Thursday, February 11, 2016

Disquietude

"Forgiving is not forgetting, it's letting go of the hurt." ~ Mary McLeod Bethune
Disquietude is one of those multi-layered words seldom utilized in our increasingly complex world. Dumbed down by email and social media our lexicon can't seem to keep up with the times. Disquietude harks back to the Civil War era when words were grand and descriptive, a Ken Burnsesque time when language blossomed.
"In Richmond, where intelligence of battles was received with comparative promptness, the frequent soundings of the tocsin, indicating the proximity of danger, increased the general disquietude, while those who lived in the country where newspapers were infrequent and mail irregular felt they would have preferred living in the midst of alarms to having their anxious uncertainty thus prolonged."
Disquietude, a word not so much utilized in the present day is certainly felt by parents of children who have succumbed to addiction to substances, certain behaviors or whatever negative influences impact their lives. Disquietude may be chronic or acute, a constant foreboding or that occasional twinge of pain precipitated by a late-night phone call, an item thought hidden from parental view or even a scent or visual supplying unsubstantiated proof of future, certain calamity.

We're either residents of Richmond receiving constant communiques of our sons' or daughters' real or imagined further plunges into addiction, or in the seeming insulation of the countryside where we may feel isolated, emotionally detached perhaps, yet still wondering, "When will the next alarm bell toll?"

It is useless to consider which is more distressing, the persistent barrage of intelligence or infrequent reports on how how sons and daughters are faring along their personal recovery journeys. This life of constant or intermittent notifications can be maddening, diverting us from our journey pathways. We risk a return to the brush, the dark rain forest, the mire and muck. We feel compelled to once again resort to enabling, controlling and living our lives for The Addiction. So we make the call:
OK, it's time you get your act together. You're not doing anything you said you would. Here's what WE'RE going to do.
Or ... 
Hey I haven't heard from you in a while. Is everything OK?
Our motivations are unimportant. Whether we've been receiving regular dispatches of our children's struggles or seem constantly in the dark, once again, we've been sidetracked from our pathway by The Addiction.

This sounds tough and heartless doesn't it? Perhaps it is a necessary message for us to survive the siege.

The disquietude is natural. We love our sons and daughters. This state of unease and anxiety may be with us always or for a long time.

So what are we supposed to do with it?

We can live our lives fully as a constant reminder of how much we love our children and so allow them their victories, and their failures. We can lower expectations thus protecting ourselves from the downside of Addiction-driven manipulative behaviors while allowing us to truly recognize and revel in our addicts' upside wins. We can live our lives as a beacon, a lighthouse of the possibilities of life lived to its absolute fullest each day. As we progress along our journey we will see those niches in time when The Addiction takes a hiatus from its hold on our children, providing those opportunities to be a parent without getting in the way.

This is when, "I love you" is the only thing we need to say to our babies.

When we let go of this disquietude, even occasionally, we can actually laugh, yes laugh at the absurdity of some of the behaviors our children are led to by The Addiction. We've all witnessed the sulking, the everything sucks and it's YOUR FAULT mentality of our children struck down by The Addiction. When we allow the disquietude to leave us or even temporarily subside and realize our children are IN THERE, we can ignore the hooks, the Addiction-driven enticements, and smile.

We'll not play this game - no, not anymore. This is what loving our children while we hate The Addiction that has brought them to the dark place is all about. We're not giving up on them any more than a parent of a child with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Our children's disease is not curable through our interference. They hold the cure. We provide the lifeline through our unconditional love and belief in our children that they will figure this out.
We must never give up, never surrender to The Addiction's calls to divert us away from our lives.
Acknowledging our disquietude is the first step. We have tools. Whether we are in persistent contact with our children and their struggles along their pathways or receiving long-distance and sporadic notifications of victories and defeats, we must continue.  Our journey is our lifeline. Our children's disease of addiction is out of our control to cure but we can remain strong for ourselves and for them, for those moments of clarity where they might just bare witness to some of the views and vistas we enjoy.

We may not be certain of our sons' and daughters' immediate prospects but we can make certain as we can of ours. There was trepidation and hesitation when we began our journey. We can remember how in those first few steps we were able to confront our disquietude and move on.

Perhaps soon, it will be their turn.

... keep coming back
"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it." ~ Groucho Marx


Bibliography

Rhodes, James Ford, History of the Civil War 1861-1865, New York, The MacMillan Company (1917), pp. 389-390