"Sometimes it takes a quiet, temporary admission of defeat in order to win the war." ~ Patrick BenjaminFor many of us defeat brought us to this journey of recovery. Beaten, bewildered, flattened and flummoxed we began to find ourselves and in doing so, embarked on our personal search for happiness. Eventually we learned we could begin a pilgrimage to self actualization even while our children walked their tumultuous pathways of self destruction and occasional epiphanies.
We began to feel things. Best of all we began to feel … happy.
After so many uphill climbs it seemed as if we were bounding along waist-high meadows of daisies and butterflies. Our children could see that we were no longer cajoling, lecturing, or attempting to fix. We left them to their own wits. We knew they could figure this out. We embraced a new behavior where we no longer insulted our children with belittling suggestions or dire predictions for their futures.
Today, the directions our children take on their journeys, for good or bad, are our children's decisions. They are progressing, ever so slowly, with the occasional visit to the darkness, because of the choices they make.
We know this now. We cannot own our children's journeys. Our recovery is difficult enough without the meddling into others' affairs we had become so accustomed to in our past lives.
We coast a bit. We'd been through so much. We deserve the respite, don't we?
Yes we do. We deserve happiness. We deserve a rest, to take a load off, to "Take 5."
But let's not get complacent.
Perhaps it is once again time to remember how we began our journey. Perhaps it is time to find again the feelings that brought us here.
Perhaps it is time to once again admit defeat. There are times in our recovery that we have an obligation to acknowledge our victories, growth, new awareness and restored passion for life have not been accomplished in a vacuum. There has been a Universal force at work guiding and nurturing us through our journey. Any hubris we bring to our journey is an insult to our Higher Power and may allow The Addiction to reinsert itself into our lives beckoning us to again insert ourselves into the lives of our addicted.
It is time to once again fool The Addiction.
It just may be time for a tactical withdrawal.
It's time once again to admit defeat at the hands of our children's addiction whether or not we are in a "good place." We can once again admit to our powerlessness to fix, change, control and save our children. As we acknowledge this we do not divert entirely or permanently from our path. We simply take a side trip of our choice, on our own terms, to collect ourselves, to remember a long and difficult journey traversed and honor progress achieved. Like a character in a novel who travels back through time we may even catch a memory of an earlier version of ourselves reminding us of how far we've come.
The Addiction within our sons and daughters may see this as an opportunity to strike at a perceived weakness. We know we are simply using this time to regroup, become stronger and even better prepared for our continuing journey.
What might trigger this tactical withdrawal? It can be a prolonged silence from our addicted son or daughter who is no longer at home that activates the evil projectionist's worst-case-scenario movies to play in our minds. It can be other family issues precipitating the need to take this deliberate diversion. We may be taking for granted the strides we have made. The Addiction is a resourceful and cunning foe and may not attack through the accustomed battle lines of the children who brought us here.
We are not denying or mistrusting our inalienable right to happiness. We are simply appreciating with gratitude where we are at this moment and how far we have travelled.
We are on guard. We realize complacency can drive us back, back to where we were, where we never wish to return.
We will emerge from this tactical withdrawal stronger, energized and ready to keep moving along our recovery pathway.
"By yielding you may obtain victory." ~ Ovid
"Retreat hell! We're not retreating, we're just advancing in a different direction." ~ Major General Oliver P. Smith at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir - Korea, 1950