"If you understand, things are just as they are. If you do not understand, things are just as they are." ~ Zen Proverb
Some of us are living with the children who brought us to recovery. They are, remaining, still, in our homes as well as constantly in our hearts. Boundaries are eternally established, breached, then reformed for the next onslaught on our souls, the next betrayal of trust. Walking on eggshells in our households has become as much a part of life as the fear of the next late night phone call or knock on the door.
"Is this Mr. Jones? This is Officer Smith with the (insert name of municipality here) police department."
Before we embarked on our recovery journeys life was never what we had envisioned. And now, as we continue on our recovery journeys life is nothing like we could have ever imagined. Once we have owned our personal lives and found our true life pathways, our former fallbacks of raging, negativity and blame are familiar barriers to be overcome, not barometers of who we are. Rather than falling further into our pre-recovery abyss we now learn and even gain confidence from these encounters with our former selves.
When we stumble upon these metaphorical landslides, fallen trees or other four-legged (or no legged) obstacles impeding our journey, we realize, eventually, that the paths we've chosen in the instant of those encounters with our former selves do not lead to where we want to go - or, lead us nowhere. We figure it out. We turn around. We keep moving. There is another way to where we want to be, who we want to be. There IS … a Plan B! We learn, respond positively and progress along our personal path to recovery.
Still, often, having the addict at home, can simply suck!
It may have been, actually, what catapulted many of us to pathways of realization - the realization that sometimes allowing the addict to remain in the comfortable deception of our households is poison to both our children and ourselves.
Some of us have made the transition through forced separation or mutual understanding, an opportunity we know will refocus our children (college), voluntary or involuntary separation (rehab, wilderness, therapeutic boarding school), or a calm you can't live here anymore discussion that challenges our sons or daughters to find their journeys.
By whatever method or means, our children are no longer at home.
This transition, in whatever form, is at the same time empowering and terrifying. The silence is both welcome and maddening.
Silence brings with it a challenge from the Universe that we use this opportunity to make some real progress in our recovery unencumbered by the madness. We often find instead that our children are somehow, seemingly still there, in our hearts and minds as shadows in our homes.
We can choose to revert to old behaviors, to those former life habits of the comfortable recluse, the fountain of anger, the passive aggressor, the martyr.
This is no life at all. This is the life of fear, stagnation, depression and suffering we experienced long before beginning our recovery journeys. Do we really want to go back … there?
This is when true epiphanies can happen.
We ask ourselves, "How can I continue to feel the pain and shoulder the burdens of my addicted son, my substance abusing daughter? How crazy is that?"
We're not crazy. We're normal. We're parents - still. We still love our babies.
Crazy is repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Crazy is owning someone else's pain and addictions.
Perhaps the madness does not come from our sons or daughters. Perhaps we need to look to ourselves. Could we have possibly given The Addiction too much power?
The silence of a household purged of the addict can be deafening if the addiction and its effects remain. Beyond the silence, beyond the lingering eggshells and the slime left behind by addiction is Life, if we're ready to go for it.
Surely the movies inside our heads will begin to play. Is he OK? Where is she now? What are they doing in the desert? We come to realize that the madness comes from believing we are in control of what has yet to happen. The Addiction will attempt to get in our heads even when our sons and daughters are not living with us.
With the silence, we can break through previously unbreachable barriers addiction had laid in our pathways. Again, we can close our eyes, breathe, and move ahead to what the Great Creator is offering. The offering is Life!
It's just beyond that ridge, that blind turn, that seemingly impassible thicket.
Move forward. We can take this opportunity to seek out possibilities for ourselves. The silence provides a chance for us to seek the good. Only then, will we allow ourselves the gift to see the good available to us.
The Universe awaits us if we can just quiet our minds. Hear the silence, feel its gentle calm. Smile, and with the deafening cacophony of addiction no longer in our heads, we will continue confidently along our pathways.
"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings to us to learn from." ~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross