"Hope is the thing with feathers, That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all." ~ Emily Dickinson
Our sons and daughters who have brought us to recovery often make occasional phone calls and send periodic texts. All of us have experienced this. Initially these contacts manifest as appeals for assistance with day-to-day requirements. The coordination of medications or other health-related issues we can do. "Floating" our sons and daughters the few dollars to pay rent or yet another overdue parking ticket has raised red flags and flairs for such a long time now that the gentle, "No" response has become almost automatic.
We can listen to our sons and daughters once we learn to love them while hating the addiction. Listening to the addict which in many conversations means listening to a spew of negativity and anger that is fed by the addiction is hard. At least there is that contact though perhaps one-sided. It is hard to disagree with our children as they relate to us how much life sucks, how awful the world is. We cannot imagine what it's like to stand inside their shoes and quite frankly don't want to. We have our lives to lead. We can only hope that our new-found love of life is somehow noted by our children like a gentle breeze on a hot summer's day. We can only hope at some point in their journey our children encounter a new and strange demon they have no tools to battle, a demon the addiction inside them has evaded and combated in self preservation. That demon is the epiphany of self awareness within our children.
At a certain crossroad in our son's and daughter's journey they will become aware of the addiction inside of them. They will know they are addicted. They will want to stop the spiral but cannot. They are probably using, stuck in the mire and unable to crawl out.
As we watch our children this may be more difficult to observe than their initial fall into the spiral of addiction.
Well, probably not, but close.
Our children will start to reach out. They'll make dates for lunch, to drop by if they are not living with us, or to call. They won't show up.
This "showing up" is a difficult step for an addict experiencing epiphanies.
"If I can see my inconsistencies so can they. If I can feel my inner torment, how must I look to my parents."
If only they knew we've experienced this for months, years, and we've not gone away, we haven't given up on our children although they may have perceived our new-found joy in our lives as just that - abandonment.
Showing up means being there for ourselves first, then we can become accessible and real to others. At the beginning of their battle with the epiphany of self awareness our children just are not ready. Showing up scares the shit out of the addiction inside. This disease abhors "REAL."
Our children are trapped, held hostage by the addiction.
We can speak to friends who truly care. We can find that band of brothers and sisters with whom we can share experiences, victories and failures, and hope. We will be reminded that we are walking on separate paths with our children. We are on separate journeys. What are theirs are theirs, what are ours, are ours. We own our recoveries separately. That ownership has brought us thousands of miles along our recovery road. We all know ownership of what we could claim as ours, our failings, our shortcomings, was a breakthrough moment for us.
Addiction will do everything in its power to shuffle off ownership to whomever or whatever will take it.
As parents we have long ago refused to take ownership for what addiction has taken from us. Our children now have nowhere to go to shuffle off any blame. With nowhere to delegate ownership, we can only hope that our addicted children will begin to look within, to own, to show up.
We cannot begin to know where our sons and daughter are on their journeys any more than we can comprehend where we are on this magical ride we begin each day. What we can know is that we must continue to reach out, pray and TRUST he will find his own way, that she will begin to show up for herself and her life.
The pull of addiction is not something we can fight. Only our addicts have that power. We can hope that he will reach out to a force he doesn't yet recognize is there with him, that she will notice a divine partner in the subtle wisdom and energy of the Universe, God, a Higher Power, the Great Spirit, the Great Creator.
It takes a Partner to begin the journey of ownership, self trust and self actualization. We have long since "owned" this.
We can continue to stay close, to reach out and be available when our children emerge, even temporarily, from the captivity of addiction. With love, someday, our children may let us know where their journey has taken them, and the vistas that await their next steps, and we can share our journeys travelled for so long in different pathways, yet side by side.
"For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you - here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere."
~ Master Yoda