February 03, 2014
Loss - A New Perspective
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines LOSS as the:
1. Failure to keep or to continue to have something
2. The experience of having something taken from you or destroyed
3. The act of losing possession
Almost from the beginning I have struggled with the notion of loss.
When my son David died of addiction at the age of 16 I desperately wanted to cling to every aspect of his being. I was so blinded by my grief that I was incapable of being able to see beyond the sudden and seemingly irrevocable absence of his physical presence. The touch of his hand, his breath on my cheek, the sounds of his voice and that impish smile of his that never failed to melt my heart…and bend me to his will, all were my constant companions. And yet it seemed that he was gone in the blur of an instant, irretrievable, and beyond the scope of this mortal existence. And so in the first couple of years after his death I railed against the powers that be for “taking him away” from me until I was overcome with my own addiction and forced to admit that I was not only powerless over drugs and alcohol but over life and death as well.
I sought treatment at the same place David did, found recovery and in doing so slowly began to reconstruct the meaning of not only my view of life but also of loss and death. I didn’t realize it at first but I had embarked upon an odyssey of living not only a new life free of drugs and alcohol, but one of emotional and psychological spirituality that knows no bounds. A spirituality not unlike the universe of the “Big Bang Theory” where my recovery life continues to expand exponentially at the speed of light bringing me to new understandings with the passing whisper of its wisdom.
An integral part of that new wisdom is that I now know that I never “lost” my Dave; he hasn’t been “taken from me”. In fact he is part of me more than ever today on a plane of existence I was incapable of feeling, seeing or understanding before. He is part of not only my spirituality but also my higher power and as such I seek his companionship, wisdom and intercession on a daily and sometimes moment to moment basis.
Today I hear his voice in the struggles of a young man early in his journey of recovery and feel his strength in a sponsee taking a 6 month token. I see his smile in the face of a young woman who has just realized she is not alone and the hope of two parents who have lived in fear for far too long because of their son or daughter’s addiction.
Finally today I have hope, joy and gratitude for the “continued presence” of my son who has and is showing me not only the path for recovery from my own addiction but to new understandings and appreciation of life, with the on-going whispers of his wisdom.
August 26, 2013
Soar With Recovery!!!!!!!
When we are finally ready to embrace recovery...
and begin to tear down the walls that have confined us...
Or the cages that have imprisoned us....
Then...and only then...do we discover what our wings are truly for...
The heights to which we can soar....
That were only mere fantasies before
July 24, 2013
Breaking The Chains
recovering from addiction I discovered that the pain I felt in the beginning was really the
breaking of the chains that had imprisoned my understanding.
Come to the edge, my higher power said.
I said, I am afraid.
Come to the edge, my higher power said.
I did. She pushed me.
.....and I flew!!!!
June 12, 2013
The Insanity of Addiction
The insanity of addiction is that when you're an addict you can go without feeling anything except drunk or stoned or hungry. And when you compare that to the other feelings of sadness, angry, fear, worry, despair and depression suddenly addiction no longer looks so bad and actually seems like a very viable option!!!!
May 31, 2013
Hope after loss
In those early months and for the first couple of years after the loss of a child the oft used word Hope seemed to feel like such a violation of the loss and somehow a betryal of love.
And yet in the fullness of time, and with the help of recovery, we learn that without Hope we could not survive, heal and thrive.
May 29, 2013
I think I'll dance!!!!!
On this Memorial Day I have learned that many of us will lose someone we think we can never live without, our hearts are badly broken, and the bad news is that we never completely get over the loss of our loved one.
But this is also the good news. Because over time we learn that they live forever in our hearts that never seems to completely heal back up.
And yet we come through in spite of it all and also learn that in some ways living without that loved one is like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—a leg that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.
Thanks Dave....I think I'll dance!
May 17, 2013
Acceptance and Loss
The death of a former sponsee and friend this last week from the disease of addiction has challenged me to look more closely at just how well I have learned to have acceptance in MY recovery from addiction.
