Ah, Christmas! It always messes with my mind. In my imagination I see the day played out like a scene from It's a Wonderful Life, but in reality it's probably more like Roseanne. This year it was kind of the same.
Though it's been years since my son has been active in addiction, the world of addiction and recovery is wagging it's tail behind me. For just about all my years as an adult, I have been single and often alone. What happens is that I used to seclude myself from the world in order to not face the drama or the truth of what was going on. It was less painful for me to fret at home alone than to have to look into the faces of others and try to read their thoughts, which I was certain were all about me and my struggles with Cliff. Problem #1 is the deceiver is such a liar but when you're vulnerable you will believe anything that makes sense to ease the pain. Problem #2 is it's not my job to try to read any ones thoughts or non-verbal communications toward me. Sheesh.
Now, many years later I have to work hard at not slipping back into my seclusion. What used to be my insane asylum is slowly becoming my sanctuary again and I like it. This has taken MANY years and tears and LOTS of hard work. Addiction and chaos are not polite or sensitive to the family members at all. It will hold you hostage if you let it. Even years after, I must remain on guard of my thoughts and actions.
As busy as I can be, however, I still find myself with a lot of time alone. No phone calls, no visitors, no outings. Facebook can fill my heart with angst as I see people I love living the lives I had hoped for. Even at my age, most communication with family and friends is via text, which I HATE. I repeat, I HATE, but phones don't get answered so I've joined the ranks of texting. I'm quite a distance from my circle of friends so meeting up for a quick anything is not too quick. It requires planning ahead. Who's got time? 40 minutes away makes nothing quick. One thing after another ticks off the list of why I'm alone. Who can change it? Only me. Therein lies the problem.
Many changes have taken place this year in my life. Son #1 and Lovely Espousa have been married 11-1/2 years now and have a sweet little family with two precious daughters; Mini-chick turned 10. Whaaaaa??. Oh, the joy those little girlies bring to my heart, I can't even begin to express. I have since retired (semi) and am fumbling around to find my way. Not aimlessly, mind you, but unplanned just yet. Because I try to pray about everything, I talked with the Lord about retiring for quite a while before the decision was made. Pressing on my heart, was that my family is getting older and I've worked hard for many years and missed out on some important relationships. I didn't want to watch the remainder of my days and years nor the ones I love slip away without spending some valuable time with them. Lo and behold, just a short time after I retired, my brothers cancer moved to his brain. He's going to need some assistance and I will make every effort to be available as often as I can. He's alone 90% of the time, too. My healthy father is 87 but can use a companion on occasion to accompany him to Florida, for instance. Poor me ;)
Thankfully, my relationship with The Lord, my Higher Power, has strengthened over the years and He can step through and diffuse the little landmines in my thinking and bring truth and reality to me with haste. He sorts through the issues and says "Laura, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies." (Phil 4:8-9 Msg.) He reminds me to draw close to Him, the Rock on which I stand and take my place with Him. He encourages me greatly with my days ahead. Look at this promise for our future in His Word: "
God, who made you and knows you intimately and better than you know yourself, is just a whisper away. Truly, He will never leave you to figure this out alone if you ask Him.
Just like I have to work on not "hiding out" I encourage you to also find your place and your group. It could be in a church or synagogue and it could also be at 12 Step meetings. Support each other in a positive way. Step out of the muddy puddle you're standing in now and begin with one new habit. Tell yourself the whole truth about the situation in your life and surround yourself with friends who you can count on. Lean into your Creator. Your life depends on it.