In desperation she comes week after week. Expounding on how she has managed to take care of siblings, parents and now her son who's joining the ranks of addiction/alcohol abusers. Week after week, it's pointed out that recovery is for "US." We're not here to fix anyone or counsel anyone. Not at the tables. You want advice? Get a counselor to talk to. You want to change? Get a sponsor to work the steps. Sometimes they are one in the same. Sometimes they are two different people.

No, thank you, she says silently. Her wall is impenetrable. She sets people on edge and they begin to move to different tables week after week. They don't share openly for fear of confidentiality being violated or ignored. Or simply misunderstood in the name of "helping." She has so much brewing beneath the surface; years of anger, frustration and disappointments. A mix of some abuses lies beneath, I would guess. All well controlled, so she thinks. She appears stuck in anger. She seethes when she speaks, you know? Under her planted smile the words scream to be noticed and beg to be justified. They are met with silent disagreement.

She contacts the table leader through email. It seems someone gave her son a cigarette, which violates her rules. She wants heads on plates. How, she wants to know, does a recovery meeting that is faith based, allow cigarettes to be given out. Hmmm...we say that while it may be a bad habit, it's not illegal. Secondly, we say, the choice and responsibility rests with her son. Period.

She's not coming back. I'm not surprised.

I see a mother desperate in trying to control just one area in the life of her son that she sees as heading down the train track in a single car without a conductor, without a brake line, without a net. She's lost her grip on every other area and her heart has been broken, stomped on, kicked and crushed. We were so alike, now so different.

I hope and pray she finds the peace that the 12 steps can bring.