A few weeks ago, just as the new year was beginning, two dear friends of mine got the confirmation of what they each suspected. Their sons were active in addiction again; the timing was crazy since these two families don't interact. The anxious texts and calls were frequent and though I've been down this path for years now, I found myself frustrated that I didn't have "the answer" to give my friends. And I know deep in my heart I don't have the answer for them. It took me a long time to learn that there isn't one answer that fits all. And in fact, just as I had to learn to walk through the devastating pain of a loved one's addiction, I knew and they knew they had to process through the mess again. These friends are recovery savvy. They know these programs inside and out. But still, when it's someone you love getting the news is like hitting a brick wall with your face and instantly the inability to swallow comes back. The only difference this time around is that we've learned more quickly how to go to the source of peace. We acknowledge much faster that we are powerless over others and their choices. And we realize we have to call out for a meeting and to surround ourselves with real, live people that will help support us through the days that are hard.
When my friend said "I can't believe I'm here again, how did I miss the signs?" it got me thinking about my own walk with recovery and Cliff. Have I been lulled into a complacent place in life that I would miss the signs of returned drug activity? Would I live in the pig pen named denial again before I would acknowledge the action?
So, that led me to search out a meeting for me. In all the years I've been working this out, I have always gone to Al-Anon or Celebrate Recovery meetings. I had never visited a Nar-Anon group though I thought about it many times. These meetings certainly fit the profile of my life much more than Al-Anon, but they aren't as readily available as Al-Anon. Or at least they weren't 10 years ago. Nar-Anon is becoming a bigger group now and I was happy to find one less than 5 miles from my house. I went last night and was glad I did. The group size was larger than anticipated since many of the "family" meetings can be quite small. Others were new last night, too. One young woman had never attended a support group at all. As I listened to each person around the table, I realized how thankful I am to God for the Steps and the program I have worked. I could recall with some who were still in such grave pain what confusion and pain that place was, and connect with others like me who have found their balance in life and were able to share without hurting. Too much.
How easily we can be roped into a different line of thinking if we're not careful. Many who live in addiction/alcoholic lifestyles love to place blame on anyone else but themselves. And so as a reminder to the newbies and myself, I mentioned the 3C's of recovery. The 3C's can help and if you need to do this daily, say the following out loud. Write it on your bathroom mirror or post it on your desk at work. "I didn't cause it, I can't cure it, I can't control it". And then say it again until you believe it and know that it's true.
It looks like I'll be dropping in on this meeting regularly, I do believe. It felt good to be in a different place spiritually, emotionally and mentally and hopefully I will bring hope to those around me, if they need it.