|The Paradox of Love
||[Feb. 23rd, 2010|09:15 pm]
(I am posting this here because I 'think' there are some of you who do not read my regular blog - and for those who consider themselves friends, I thought you should know what's been happening in my life - that ends up impacting every other relationship I have including the one with myself)....
I am at the mercy of the love I hold in my heart and soul for my children.
They are grown. They are individuals. I am proud on them on many levels. But when they, hurt I hurt. When they are sick or things are not going well in their lives, I feel helpless. I am not sure my grown kids can understand this – even the one with kids of her own probably can not understand why I worry STILL about her even though she is an adult and I don’t know how to explain that you never stop loving (or worrying/or caring) about your kids.
Currently, I am reading a novel by a man who lost his son to addiction. (I am not even sure how this ends – but from what I am slowly starting to realise from my own experience, you ‘lose’ your kids to addiction – and the loss does not always entail death). The book is: ‘Beautiful Boy’ by David Sheff. Mr. Sheff is a journalist whose work has been well received and widely published. As his son’s ‘disease’ progresses and their family begins to fall apart, the father does everything he can do to help hold his son together. His research was exhaustive.
As I read this book – it is like watching a horrific accident unfold before my eyes. I see myself, I see my son, I see his dad. I see the intricate and complex dance we perform together and apart as things happen (or don’t).
I am torn. I am in shards. I feel like a zombie and I KNOW this is impacting other parts of my life (how can it not??). There’s a sentence in the book: “Parents of addicts don’t sleep”. They don’t. I DON’T sleep. And, no matter how much advice I get, no matter how kind everyone is, no matter what I do, I can’t seem to just relax. I can’t seem to just let it go. However, soon, I know that frustration and exhaustion will eventually force my hand.
So much of this book feels like my story, like my son’s story. I mean there are things that the author’s kid states and it is verbatim the exact same phrases my son has used on me.
Then there’s the doubt of what is actually going on that whirls around in my head like someone hit the puree button on my brain: “How can this truly be a disease? (Even though it’s been classified by the medical community as a disease). How is this not a choice on the part of the person using? If it is a choice, why can’t they just stop?”
I believe there is truly a genetic disposition towards addiction. I also believe that in one form or another most of us suffer from some character defect which somehow allows us to do things we should not be doing – like having one too many glasses of wine, like buying more than we can afford, like gossiping, like eating too much….but how many of those things are actually considered deathly? I am being told through my own counseling that the denial, the dishonesty is all part of the disease. It all follows a predictable pattern that ultimately leads down the same self-destructive path. But hey aren’t we all going to die? That’s why my son basically said. My heart in my throat I say nothing. What can I say? Yes, but do you have to choose such a quick ending? Do you not see anything worth sticking around for? Can you wait at least until I am gone to do this to yourself? And on it goes...and the ‘if only’ questions are killing me. “If only I had done this differently, or that differently, or been a better mom...” and on and on. Blaming myself, tearing myself apart, even though I know full well I am not responsible for his actions or decisions.
Add to this the fact that his own dad is an ostrich and basically is enabling the entire process. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say dad’s an addict himself – although I don’t know what he’s addicted to...the denial? I can’t fight both of them, so...I have to let go – and I needed to anyway. But how do you let go of your children when they are floundering? “Parents help, it’s what they do” is another quote. Sure…we help – or we try – maybe some of us don’t. But as I said in my last meeting – where do you draw the line? It’s a moving target and I feel like I keep missing it.
And so I read (the next book on the list is ‘Addict in the Family: Stories of Loss , Hope and Recovery’ by Beverly Conyers’), I research, I look for answers, I cry, I hurt, I don’t sleep, I eat too much. Lately, I’ve gotten back into trying to work out and next month I am going to try to teach Yoga again. All the while, I keep praying and asking God to grant me serenity, courage, and acceptance. Maybe someday, it will all fall into place...maybe not.