It seems almost too simple to be true, but true acceptance -- accepting things exactly as they are -- can be the key that unlocks the door to happiness. And my understand comes from Page 449 (first 3 editions, pg. 417 in the 4th edition) of Alcoholics Anonymous or The Big Book as it is widely known...it reads:
"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes."For me, serenity began when I learned to distinguish between those things that I could change and those I could not. When I admitted that there were people, places, things, and situations over which I was totally powerless, those things began to lose their power over me. I learned that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, and learn from them, without my interference, judgement, or assistance!
The key to my serenity is acceptance. But "acceptance" does not mean that I have to like it, condone it, or even ignore it. What it does mean is I am powerless to do anything about it... and I have to accept that fact.
Nor does it mean that I have to accept "unacceptable behavoir." Today I have choices. I no longer have to accept abuse in any form. I can choose to walk away, even if it means stepping out into the unknown. I no longer have to fear "change" or the unknown. I can merely accept it as part of the journey.
I spent years trying to change things in my life over which I was powerless, but did not know it. I threatened, scolded, manipulated, coerced, pleaded, begged, pouted, bribed and generally tried everything I could to make the situation better -- only watch as things always got progressively worse.
I spent so much time trying to change the things I could not change, it never once occurred to me to simply accept them as they were.
Now when things in my life are not going the way I planned them, or downright bad things happen, I can remind myself that whatever is going on is not happening by accident. There's a reason for it and it is not always meant for me to know what that reason is.
That change in attitude has been the key to happiness for me.
And I know all too well I am not the only person in long term recovery from addiction that has found that serenity.
January 17, 2013
Before I began my Recovery from addiction I was so afraid to forgive others and myself because I thought I must remember the wrongs they did to me and I did to myself. And if I did not remember them I would not profit or learn from them in someway.
But in Recovery I have discovered that the opposite is true. Today I find that in forgiveness, the wrong is released from its emotional and psychological stranglehold on me and I can indeed learn and grow from it.
Recovery has also taught me that through strength and compassion of the heart, the release of forgiveness brings expanded intelligence to work with others and myself more humanely.
And so forgiveness, like acceptance, is indeed the release of all hope for a better past.
January 11, 2013
Take it easy God!!!
My wife and I have often mused about the conundrum that our son's death gave us a great and powerful gift. A gift that permits us, if we allow it, to understand pain, suffering and in some cases sudden tragic loss in a way that others in this world do not. And that the compassion and strength we can share with others in time of need comes not from empty words of solace but rather from the personal experience of walking the path.
And having walked that path we can also serve as guides and pathfinders for those in pain so that misery does not become a legacy of loss.
I am so fond of the Mother Theresa quote I heard many years ago in one of my AA meeting which goes:
"I know God only sends me what I can handle....I just wish he wouldn't trust me SO MUCH!!!!"
So God.....I guess you do trust us very much....just take it easy sometimes...will ya!!!
September 17, 2012
Hope and Recovery From Loss
The tragic passing of the son of close friends this week past has brought my own son’s loss some years ago into sharper focus that it has for a long time. The loss of a child is never something a parent gets over…as one lives the days with ...
It has been more than a decade since my son David’s death and in looking back I can now see the progression and phases of emotion that washed over me as time relentlessly marched on despite my protestations. The first year was a blur as I stumbled numbly through holidays, birthdays and special moments with which in good times, we celebrate our lives. The second year was worse as I could anticipate the pain and suffering those same life events would bring me. But as I moved through the third year and beyond time passed with the gradual ebbing of the feelings that I didn’t want to be here without him. The hole in my heart began to ache less and acceptance began to take root and blossom in my soul.
“Acceptance is the answer” they say in recovery and I believe that today with all my heart. I now find comfort in the knowledge that I will be with my son again and healing in the confidence that after all I have been through I can wait. I have also noticed that I am happier than most people because I am not the same person I once was. I live life now on its own terms and by doing so possess a serenity that I had never known before.
Who would have guessed that loss and sorrow could make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon?