"Each of us sends out positive or negative vibrations, often without being conscious we are doing so. What if we made an effort to be consciously positive to resonate messages of the highest good for others and ourselves? What if we made a deliberate attempt to keep our thoughts aligned with God's perpetual optimism, to refuse to be stuck in self-centered fear? Our thoughts speak louder than our words. In order to change what we create, we must change our thinking. We must mind our mind." ~ Albert Clayton
Here we are again, in the middle of the holiday season, one of the most wondrous and yet most difficult times for many of us whose children are struggling through addiction and recovery. Whether we are living with our babies and separated from them emotionally, or parted from them by minutes or miles, the holidays can exacerbate the many challenges to our journeys.
We ask ourselves, "Where are they, what are they doing now?" The temptation to fix our children during this season of light and joy, to control The Addiction, becomes amplified.
"Can I fix her just this month? Can't I bring him in, if only for the holidays?The maddening, mind-twisting, gut-wrenching and totally counter intuitive answer to these questions is simply:
NOThe two words that come to mind, selfless and selfish, have distinct meanings of course yet seem intertwined in our hearts and souls as we proceed along our journey pathways. By living our lives to the fullest and seeking the joy and adventure The Universe has laid out for us we often feel a pang or two of guilt.
"How the hell can I (insert personal life endeavor here) while my son is languishing in the jail cell of his addiction, while my daughter is struggling with her recovery?"Merriam Webster defines selfless simply as: Having no concern for self.
Doesn't this mean if we do not attend to our children, if we do not do everything in our power to turn their lives around for them, we then become the selfish and not the selfless. A very recent and very personal experience may better illustrate what I am trying to say.
As I write this it is two days until the deadline for choosing a health care plan under the Affordable Care Act. Last night our 26-year-old recovering and I sat down to review his options. He had begun this the previous weekend and found the medication he is taking (this time under a doctors care 😌 ) is not covered on ANY plan. He and his mom had worked the ACA website to the best of their abilities. I was not asked for assistance nor did I offer any.
I knew my time would come.
So as predicted, with three days until deadline number 2 son and I sat in our office after work to continue what he had already begun. As I watched him navigate the site I said, "You've gone as far as you can go. You've done what you can." I then added, "All you can do is talk to a human being tomorrow about your meds to see if there is anything you're missing." That is all I said. I was done - a gentle nudge in the right direction.
For a moment a mix of terror and indignation - we all know that look - came and went. He reached for his phone and realized he was outside the normal business hours when the ACA call center would be available.
Then one of those little miracles happened. He looked at me and said, "You know there's an app you can use to get coupons for my medication. I'd be spending $50 or $70 a month instead of $300, and I could get a lower cost plan off the marketplace for medical. He showed me the app. The terrified, indignant (angry) look softened to a one reflecting achievement. He had a plan all the time.
He didn't need me.
This will become his accomplishment - not his mother's or mine - and another mile logged along his recovery journey.
Last weekend required a lot of selflessness for me to stay in the background, to refuse a call not sent until the following Wednesday, to reject my fed-by-fear baser instincts to rush in and save him when as it turned out he didn't, doesn't need saving.
Perhaps I'm the one who needs saving, regularly.
It would have been selfish for me to SAVE him. I would have been taking care of me, not my son.
Now, are there times we need to intervene to save a life?
The answer to this question is a resounding YES! We'll know it when we see it. We will remain close enough to our children to let them know there is unconditional love for them if they'll take it. We'll see when they need a rope thrown to them to pull them out of the muck. And we'll be there when they simply say, "I can't live like this anymore."
We can remember the stealing of victories AND consequences are selfish, not selfless acts. When we insert ourselves where we needn't be we are putting ourselves right where The Addiction wants us. We become allies of our children's mortal enemy.
Be the beacon, not the bully. They've got this, most of the time. They just don't know it yet - until they know it, that is.
"Enveloped in Your Light, may I be a beacon to those in search of Light. Sheltered in Your Peace, may I be a shelter to those in need of Peace. Embraced by Your Presence, so may I be present to others." ~ Rabbi Rami Shapiro
"For though my faith is not yours and your faith is not mine, if we each are free to light our own flame, together we can banish some of the darkness of the world." ~ Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks