TEMPERED HAPPINESS

A mother wrote to me: Our healing process is a journey, too. I recognize that even if my son never fully recovers or works his life well, I have mine and I don’t want to waste it being sad all the time. I had to find a way to go on in my life and relearn how to feel joy again. It is a tempered happiness. There is always a remembrance of loss that I feel deep down, but it does not consume me like it used to.

My response to the above passage: Through Jeff’s addiction, I, too, learned that my happiness could not be dependent of the state on his life. I’ve realized that happiness is a choice and that living in a space of gratitude makes life better. As the mother above, I will not allow loss to consume me.

Today’s promise to consider: I will find serenity within myself. My happiness cannot be contingent on someone else’s choices. Even if I love him or her with all my heart, I will accept what I am unable to change. As the AA slogan says, “Happiness is appreciating what you have, not getting what you want.”

 

 

 

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Gina DeCosimo
Gina DeCosimo
10 years ago

This is the gift we receive when we are working our own program!! Grazie Libby!! I benefit so much from your blog!!

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Grazie a te. You’re right – we need to work our own program and heal. Love to you!

Glenda T.
Glenda T.
10 years ago

This is so true and something that I constantly need to remind myself of. Some days I can manage this and it’s ok, other days my resolve will crumble and I need to remind myself again. I pray that my son finds recovery and that I don’t have to constantly struggle with this.
Thank you for your words Libby!

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Glenda, My resolve crumbles, too, and I have to go back to the beginning and repeat the slogans of AA and pray for strength. Tempered happiness is interesting – tempered by sadness, pain and loss. We grow stronger day by day, step by step. Love to you.

Gina DeCosimo
Gina DeCosimo
10 years ago

Try not to think of your resolve as crumbling. My friend told me how to climb a mountain. He has climbed some of the earth’s highest. You must climb up several thousand feet only to climb back down to climb back up higher than were you climbed down from. Its because you have to adjust to the altitude. So, its the same for your resolve. You climb up you come back down with more resolve than you had before, so now you can climb higher and so on. Life has peaks and valleys and don’t dismay when you are in the valley with your resolve; the valley is were the most fertile land is. The valleys are were we learn the most. Love to you Libby and Glenda

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Thanks to all of you who write (in Libby’s blog). I learn something from each and every one of you.

I was so consumed by my loss, I forgot about the people who are close to me. Thankfully, I have the rest of my life to make it up to them.

Thank you Libby, for the wisdom you bring to all the mothers who have suffered living with addiction.

Love to all of you,
Barbara

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Gina and Barbara,
I love the analogy to mountain climbing. Thanks, GIna, for sharing this idea. It’s always been hard for me to keep focused on good things when Jeff or Jeremy are suffering and crumbling seems to arrive without a sound, but it’s so deeply important to remain strong for myself and others. Thanks for the reminder that ‘the valley is where the most fertile land is and where we learn the most.’ I’ll continue to keep my eyes and soul ‘up.’ Just as steel is tempered and made stronger, our hearts do the same.

Barbara, I’m sure the loss of your son consumed you and I’m sure his absence is with you every day. I’m sorry and we all learn from you. As you write, “I have the rest of my life to make it up to them.” My hope is that people who love us will understand and stay close. It works both ways, yes? When people are in pain, we all must stay close.

My love, thanks and deep respect,

Libby

Jane
Jane
10 years ago

Hello my friends. i was the mother who wrote this weeks passage on Libby’s blog a few weeks back. I also love the analogy of mountain climbing. I too have learned much from the peaks and valleys and I also recover to a higher place after a relapse just as my son has. It is not a straight line to the recovery spot. It is ongoing as life is and we are lifelong learners. It is my constant prayer as well that my son recovers to a healthier spot than he is in currently. He is sober-just not in a 12 step program where he might make more progress. But is not my choice, my plan or my life. I will make choices for me and continue to pray for him and all who suffer with this complex disease. Love to you all
Jane

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Jane,

Thanks for your openness, love and support. You’re correct – it’s not a straight line to recovery, not for our children and not for us. As you write, we are lifelong learners. I think we’re the lucky ones who allow ourselves to learn. For many years, I shut down, isolated myself and didn’t want to learn anything about this disease. Finally, with the grace of God, I woke up and started to climb. I’m still climbing :).

Love to you all,

L

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Thanks again to all of you. Each and every week I climb (with baby steps) to a higher understanding of this disease, with your help.

We will all climb together with imaginary ropes tied to one another just like mountain climbers. In the valleys, we can help each other climb back up.

With love and respect,
Barbara

Gina DeCosimo
Gina DeCosimo
10 years ago

To all of you,

What a blessing you all have been for me, I have never felt such unconditional love and support from woman I have not formally met but have such a connection to!

Love to you all,
Gina

Carol
Carol
10 years ago

My son is one week shy of being sober for 10 months- his longest stretch so far. He is doing really well and has not only good friends for the first time in his adult life, but also a great therapist that keeps him focused on the future and figuring out life. I treasure each day of peace, each day of not having a burning hole in my stomach. And I thank God every night for his guidance and support. I realize that one of the hardest things to do as a parent is to let your kids go- not emotionally, but to let them make their own mistakes and find their own way in life. My husband tells me that we did everything we could, we gave them the right tools, now it is up to them… But it is remarkable how each child uses the tools in a different way.

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Carol,

Your son is almost 10 months sober, his longest stretch – congratulations. This is wonderful news and I know that feeling of allowing myself to feel a bit of peace, if just for a moment. A good therapist is a treasure and I’l always be grateful to Dr MacAfee for all he did for Jeff and for our family.

I agree with you and your husband that good parenting requires that children make their own mistakes and learn from the consequences of their actions. With addiction, however, things become so much more convoluted because we watch as our child destroys his life. For me, it was almost impossible not to step in and ‘save’ him. In fact, I stepped in way too many times and, in the end, learned that I didn’t help Jeff, not really. It was only when I ‘stayed close,’ but got out of the way of the chaos of addiction and Jeff’s life that Jeff picked himself up and decided to live without drugs.

You are correct that each child uses the tools in a different way and addiction confounds everything. How we as parents support each child is different because each one is different. Jeff needs me in a different way than my younger son Jeremy. I’m learning every day how to stay close, but to allow them to deal with the consequences of their choices.

Let’s keep each other and our children in our prayers,

Libby