My younger son, Brian (25) is home for two weeks over the holidays. He is a strong, gentle spirit who has always been the “glue” of the family. He faithfully practices daily meditation and is intentional in the way he lives his life. He’s a committed vegetarian, has not drunk alcohol or ‘smoked’ now for over a year. He graduated from Stanford and is a successful documentary filmmaker. He truly believes that positive thought, love, and ‘cosmic energy’ can bring peace to the world as well as to individual lives, including his sister’s. I haven’t the heart to burst his bubble and talk to him about the reality and power of addiction – how the brain receptors physically change and the deep craving dominates any logic, will power, or rational thinking.
A few days ago, Brian caught a glimpse of an email I sent to a friend, saying that I had lost all hope of Hayley ever recovering. He sent me this:
Mom, don’t say you don’t have hope. Even if you feel discouraged.
Always have hope. Anything is possible.
It’s important that we as a family create that space in our minds for the outcome we want, without being attached to the actual outcome.
Just a post or two ago, I had claimed that I was going to try to be more positive and hopeful. And yet, deep down, it’s not what I truly believed or felt. I have detached from Hayley to the point of thinking of her as dead. I was being painfully honest with Brian when he asked me if I truly had given up on Hayley. When I said yes, that I thought of my daughter, as I once knew her, as ‘gone’, he was devastated. He said he was so disappointed in me – – – that I must try to always remember the essence of Hayley – of who she still is deep inside. He reminded me that if Hayley knew or felt that I/we had given up on her, what incentive would there ever be for her to even try to recover? Brian also was adamant that our negative thoughts do have a deleterious effect on the recipient of those thoughts.
I’ve been getting through my days by detaching emotionally from Hayley. It’s easier than loving her. I thought I had found a solution to being consumed by the pain, guilt, and tragedy of Hayley’s addiction. I still think about her constantly and her sordid lifestyle – but it’s so disgusting and revolting to me, I’ve erected a shield of protection – a barrier to feeling any tenderness or compassion towards her. It’s just too painful to love her and hope for her return to a ‘normal’ life. In fact, for at least the last ten years, I don’t really have many positive memories of Hayley. There were always crises, dramas, disappointments, and anxiety. So, I’ve been conditioned, I guess. If I don’t expect (or hope for) any thing, I won’t be let down – – – again.
And then, Brian reminded me that a life without hope is truly not worth living – that there is always the possibility of anything – even recovery. And that our thoughts can actually have an affect, either positive or negative, on those we love or come in contact with. Hmmmmmm – – – I’m going to consider this – and try to find my way towards regaining some hope – if not for myself, or for Hayley, then for Brian. I promised him.