Little children usually have a “manya” as we call it in my family. A security blanket, a stuffed lil animal creature, or some other colourful character, that they hold especially close and grip tightly with their little hands, when they are feeling unsafe or frightened. This is a good thing.
When I “grew up” and became a Mom of my own child, I grabbed my refuge in “worry and dread” who became my new best friends for life. A soft little creature with a happy face looking up at me, would have been a much healthier choice. I had good reason, of course. I became a single Mom unexpectedly. I had an irresponsible rascal, at the time for my child’s Daddy. The list goes on. Never the less….I was losing my soul. No one seemed to be doing what they were “expected” to do, and I was becoming a full time expert on what was best for everyone’s life….but my own. My life was certainly at the very least…unmanageable, but I KNEW, if I could just MAKE the two men in my life responsible….my life would work!
Fast forward to my son being a young adult. Handsome and charming as they come. I hoped and I hoped his talents and personality would overcome this big invisible black cloud that now came for him. This Deity that was turning him into something I could not name, but was making me crazy trying to control . I felt like a blind child in a dark forest, pleading for the light to shine thru my wild,tear stained hands, madly waving for help from anyone, anywhere….a lost ship in the night,feeling we would both sink if we could not find a way out of this darkness. I consulted, with frequent terror, my two best friends, “worry and dread”, but they only made for sleepless nights and worthless pleadings and bargaining chips that swallowed up what little dignity was left in each of our souls. Things got much worse for both of us. The time had come where Truth was finally about to exhale and burst forth the most fearful of thunder and lightening storms I had ever known.
It was February 28th Thursday. The Leap Year month. My Birthday Month. It was a gloomy winter day’s in San Diego, and my little boy was getting on a plane to Florida to go to DETOX. Would he make it on to that second plane? Would he instead…change his mind and drink his way back onto the streets or worse? Worry and Dread were pounding away in my head. I will always remember getting that phone call from “Mike”. “I have your boy and he is safe now.” I fell to my knees sobbing with glistening streams of hope and thankfulness.
Those days before Detox,he spent five days at my home. Had to drink tall Coors Lite Beer the moment upon awakening to just feel undreadful. We walked the streets, putting his life in boxes and my tears in my sleeve. Closing up his music studio was pretty emotional for us both. I prayed for him on my knees at the foot of his bed. I wept. For Gratitude. My son was alive. He made many crying confessions to me. His turmoils came tumbling out of his tear stained face like marbles rolling out of a glass jar and scrambling to find shelter. He was not covered up any more. He grabbed on to his “Manya” and for those moments….his Manya was his Mama.
I never thought in my wildest fears I would have detox,rehab,sober house, dual diagnosis, relapse…be part of my everyday vocabulary. Terror ran thru my bones as this was territory I had never traversed…but hope rang in my heart and I held on tight to that one.
I found my way back into the 12 step meetings. This time it was Alinon. I had been to them all, for I had many an “Alcoholic” in my life, but NEVER (never say never! ) thought I would be back because my son was an addict. After all I had “educated” him about this very thing! Ha! So you think you go to ALinon because of the addict in your life, and you soon discover that YOU are a big part of the problem! And you have your own disease! Mine was being a “helicopter” “Worry and Dread” Mom. Now I have tools. I have people who know what I am feeling. I have people who know what a dangerous neighborhood my brain can be…with the thoughts and “fix it” attitudes that “catastophize” all situations whether they “need it” or not.
There was a relapse. It even involved racing to the emergency room, and then detox for the second time. His choice. I did not lash out. I did not scold. I did not even cry (until after…new for me!). I prayed. I had compassion. I listened. The more I listened…the more he gave. The more I listened….the more he talked of his pain. The more I let him have his dignity…the more he thanked me for being there and loving him.
I have had some big tests. I was going on a big trip that I was really looking forward to, the nite I discovered he was drinking again after 6 months of sobriety. I stayed with him which meant I was up all night and travelled on 3 planes all the next day. I MADE that choice. It was not done to me. I am no longer a victim and he no longer has to feel guilty because of me. He has taken up boxing. He loves it. He looks marvelous. He is learning. We are BOTH getting better.
Sometimes I have slight regret. IF only…..the “If only’s…..” set in. But it passes fast. Because I know if I could have NOT been a helicopter Mom back when he was little and bad things DID happen…..I WOULD have done things differently. I think we can’t help but wound our children in some ways no matter how hard we try. We are not PERFECT little human beings. As Oprah says….”When you know better…..you do better.” My son knows now where to go if he gets in trouble with himself again. He has worked hard on himself and he continues to, and I see it. The light is back in his eyes and his smile and he has a musical lilt to his step. I pray every day for his continued sobriety, success, health and happiness. I now know it is HIS Journey. I cannot do it for him. ANd that is REALLY SO RELIEVING! I need to focus on my own life and my own dreams that I still have passion for. The more I respect myself and do what I love, the better it is for him.
I was travelling up to the third floor in the elevator the other nite, and as the doors opened, I saw this strapping young man standing there. Full of smiles. He literally glistened in the moonlight. I thought to myself….”Oh, how nice! Another handsome young boy moving in here”. I said a polite hello, and went to step out of the elevator when I saw his outstretched arms and realized it was my son!!!! “Hi Mama!” He said as he grabbed me for a big hug! I was apalled that I didn’t know it was him at first! That has NEVER happened in our whole lives that I didn’t recognize him. The puzzlement stayed with me all week. Then yesterday at a meeting it hit me. I was very busy with my judgements, my blame, my fears about his behaviors that were so scary and life threatening as this is a very deadly disease, that he “LOOKED” different to me all these months. He LOOKED like my fears….he LOOKED like other people who I have felt have hurt me in the past. The moonlit night at the elevator I saw HIM. His soul. His glory. His everything. The good, the bad, the ugly…the truth. I saw ALL of him. And I loved ALL of him and all of Me. We are Glistening.