One Day at A Time

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.

In the solitude of my car yesterday, I was going through the years of recovery for me and for Cliff.  I recalled how I felt when I first began attending meetings with regularity. I couldn't handle the pain well and that's when I began to write. I needed an outlet somewhere but didn't know what to do. 

At first, I went to meetings like most parents do, desperate for someone to tell me how to save my son. How to stop the madness and chaos and I was desperate to understand why anyone would put something into their bodies so seriously unhealthy and dangerous that each time they handled a needle it was like playing Russian roulette. What hurt my son so much that we couldn't talk about it and get to the bottom of it?  

I didn't believe that I had to go to these meetings for me. "Don't you get it??" I shouted silently "I don't have the addiction. My son is going to die in some house in Detroit or Highland Park and no one will be able to tell me. They don't know me, they don't know how to reach me!? He's only 18, he's only 19, he's only 23"....and so it went day after day, month after month, year after year.  After attending meetings weekly for several months, the scales on my eyes began to loosen and fall away, a little at a time.   And still, the boundaries and denial played tricks on me. I needed to face the facts in order for some of "it" to stick and stay and allow me to pick through it and digest what I could, when I could. Like a heaping Thanksgiving dinner plate while fighting off a flu bug, I worked through the steps of recovery. 

Finally, a year later when Cliff went to prison I had my respite. I could step back from the mental squalor that surrounded me and really work on myself and my understanding of this mess without an addict constantly coming at me like a whirling tornado.  I began to sift and sort. Cliff found recovery and so did I. He would, in his own way, sift and sort through his "stuff" and is now just beginning to see some of the fruits of living life differently, with a plan and not a substance.  To this day, I sift and sort and probably always will. 

Driving to my meeting yesterday I remembered that one of the things I used to say and wrote about early in the beginning of this blog, was "if you had a child with a terminal illness you would do anything you could to save his life." So that's what I did.  But the difference is that a terminal illness randomly comes onto someone unexpectedly and they are then dependent upon the medical field and a miracle from God in heaven, to be healed. They are subject to this test and that exam to figure out the best way to treat their invasive life-robbing disease and sadly, sometimes there isn't any cure. The terminally ill person is facing a giant to which they no longer have the slingshot and stone that will take it down. 

Now the addict may also randomly find himself addicted when they take that first step to try something risky.  Suddenly their illness takes hold and directs their life choices.  They too, can put themselves into the medical fields hands for healing but the difference is they can be healed if they simply take a step to help themselves.  They do not have to face a death sentence unless they choose to.  It's a simple change that they have to choose for themselves. No one can hand it to them. They have to pick it up and walk to the next step, inch by inch, but they can be healed.  The key is in their hands. 

So all this to say, it's taken me a long time in these meetings to come to this "aha" moment of letting this part go.  Life choices for someone at 18 are different than someone at 25 and then again at 30. Cliff is now 7 years clean, and I am 8 years on a path of life-changing choices for me that free from all the garbage that I simply used to kick from room to room and try to make sense in my thinking.    

Hang in there. Your "aha" will come to you at sometime in your recovery walk as well. And then another "aha" will come along when you are ready for the next bite.   

Just keep taking life one day at a time. God will guide you. He promised.