments we have together. Family has always meant so much to her and I hope that she can find moments of clarity to come and enjoy the love we have to give her. I will also remind myself to have patience and understanding while maintaining detachment to help her through her journey.

Libby
Libby
8 years ago

Dear Pat,

Your reflections hit hard in honesty and love. Thank you so much. “I was but a puppet controlled by the disease of addiction.” I, too, was a puppet controlled by addiction. We need to find our peace, for ourselves and for others.

Jane, Yes, the disease steals so much and, as you write, the book is not finished. As one of my friends told me, “I can’t write a new beginning, but I can write a new ending.” We are always learning and growing.

Sue, I believe there are no answers with addiction. You’ll know what to do when the time is right. We each make this walk in hope and love. I’ll join you in prayer that your daughter comes home to herself. I remember the first Christmas neither Jeff or Jeremy came home. The chaos in our lives was suffocating. Pray.

Love you all,

L

Lisa
Lisa
8 years ago

My 30 year old son returned home from 16 months of federal prison 2 days ago and is now under home confinement for next 2-3 months. I am so grateful that he has made it to this point. But this has been overwhelming and is going to take time for all of us to adjust to this change. He always had a kind and loving spirit but his addiction controlled him. I pray that he will have the strength to move forward with his life and not revert back to his old self-destructive habits. I am scared but I am trying to have faith. But today I am overjoyed just to have him back in our lives and clean and sober.

JOY
JOY
8 years ago

Lisa, Sue, I read your words with tears falling –Lisa you are so VERY brave and I send my prayers. I understand your fear. I also rejoice with you having your son back. My son will be spending Christmas in jail and I am trying not to think of this — one day at a time. He is clean and following a program and when he gets out — maybe February — this time –we have not offered our home. This was so very hard for us. We had him twice in the past two years for five months only to have him disappear and end up where he is. He is 32. He was using on and off when he was here- saying he wasn’t — and we ALL suffered so. So, we told parole services no when they asked if he could come here after jail — and he will be going to a halfway house for a time and then will be on his own. Surprisingly ,he wasn’t mad, he agreed that he would need help we could not give.

Sue ,we know like Libby said, every situation is different and our decision was one of the hardest we have ever made. He calls every week and it is a joy to hear from him but he does not want me to visit him. WE made that decision anyhow. I write and he likes the letters. Just to know he is safe and not to go to bed fearing a phone call will come makes me fall to my knees and pray for this hopeful place. That relief has given me some renewed energy. So, Lisa, I will add you on my prayer list and Sue, I hope hope pray we have made the right decision for our son and family. All we can do is do what we do. God bless us all.

Barbara
Barbara
8 years ago

As I read all your postings, it hit me hard. Being a parent of an addicted child, is almost unbearable for the heart and soul. I pray each day for God to give me the strength to understand addiction to drugs, alcohol, etc…And, there are many addictions that exist.

There are so many questions about addiction and so few answers. All we can do, is hope, pray and love. Love the addict. Show him you care deeply for him. Let him know he’s loved, but you must never allow him to take you for granted. There is a fine line we must follow.

Staying in gratitude may be difficult, and at times, impossible. But, living for gratitude is hope and we cannot give up on hope. If there is no hope, there is no gratitude.

God bless you all, as we stay close and continue to hold hands for the gtatifying ending that each of you deserve.

Libby
Libby
8 years ago

Dearest Barbara,

You are wise, so very wise. Yes, staying in gratitude may feel impossible, but “living for gratitude is hope and we cannot give up hope.” Beautifully said.

I join you in prayer for all of our loved ones.

Love to you,

L