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.


Lou said...

Laura, we well know recovery starts with us. How sad and useless to hang on to trying to change those around us.

My sponsor told me there is little one can do to help those that will not open themselves to being teachable. If someone insists they have learned one has anything to show them..they are going to remain stuck.

The saddest thing here is the son, who is trying desperately to become his own person, but is thwarted by his mother at every turn.

Gin said...

I hope she finds that peace as well in whatever way she can. Otherwise she will crash and burn eventually. This post reminded me how thankful I am for Al-anon. Thank you!

Indigo said...

So often it comes to the realization, that although we understand and want to help...we still watch helplessly as someone stumbles over a decision that only they can contemplate.

I wish the guidelines given were enough dear friend. Unfortunately they have to want them, live them and surrender in order for them to be of any use. Anger is just another word for Fear. Too many fear giving up that control to get better. (Hugs)Indigo

Syd said...

I think that she has been in my meetings too.

MilesPerHour said...

You know it. I know it.

Every Friday I do volunteer counseling at a local megachurch for people who are co-dependents. I am absolutely amazed at the progress made by those who "keep coming back". It is the most awesome thing I have seen in 17 years of sobriety and 11 years of counseling.

Fractalmom said...

i suppose it could've been me except I don't attend.

yes, the anger is still there. no, I don't enable anymore. yes, I have progressed to the point that the anger and bitterness no longer control my life, however, it does remain.

only we know how hard it is.

there may be a multitude of reasons she cannot let go.

i don't know that it's so much 'controlling' as the mother's instinct to point out where the child is going bad...we learn that as soon as they start crawling, after all. We constantly say No, don't do that!! Or if you do that 'this' will happen.

then, as adults, we see them make stupid, stupid mistakes and they are right back at the two year old mark and so are we, telling them NO!! you can't DO THAT.

absolutely no one understands this road unless you are walking it.

easy to say detach. easy to say don't enable. easy to say support with love, but do nothing to foster the addiction. easy to say work on yourself.

not so easy to do

Laura said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Fractalmom