Today, I Will be Hopeful

Posted on December 25, 2009. Filed under: addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, AlAnon, Parent of an Addict, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

It’s almost 3:00 pm on Christmas Day.  My youngest son, Brian, is asleep on the couch in front of the fire.  My 92# golden retriever, Abby, is at my feet.  Soft classical holiday music plays in the background.  Most of my blog postings thus far seem to fall in to the category of “helplessly . . . “.   This year, Christmas means hope and new beginnings for me.  I am going to try to balance things a bit more by periodically interspersing my usual postings with things that are more positive and encouraging and swing the pendulum in to the “ . . . hoping” column.

I am missing my daughter today, and can hardly bear to think about how she is spending her Christmas.  Is it different than any other day for her?  Is she able to feel and show compassion to some one else?  Is there any joy or beauty in her world?  Will the isolation she feels today be an excuse to numb herself even more?

Oops – there I go again.  OK, I’m back on track now.  Here are some excerpts about recovery and hope from David Sheff’s book, beautiful boy – I have noted page #s. These are “pearls” that sounded more realistic versus tired clichés.

David Sheff is a writer whose books include Game Over, China Dawn, and All We Are Saying. His many articles and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Wired, Fortune and elsewhere.  His piece for the New York Times Magazine, “”My Addicted Son,” won many awards and led to the writing of this book.  Go to my “Book Recs” tab to see more excerpts from this book.

•” . . . thankful that of all the fatal disease my (son) might have gotten, he got one for which there is this little sliver of hope that if he surrenders, he’ll survive.”  Thomas Lynch  p.272

• . . . recovery, like addiction itself, is a long and complex process. Families should never give up hope for recovery – for recovery can and does happen every day.  Nor should they stop living their own lives while they wait for that miracle of recovery to occur.”

• . . . relapses can be part of recovery. As Dr. Rawson said, it sometimes takes many of them before an addict stays sober.  If they don’t die or do too much damage, there’s a chance, always a chance. P.272   . . . recovery is an ongoing process.  He may have relapsed, but rehabs interrupted the cycles of using.

•regarding relapse:  failure, even serial failure, may lead to success.  Treatment catches up with you.  Treatment should be conceived as an ongoing process rather than as a cure. P.167

•As they often repeat in AA, you’re as sick as your secrets. Though it is not a solution, openness is a relief.  Our shared stories help us remember what we’re dealing with.  Addicts need ongoing reminders and support, and so do their families.  It helps to read others’ stories.  Taking it one day at a time.  p.315

•The idea is that any behavior, including behaviors that seem automatic or compulsive, can become conscious and can then be interrupted.  Time in treatment – time measured in many months if not years- is usually required for dramatic change.  In the process, the drug user’s brain is probably regenerating, and dopamine levels may be normalizing.  A cycle of abstinence replaces a cycle of addiction. p. 207-08.

•”Recovery is . . . about dealing with that hole in the soul.” William C. Moyers, son of journalist Bill Moyers and a recovering addict.  P.310

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7 Responses to “Today, I Will be Hopeful”

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I’m a Sheryl Crow fan. I was listening to her yesterday and suddenly I was so struck by the lyrics to “Lullaby for Wyatt”. The words made me think of you and Hayley, Peg. Here they are:

The world could fall apart
But you’re my heart, my dear
I will sing this song
‘Til we are gone, my dear.

How do I keep you from losing your way
Hope you’ll go out and you’ll come back some day
But love is letting go
And this I’ll know.

Cause you were mine
For a time.

I have held you close
And breathed your name, my dear
I was with you then
And will remain, my dear.

Cause you were mine
For a time.

Donna – I can’t believe the timing of this poem you sent. I really needed it. Brian and I had a conversation about my losing hope – and he made me promise to never give up hope. It is just so much easier to completely detach from Hayley, write her off, and completely dismiss who her essential/core being still is. This will be the topic of my next post. Thank you.

Your courage, intellect and determination
to continue to hope and to prevail are
inspiring. My heart goes out to you and
to your “lost” daughter. Hope springs eternal! Keep HOPE alive!
Never lose it because it’s all we’ve got to keep us going. I can only HOPE that next year will be better for you and your daughter. You and your family are in my thoughts and hopes every day. You are not alone! Hang tough! Never give up!

Thanks, Joyce. Great to hear from you. Your encouragement and support mean a lot, and help refill my dwindling ‘bank’ account of strength and hope. I need friends like you.

Hi Peg. Thought about you on Christmas day. Thanks for these quotes. I haven’t read that book yet. I’m not ready to, I guess. Anyway, just wanted to let you know you were on my heart. God bless!

HI, Kay. Nice hearing from you. I’ve thought a lot about you, also, and wondered how your holidays went. I did not hear from Hayley – and it took a lot of discipline not to contact her on Christmas. I’m following this course of no contact to see if it has any kind of effect on Hayley. I’m not necessarily trying to coerce her in to doing anything – but want her to feel the full impact of her lifestyle and choices. Plus, it’s just easier for me not to communicate with her. One reader offered her perspective, that she has essentially thought of her addict daughter (11 years of addiction) as dead. She has grieved the loss of her daughter and the person that she used to be. This approach has some appeal, in that it allows total detachment. Hayley knows I am here and that we love her. She has options that are difficult, no doubt – but possible. I sound like I know what I’m doing, and I really don’t. More later.

These are great quotes, Peg. I especially like the one about families not giving up, but not stopping their own lives while they wait for recovery. That has been a hard one for me.
Today a friend told me about her son breaking up with a girlfriend recently. She said that her son found out that the young woman was using oxycontin. Although he was very attracted to her, he immediately broke off the relationship when he found this out. Although I don’t know either of these young people and have no opinion about their relationship or lives, I felt sad. I felt sad that this girl, who is someone’s daughter, grand-daughter, perhaps sister or niece, was damaging herself this way. It’s all so tragic and so pervasive.
Thank you, Peg, for the encouraging words. It is, indeed, a season of hope.


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