"Thriving, that's fighting. ... Surviving is barely getting by." ~ Jillian MichaelsIn my opinion survival is an often misused word. The attribute survivor can summon images of beleaguered souls emerging from darkness - the darkness of the Holocaust, the ravages of war, the seeming death sentence of cancer. These people to me are not merely survivors. They are heroes, conquerors, messengers to us all that the human spirit may be bent but there are examples out there proving it may not always be broken.
The human spirit, our spirit, is magnificently resilient.
We have been through a lot. We have seen our babies struck down by a disease no one wants to talk about. We've been, or we are, at war, first with the Addiction, then, with our tendency to want to fix, control and enable. Some of us have been fortunate to begin our slow emergence from the battlefield, our re-entry into life. Others are still in the trenches, battling.
All of us are more-than-survivors.
We are heroes. We are inspirational. We are conquerors.
But there's a rub that makes contumely of our lives, as there often is when we learn to strive, to Seek and See, to progress beyond our tormentor's scope of influence.
The rub is this. As parents of addicts we are not the triumphant returning Gulf War veterans of conflict. We are more akin to the Vietnam-era vets returning to snubs and disdain. Addiction is not sexy. Addiction has not and may never be vanquished. Addiction is an unpopular and possibly unwinnable war.
So how do we survive, thrive and avoid the pitfalls that our children's life choices would have us dragged into?
Don't get me wrong. Survival is important. Survival is the byproduct of our human instinct to keep breathing after we've been knocked down or out. Survival is the act of refusing to acquiesce. Survival tells the oppressor that we will not ... go ... quietly.
The Addiction would prefer us to remain survivors, to stay down, remaining remission-like, in abeyance, not quite out of the woods. As I have mentioned, at some point in our journey we want more. Perhaps this is what emboldens us to move beyond survival to take the first step out of the prone position to which we have become accustomed. We want more and then some.
How do we move from survivor to thriver, to the conqueror and adventurer the Universe is calling us all to be? How can we accomplish this and still love our children? This is the hook The Addiction has placed deep inside us constantly drawing us in like a marlin in a deep and tumultuous sea, back to a life of enabling, fixing, and pursuing control of the uncontrollable.
We are in a fight for survival. We can spare no energy to restore sanity to our children's lives.
With our Great Creator as our guide we can only restore ourselves to sanity. We can only love our children, gently remove the hook and allow The Addiction and the power it holds to slowly drift away. We can pray for our children and if prayer is not an option, allow The Universe or other Higher Power to take over the duties of watching over our babies. It is no longer our war.
We would never refer to our returning veterans as war survivors. They are heroes, an inspiration and in many cases quiet examples of our grandest aspirations.
All these more-than-survivors, the conquerors, come out of their respective darkness damaged but often better for it. Many have found others for support, communities in which they may immerse themselves to search for faith in something they may not immediately understand, a pathway into, after exiting through the doorway out of whatever hell they may have experienced. These more-than-survivors are inspirations to us all.
We can find a community of souls who have experienced our pain to share our experience, strength and hope. These communities exist. Within these communities there is no malice, shame or even any attempt to help us find our solutions. These communities are there to guide us to our own best selves. When we find one, we'll know it. It may require a few attempts for us to soften our hearts and souls to accept the love and kindness we'll feel while there.
We are in the throes of post-traumatic stress.
Give it time. Thrivers Seek. Thrivers remember what was and what is important. Thrivers take risks with no other motivation than the thrill of discovering, perhaps for the first time in their lives who they really are. Thrivers affect change within themselves and those around them. We are seekers of life, seekers of the truth.
Remember The Addicton hates the TRUTH. The Addiction hates REAL.
We can hold our children close by becoming our truest selves. Our children may witness this, see it, or perhaps not. They will do what they will do. The disease will see to this. This will be whether we thrive, or not.
SO WHY NOT THRIVE?
Who know? Someone may be watching.
"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style." ~ Maya Angelou