I get frustrated. I don’t want to be frustrated, angry, sad, or hopeless. But it comes at me in waves.
This journey of addiction is a very old story in my life. Over a decade of ups and downs, arrests, incarceration, sobriety, relapse, lies, manipulation, sacrifice, abuse, blame, fear, tears, and the unknown. It’s gone as deep as homelessness and disappearing acts that leave me breathless.
So, when another parent tells me to keep praying and hoping, I get a bit frustrated.
I know this is exactly what I should do. Keeping hope alive is one way to cope and trust in something bigger than myself- for me that is my Awesome God. Which should always be enough-but…
Still, I cringe at the stories. I even have one of those stories! They say,
“My son went to treatment and sober living, he’s working and doing well.”
Without realizing it, my hopelessness creeps in and I silently think, “I hope he doesn’t relapse.” Some days it’s, “Until he relapses.”
The bitterness and cynicism is embarrassing. Yet, this has been my personal experience. It’s two steps forward and ten back.
The stories of progress don’t always inspire me. I wonder if their recovery is real, tangible, and chosen. I wonder if parents will be like me and watch it all unfold in a couple of months.
Even with having a son living a successful recovery story right now, I live in fear and uncertainty for my other loved one. I can be motivational and encouraging at 7:00 am, and downright negative at 7:00 pm. It is a wave of feelings and emotions that come from pain more than rational thought.
But here I sit. I swim in the pool of hope, renewal, and recovery. I splash and play through the thoughts of sobriety and healing. I smile with joy at the possibilities of all this addiction stuff being behind us. I hold on to hope as tight as I hold the pillow I cry into at night. I believe recovery is possible and I know my loved one is worth it.
So, when I have a meltdown and lose perspective; when I wallow in self pity and become a negative reflection of my once bright and dreaming self- I ask for some grace and understanding. Forgive me for raining on your parade. Forgive me for infiltrating your happy story with any sad sidebars. Our realities have similarities but remain different in certain circumstances.
Every day I wake up and have to reach for hope. I have to turn my thoughts toward the positive . One day it may all seem second nature to stay lifted and hopeful. Other days, I have to intentionally choose hope. I have to release my anxieties and keep believing. Recovery is possible, even when the journey looks different for everyone. I can’t wait for the shoe to fall for one family because it fell in mine. That’s unfair.
Choose hope. Applaud the efforts and successes of your friend’s kids. Be excited for their accomplishments and milestones. Even when you didn’t experience those pivotal moments, you can appreciate them for others.
I know it is complicated and hard to grasp at times. Watching all we once hoped and dreamed for our kids, but never experienced, is challenging.
No, it’s not envy or jealousy. It is knowing the loss and grieving what should have been. It’s looking out into a world you can’t touch but desperately want to share a small piece in.
Choose hope. You deserve to feel peace in being certain in something you can’t see or touch. The Bible tells us there is peace that surpasses all understanding. In addiction, that’s where our minds and hearts must stay .
We must embrace the possibilities and hope. There are moments when that’s all we have.
(Ps, this is taken from my Facebook post. Unedited, raw)