Monday, October 24, 2016

Failure Island

"I've failed over and over again in life. And that is why I succeed." ~ Michael Jordan
Let's go back in time to our past that compelled us to control, to blame ourselves and our children for their plummet and seek out any fix to put an end to our shared dire circumstances.

There we stood, marooned on Failure Island. Our lives had become shipwrecked. Life's winds had taken us off course although we had tried our best to stem the swelling tides surging around us. We soon found the waves of anger, sadness, belligerence, depression and discouragement to be too much for our little ships we believed to be seaworthy. We trusted years of parenting to the best of our ability would prevent the disease of addiction from entering our households.

We were wrong. Our lives were scuttled. We went then into survival mode but on our little islands we were alone, isolated (from the Latin insulatus - made into an island). We became the island, the rock jutting above a vast expanse created not by our children or even The Addiction but by our own making.

We experienced the feelings of failure owned only by parents of children who have stumbled into addiction.  Until we owned our anger and disappointment, until we really felt it, we were unable to let it all go so we could again see our babies for the beautiful human beings they are. We remained marooned because that's exactly where we wanted to be at that time. It was an awful yet comfortable and painfully familiar place to exist.

Feelings are frightful. Escaping the tides and barriers of an island seems an impossibility. Until we allowed ourselves the revelation that our isolation was a losing proposition and a pathway to nowhere, to continuing rage, pathos and self destruction, we remained.

One day we saw a way off the island. We made the attempt. It may have required several efforts, the rip currents of our despondency pushing us back to the island again and again, and then perhaps, again.

But we eventually made it off Failure Island - exhausted.

Once we found the strength to breathe and reflect we made certain promises to ourselves. We vowed to never return to that island. We might visit via the Google Maps of our minds to reflect on where we had been and how damn far we'd come. It's ok, failures as parents are inevitable, but we can decide never again to distance ourselves from our children, family and friends by so immersing ourselves in our faults and foibles.

When we come to grips with our humanity, that we are REAL humans with real weaknesses and character flaws - remembering REAL is what we are striving for each day - we can shrug off the guilt and bitterness that kept us on that island for far too long.

Escaping Failure Island was an early first step on the pathway to loving our children and hating The Addiction - to live our lives to the fullest.

We can remember this when we feel ourselves drifting off course into melancholy and lose our bearing. Our true north is within us. Trust this and with our hands firmly on the helm our best adventures are just over that horizon.

Bon voyage!

... keep coming back
"The only true failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows." ~ Buddha
"And a rock feels no pain - and an island never cries." ~ Paul Simon, "I Am A Rock" 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Finding Peace in Upsetting Times

"All we are saying is give peace a chance." ~ John Lennon
These are difficult times. There is a catastrophic civil being waged in Syria, a land grab in Ukraine, global warming, world-wide privation, and in the U.S a failure to address chronic socioeconomic, judicial and educational disparities between the haves and the never hads.

Add to this a U.S. presidential election so crude, contentious, hateful, petty and stupid the entire world is wondering what the HELL is going on in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

No wonder we're all walking on eggshells. Once again, does any of this sound familiar?

We all experienced feelings of foreboding in our personal lives as we navigated through our journey while being constantly bombarded by the confrontations The Addiction would lay across our recovery pathways. Many of us are challenged even as our children triumphantly struggle through their own recoveries.

We have been threatened psychologically and physically. Now, a world in chaos only adds to our depletion, to our exhaustion.

So how do we find peace?

We don't want to start from the very beginning as sung in "Do Re Me" from The Sound of Music. That would be a disaster to go back to the cloud forest, the muck and the shit.

What we can do is to remember HOW we embarked upon our journey, how we took that first step or initial crawl out of our personal primordial soup of despair. We can be better than the world in chaos and the petty little politicians. We can remember our goal to somehow, eventually and on our own terms find our truest selves. We can look beyond the crap being spewed all around us to see the potential glories awaiting us on that next plateau.

We cannot succumb to the negativity that creates neither a benefit to our progress nor a loving or consciously kind state of mind for the children we cherish.  We can simply focus on our journey and by doing so, become beacons for The Good rather than additional catalysts for The Bad in the world.

There are enough souls out there fueling the fires of negativism, adversity, hostility and distrust.

Remember, The Addiction feeds on the negative. Our children can sense this when we exude defeatism, that pessimistic resignation to all that is hurtful and destructive to our recoveries. If we resign to the darkness we risk becoming dismissive to our sons and daughters and through our actions travel down pathways we've been before and don't really want to visit again. Feeling abandoned, our children will return to the only NORMAL they know - The Addiction.

By being true beacons of The Good rather than joining the chorus of discord we may find our own peace and perhaps, show the way for our children. We may feel we are in the minority, we're not. We are the quietly strong, not the bellicose insecure. We can't be shouted down forever. Hang in there. Give peace a chance!

It will find us. And it will find our children!

... keep coming back
"Take care of yourself. You never know when the world will need you." ~ Rabbi Hillel