Monday, April 16, 2012

just for today

Mondays,  Tuesdays, and sometimes Wednesdays I spend time in different parent groups for kids in recovery.  They are the place where I am myself - my flawed, worried, angry, burnout self - my hopeful, encouraging, sewer-mouthed source of inappropriate humour self. They are the place where I talk honestly about how hard this life can be, how I don't want to play anymore, and if I could manage it, how much I would like to just run away. I say these things and see understanding and compassion in the faces around me, which is why I go. These are my people, they are living the life I'm living with different families, but with the same hopes, fears, confusions, anger and love.

We share successes (a few), frustrations (lots), and heartbreaks (too many). Tonight some are crying because their child relapsed. No one has died, and this is good.  The previous week one of our closest friends relapsed repeatedly and now is back in residential rehab, and doing poorly. Two more are on their way back, and one may soon find himself homeless. Sadly this is not a remarkable, this is how recovery goes with adolescent addicts. My son has the longest clean time, which guarantees nothing.

As I watch these kids try and fail, and get up and try and fail again, I feel like we are walking together in a mine field. I wonder how it is my child has managed to continue to move through these mines, apparently unscathed. Does he know where the path is, or have we just been lucky, so far? I might say my own recovery has helped me understand and help, but a mother with over 20 years of recovery is sending her son back into residential on Wednesday because of a major relapse.

 So I wait, and hope, and hope, and try to keep this from consuming my life. To quote another 12 step program "I didn't cause this, I can't cure it, and I can't control it". Good advice, easy to remind other parents about, more difficult to put into practice in my daily life.

Just for today I can try.

Just for today I can let go of the pain and guilt I carry.

Just for today I can let a tiny bit more hope in but not get too attached to the feeling, because it hurts like hell when you lose it.

I can do anything just for today.

Tonight I spoke with some of the parents of the relapsed kids, one was crying, one stoic, and the others resigned. I try not too feel too much about my son's continuing sobriety, afraid I will jinx something, and send my son down the path that will make me the one crying in group.

I look for the tiniest of signs that he is "getting it", that he will stay clean on his own without my careful scaffolding around him and supporting him. I look, but I can't focus, I'm too close.

Tonight is Monday Parent Group, circled chairs, faces displaying different stages in grief - Denial, Anger, Bargaining  Depression, and sometimes, Acceptance. Me? I'm still Bargaining, but it's wearing me out. Perhaps I need to hit my bottom here to make it to Acceptance. Not that I look forward to hitting bottom, but sometimes that's the only way to let go and make peace.

Not today. Not yet.

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