Saturday, May 31, 2014

Stumbles - Or … Just Keep Moving, Part Deux

"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great." ~ Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own

So you're feeling stuck, like you've stumbled in your recovery.

Welcome to the club!

It can be a phone call received, a boundary breached, a seemingly dire situation that really didn't require our intervention.

Perhaps something our sons or daughters said sent us into a tirade or worse yet into one of our two-minute long pontifications!

 The opening line of "Can't Help Falling in Love" sung way back in 1961 by Elvis Presley is, "Wise men say only fools rush in."

Sometimes we rush in. It doesn't make us foolish. It just means we're human, and we're parents.

There are two ways of looking at stumbles. This narrative will focus more on the inevitability of stumbles and how we can learn and even thrive as a result of these toe stubs. In a future post we can discuss how not to force, but rather Face the real issues that may lead us to temporarily lose our "balance."

Stumbles are bound to happen. We get tired. We don't eat well. We don't get enough exercise or sleep. We watch too much News (or we watch the News). We are stressed at work or unemployed. The bills are piling up. The dog chewed the toilet paper again and the remnants are everywhere - a metaphor for something but let's not get sidetracked!

The inevitable occurs and we lose sight of our pathway, take misstep after misstep tumbling down the hillside to a familiar briar patch, gully, or God forbid, that jungle we remember all too well.

Remember the game Chutes and Ladders? Remember that damned slide?

Stumbles are a lot like that, only with quite a bit more intention than chance involved. But, like the slide in Chutes and Ladders stumbles are less a reflection on who we are as human beings and parents, or how authentic we are, or even how attentive to our own recoveries we have been, or even how well we play the "game."  Rather, the slide and stumbles are part of the game and a integral part of our recovery.

How many times have we won the game Chutes and Ladders after repeated visits to the slide?

"Chutes" teaches that sometimes things just happen. "Chutes" taught us an important lesson as children that thanks to our parents and society we have forgotten. This lesson is we are not always in control but with enough faith and trust with a dose of perseverance thrown in we can prevail and flourish. 

Just as relapse is sadly and painfully a partner of an addict's recovery, stumbles are a repeating function of ours. In many cases stumbles manifest themselves through uncertainty. We've learned so much, come so far in our journeys. We've spoken to counsellors, we've read the books and daily readings.  We have found kindred spirits in Al-Anon meetings and other 12-Step programs to assure us we our not alone in our quest to improve our lives. 

Still, we doubt ourselves.

"Should I have addressed that issue, was it really a worthwhile or necessary battle to wage at this time? Should I have paid that insurance bill, that cell phone bill even if she said she would pay me back? Should I have gone looking for him in the middle of the night fearful he was plummeting again (or further) into the deep abyss of addiction?"

Or, does our behavior toward our children instead begin to pass the T-H-I-N-K test?

Is it Thoughtful, Intelligent (or even Inciteful), Necessary and Kind? 

Do our actions pass the THINK test for our own recoveries?

Sometimes we may look upon past actions, outbursts or regrettable decisions with remorse. We know better. How could we have been sucked in again? How could we have allowed ourselves to steal our children's consequences, again?

Remember, ours is a gentle recovery. Ours is recovery built upon the stumbles of so-called errors in judgment. We begin our journeys as toddlers, skinned knees and elbows become a common occurrence. We'll reopen old wounds. Scars will be left as a testament of our ability to heal and learn. And just like a toddler we begin to stumble less and realize those falls and the pain and the blood and the tears were all about getting to that next step, that next phase of our journeys.

Every stumble is meant to be. It is the Universe', God's, the Great Creator's way of letting us know that we are on the right path. It's not meant to be easy this recovery of ours. Get up, learn and go gently on to continued growth and happiness as your child stumbles as well, along her chosen road. 

… keep coming back