Mom, Take Your Eyes Off!

Next to Christmas and New Years day, the hardest holiday for families in crisis is probably Mother's Day.

Magazines, TV programs and ads, newspapers, radio and Facebook tout enduring pitches of what a great mother your mother was and the reward you should be giving her.  But I'd venture to say that most mother's of addicts and alcoholics are struggling to find their place today.   This holiday almost seems to be a competition as to which mother has been honored more by her adoring children.

After all, where would we be without our mothers?  Some people, however, didn't have loving mothers and are searching for someone to affirm them and validate their existence while some mothers are struggling to find their loving children underneath all the chemicals running rampant through their veins.

Perhaps each Mother's day rolls by with your stomach inside out in anguish wondering whether or not you'll get a glimpse of your addicted one. Maybe Mother's day is the same as every other day with all the chaos, fighting and tears that you've been enduring for weeks, months or years now.  "Nothings changed!"  you shout to yourself as you pull on the covers and put the light out on another disappointing, heart-breaking day.  You go to sleep with tears falling on your pillow and cursing the situation you are in, loathing the alarm that will jolt you awake in 7 hours for yet another exhausting day. 

"How will this ever be different?" you ask to no one in particular.  Heavy sighs follow.

One of the current buzz phrases is "change agent" and people are being urged to be the change they want to see.  Being codependent, we sometimes struggle severely to see that things really can be different. We take on the thinking that this life was merely meant to be endured and nothing better would come our way.  Oh, the lies of addiction affect the whole family!

But, if you could change something today, what would it be?  Don't lose a ton of time thinking about what you know you cannot change.  Instead,  if you could change one thing today for yourself what would it be?  Have you set any goals for yourself?  This isn't easy. We aren't used to focusing on ourselves in a healthy way. I am just beginning to set new, attainable goals and I've been working a program for 6 years.  

What would next Mother's day be like for you if you can make a reasonable change for yourself?  I used to imagine my special days with my children and grands around my feet. That really isn't the way it goes in my family and now I'm okay with that. The truth is, my sons and daughter-in-law don't love me any more or any less because we aren't all gathered together but for years the lies in my head told me differently.  Facebook and other venues may make you feel less loved or cared for, but you can stop that in its tracks right now. Stay off of Facebook if it breaks your heart. 

What can you do that lets love in and allows you to feel at peace?  For me, I took today off. Off from everything.  I didn't go to church which is rare. I would love to have been there but I attend a church that is 35 minutes away and was just in that area yesterday and will be there again tomorrow night for a meeting so I decided a week ago, that I was probably going to spend Sunday morning in my chair, with a cup of coffee and my feet up and my Higher Power, my Savior, is okay with that!  I watched "I Love Lucy" reruns and read the paper.  I made home made waffles and took a nap. I received messages from people that love me which includes my own offspring and watched my beloved Detroit Tigers while catching up on some overdue reading. It has been a perfect day!  In the past I may not have heard from one or the other of my sons and for some reason I let the drugs lie to me about how they really felt about me. Suddenly the day would be lost in "should haves and would haves and if only".  Ugh. 

I'm thankful and grateful that this program allows me to let go of my expectations, to still be at peace in my heart and to know when to walk away from Facebook. Just like I learned years ago to turn off the TV during Christmas when the messages were overwhelmingly laden with couples and romance and what I thought I was missing, I'm learning to not let anyone or anything dictate what these days ought to be and where my joy comes from.

So, I ask again, what will mother's day look like tomorrow? What will it look like next year? What changes will you make in your own life choices that will bring you joy and peace for each day leading up to next mother's day?  Remember  that it's just one day at a time so you don't have to change every messy thing today. It's a process, sometimes slow and laborious but a process nonetheless. You will see that you are different than you were 30 days ago, six months ago and each passing year.   

Take your eyes off your addict.  Look out the window and see how many different kinds of birds are in your neighborhood.  It's that time of year to plant a garden or container that will bring joy to your heart.  Take your eyes off your addict.  Read a book that challenges your thinking or takes you on a brain vacation. Take your eyes off your addict. You are a good mom and you are loved.  Don't hang your head any more for the choices your addict has made. Don't bury yourself for your past parenting mistakes made in love. Get some support and friends who will see the talents and gifts you have been given.  It sounds trite but Let Go and Let God. 

Mostly take your eyes off your addict and place them on God who cares for you more than you'll ever know.  Bask in His love for you as He longs to lead you into something new and loving and exciting. 

Happy Mother's Day from one change agent to another!