Saturday Mornings

Saturday morning was full of questions for myself regarding my commitment to meetings for family support through this crazy, chaotic world of loving our addicts.  I wonder if this is what I should be doing or if it's really worth the time I am investing to be available for those who hurt. Then I remember that this is just as much for me as it is for those who choose to attend.  

Today we reviewed a little portion from Melody Beattie's book Codependent No More.  If you have not invested time in reading this book, run to your nearest library, used bookstore or and get yourself a copy of what could change your codependent life.  Truthfully, we are all codependent in some form or another. But sometimes through childhood years, unhealthy friendship/relationships, addiction or alcohol abuse, we find ourselves in full blown illness.  But, just as people are unwilling to recognize addiction as an illness,  we surely aren't going to give room for codependency as an illness. The author refers to a statement by Earnie Larsen  "If you defined your problem as living with an alcoholic, you may think not living with an alcoholic is the solution to your problem.  That may be partially correct.  But our real problems are codependents are our own characteristics - our codependent behaviors."  Well now, isn't that an awakening?  It was for me. 

When I first began attending meetings six years ago, a recovering alcoholic pointed an accusatory finger at me and said "you have doormat stamped across your forehead"...and laughed.  Stick it, pal, I wanted to say. Not very Christian like I know, but I thought to myself because I didn't have the courage to speak, you have no idea how close the line really is from being a good mom to being an enabler,  It can be a baffling place when you are fully in the world of  denial, controlling, anger and a myriad of other emotions that try to direct your life of secrets.  Oh, thank You Lord, that I am on the healing side of that horrid place.

Today, I listened to another parent and her adult daughter talk about taking those first steps of setting themselves free.  Some boundaries were being outlined and slowly this nearly 70 year old mother is beginning to see that her life is not about taking care of her out of control addict. That God created her for a purpose of her own and His plan for her is good.  She's tired and her addict exhausts her. As with most addicts, this one is diagnosed with a bunch of mental illness issues.  Every other parent there nodded in understanding as she talked about how hard it is to watch her neurotic son  load up on the pills they want him to take.  She hardly knows him.  Yet, a month ago when he was admitted to the hospital for some very paranoid behaviors and they took him off all prescribed meds for evaluation, this mom said, "I had a glimpse of my son again."  Three days later he was on all his pills again because his case manager lets the addict tell her what he needs.  It's a crazy thing.  

In the state of Michigan, you can tell the social programs that are "helping you" that you aren't using needle drugs or methamphetamine and they don't necessarily test you.  You are then added to the program and psychiatrists/psychologists will prescribe all kinds of anti-depressants, anxiety or any other type of drug they think you need or you think you need.  They will practically let you call your own medical plan into action.  And because of HIPPA, the family does not have to be included or consulted.  So drug addicts with crazy behavior can work the people and not have to work a program and the family tries to deal with crazy. No wonder we become control freaks. 

The medical field has very little addiction education in their years of preparing for their medical license.  Last I heard, the average medical doctor spends 8 classroom hours on addiction.  How in the world are we going to reduce the number of addicts in our society when all the medical field wants to do is load them up with "legal" drugs?? It's a nightmare. 

Thankfully, through the steps of recovery we learn to step back and not try to fix this or control it.  Our beloved addicts have to want this life change and we are learning to stand back and say "yay" when they take the steps necessary to change their lives into healthy chemical free living.  

And now the best part of this chapter closed with this:

Recovery helps stop the unbearable pain many of us (*codependents) have been living with.   Recovery is simple. It is not always easy but it is simple.  
It is based on a premise many of us have forgotten or never learned. 
Each person is responsible for him - or herself.  

It involves learning one new behavior that we will devote ourselves to : taking care of ourselves. 

I promise you this.  You will be changed and your relationships will be changed when you embrace this truth!!