Their Addiction ~ My Journey-“Traveling Faces”

Pompano Beach, FL

I’m sitting alone at breakfast in a small, fun diner in Pompano Beach, Florida. It’s crowded and loud, people eating here seem to love it. It’s my first time and I’m excited for eggs benedict.

I have this day to myself. I’m going to drive the coast and take in the sights. My mind is not in the atmosphere of this bustling restaurant. I’ve yet to hear one southern accent, which is concerning.

My mind is roaming the memories of years dealing with addiction. I feel a sadness deep inside. This is the pain you know lies in your soul. It feels unfair to come from a celebratory weekend, into this melancholy space. That is the roller coaster I ride and have experienced for over a decade.

Having honored my son at his two year recovery anniversary, I’ve had a wonderful weekend. I know this blessing is made of God’s miracles. He is a good Father. I wish there were words to express the deep joy for this milestone. It is a profound moment for him and all of us.

Yet, here I am. I wonder if my daughter made it through the night. I feel so lost. Today is Halloween and the servers are dressed up. Many are wearing face paint for their costumes. What they don’t know is I sit here with two faces no one sees. The happy mom celebrating her son, and the hurting mom grieving a daughter who lives.

Navigating these two places is a challenge. I feel guilty moving towards one direction or the other, but that’s how life goes. I’ve lived this reality for two years now. I cheer on one or both depending on their current choices. I run through a day of cheering and crying often.

All over the world, other parents do the same thing. We wonder what today’s emotions will be long before we leave the bed. We move through our day in measured steps and calculated thought. Our hope is to manage our minds without being consumed by their addiction. For me, it’s showing myself the grace to love all my children where they are. Each walk is their adult journey. My job is to love them through every step.

I learned to live in two different mindsets long ago. However, they include similar points. Whether we are discussing addiction or recovery, hope leads the way. Let me tell you, hope gets hard the longer addiction wins. Leaving hope in God alone is the best option. I believe in His healing, on either side of heaven. It would be fantastic if it could be here in my lifetime, but the ultimate plan is His.

Mindsets between addiction and recovery also include encouragement. Some days it seems impossible. You get tired of being ignored. What you believe about your loved one and what they believe don’t always align. How do you encourage someone who discourages themself?

Boynton Beach, Florida

I’ve finished breakfast, and made my way north. I stopped next to a famous celebrities home (compound) and found a small slice of public beach. I find it interesting that I’m in Florida but it sounds like I’m on the beaches of New York with all that northern accent talk going on. Anyhow..

The waves are coming in heavier and higher than where I spent the weekend. It reminds me of the waves of raw emotions and circumstances that invade my life. There’s either a gentle breeze or a severe storm. Whichever one arrives, I’ve learned to brace for impact.

I’m sitting safely under the cover of a large beach umbrella. I love the sun, but this location seems to be ten degrees hotter than the last. I only have a couple hours lfet, but I opted to pay for my little spot here on the beach. It’s worth it.

How do we shield ourselves from the heat in active addiction? There is one way- to not live in the behavior with them. Release what you cannot control. From my vantage point right now, I’m not being battered by the waves, nor am I being burned by the sun. When addiction rushes the serenity of my life, I’m comfortably seated in my safe zone. I feel the pressure, but don’t react or respond because my position is no longer the savior but a seated observer.

Do you see the storm on the horizon in the picture below? That’s where the storms must stay. You can’t expect peace and calm if you’re chasing an unending storm toward an ever moving horizon. While lightning strikes and rain falls miles away, I’m still nestled under my umbrella. I’m listening to the calming sound of crashing waves hitting the beach and I’m at rest.

I’ve made it to the airport after stopping to say goodbye to my son. The traffic was thick, drivers are wild, but timing worked well. I’m now sitting in a corner. I hear laughter, elevator music overhead, a screaming child in the distance, and click clacking of shoes through the terminal. It’s a perfect picture of the noisy times in this life. You know, those crazy moments of chaos when you’re juggling ten balls in the air while walking across hot coals, carrying your children in each arm, and balancing everything else on your head.

This short getaway provided some much needed rest and a parent time-out. Even in a getaway, I responded to the need of food and sent a meal to my homeless child in a motel. Stepping outside of the everyday didn’t change the fact that the sun still rises and a new day presents itself. It may be warmer, sunnier, and lighter, but it is still filled with substance.

I could complain. I could run and hide on some beach forever. No. That’s not me and I love my life. Even with the pain and heartache, I appreciate this incredible gift. Today, I remember that there are two year anniversaries and miracles every single day. There are recovery moments all around us. Those precious times will get us through, push us along, keep us going. Every day is a day for hope and opportunity. I won’t give up.



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