The first time we met, she seemed a bit of a misfit. Not obtrusively different but something was not like the rest of us. It was euchre night and she hadn't played much, she announced loudly. All the while her hands shook and she just seemed ill at ease. The night continued on and as we moved from table to table, I didn't give her another thought. I don't remember how much time lapsed before I saw her again when she walked into my recovery meeting. A feeling of dread crept came over me. Why, oh why, I wondered do these meetings call in anyone who is looking for a place to fit in?
Week after week "Violet" (not her real name) would show up, mostly wearing shades of purple ~ her favorite color. Her stature is larger than most and because her voice is loud you cannot ignore her presence. Violet struggled to be attentive and always wanted to comment on another person's sharing. Mostly encouragement mind you, but disruptive and sometimes advice which is a BIG no-no in recovery. Fidgeting, writing, fumbling for her notebook and sometimes leaving a table and coming back with a different chair to sit in became her noted routine. Crying was Violet's constant reaction and emotion during her sharing time. Although the reason for coming should be to fix ourselves, hahaha, we newcomers at the co-dependency tables always begin talking about whom we're trying to fix, save, or re-connect with so crying happens often at our tables.
The months moved on and I began to notice that Violet was working her recovery more seriously than anyone that passed my way. Her childhood was pretty rough, and then she'd suffered abuses at the hands of men she chose to love her. Additionally she had a platter full of medical issues which manifested in ways provoking her disruptive behaviors and so on. We began to meet as sponsor/sponsee and work the steps together. At the same time she placed herself into faith based studies and worked hard to keep pace on those lessons as well. Slowly I learned more and more about Violet that was, you know, hard to grasp at times. She'd been hurt so many times over and her family was more dis-jointed than most I met. Back surgery was approaching and arrangements were made for all the details yet neither of her children showed up to transport her home as agreed. There she was stuck in the hospital and so the calls began! One by one, different women stepped up to the plate for meals, doctor appointments and just plain visiting.
Over time I began to see Violet as a gentle woman in so many ways ~ loving and encouraging to anyone she meets and has a delightful sense of humor, especially regarding herself! The tears are rare now and her grip on the reality of her relationships is spot on. Violet's dependency upon others has shifted onto God alone, right where it belongs. I've noticed that her demeanor has softened; she's less disruptive and fidgety. When Violet isn't with us she is sorely missed.
Recently, during a gratitude list, Violet shared the things she's grateful for and the first thing out of her mouth was being grateful for this group and the meal I brought her so many months ago. I felt a bit ashamed when I recalled my inward attitude toward Violet when we first met. Violet continued to say that for the first time in her life she feels like she belongs and that she has real friends. I've learned so much from Violet especially regarding my first inward responses due to quick assessments of people I don't really know. God, I need Your help on that character defect fast.
Gratitude comes in all forms, colors and faces.
Her name is "Violet"
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