Sanity gained. It sounds like a final goal or destination. A sacred place one hopes to attain. It is all of those things and, yes, one can dwell there indefinitely. I will also tell you that, for me, it represents a constant practice using many tricks and skills. Skills that need to be repeated, honed and sometimes simply remembered, removed from my tool shed, dusted off and put to practice again and again.
I have fallen out of practice writing and sharing. I am not sure how I allowed this to happen but it did and honestly "the how" is not so important to me. Looking backwards isn't helpful and there is no blame to be laid at my feet.
G_d knows I have been busy. I have fallen, skinned my knees, bled, cried, screamed a few times, improved my ability to meditate, proudly asked for help, endured grueling surgeries, worked, exercised daily, loved and remained the best parent I can be.
Which brings me to my subject of today...a personal accommodation I have made in order to bask in the glory of my son's drug abstinence over this last year. Does this sound easy? Why would a parent feel the need to design or mold their ability to enjoy a child's clean time? I assure you, this was most necessary.
After living for 8 years with his disappearance, crime, homelessness, jail time, suicide threats, intractable depression, paralyzing anxiety and the ever presence of death, I felt beyond overwhelmed and full of fear facing his current sobriety, his new presence in my life, his phone calls to touch base, his loving words, his acceptance of help.
Reconciliation of these two beings felt impossible. There was no doubt that I was committed to remaining present for my son. I never closed the door. Yes, the width of the opening decreased many times and maybe only his pinky finger could fit through the doorway but I never let it latch. But how to hold onto myself? How to welcome him and love him while so many possibilities coexist when living with addiction?
My conscious decision, my accommodation has been to exchange fear of tomorrow for the gifts of now. No amount of worry will improve his chances of maintaining sobriety. That is not within a parent's power. but I'll be dammed if I am going to miss a smile, his clear eyes, an "I love you", a "thank you", an accomplishment, a photo, a hug, a smile on his brother's face or tears of joy on his sister's cheek. Every second of everyday is a gift he offers and I, for one, will not wait for the scales to tip, for the good to outweigh the pain.
Herein lies my power. I refuse to string these gifts together. I will not connect them to create something bigger. There is a natural tendency to want to make something out of individual parts and I am resisting this for now. By my choosing to build a safe harbor out of these individual gifts, I also inadvertently add in expectation. And that is dangerous. Expectation can be the mother of fear and worry. Expectation is not hope, it is not consequences; both of which have their place.
Addiction is an incurable, progressive disease. We lose children after one use, after 50 and after thousands. We lose children with one day clean, 2 years clean and 20 years clean. I pray everyday that my beautiful son never picks up a drug again and, at the same time, I am beyond grateful surrounded by the twinkling lights of this year's beautiful moments, each individually wrapped, not piled or placed to create anything more than they are. This is how I have remained sane and open while understanding that I live steps away from a deadly disease.