Weight Loss

Posted on June 17, 2010. Filed under: addiction, Addiction Resources/Support, AlAnon, Parent of an Addict, Treatment Centers | Tags: , , , , , |

I feel as if a crushing weight, that has been pressing down on me for ~ 15 years, has been lifted a few millimeters.  I can at least breathe now.  I hadn’t realized how oppressive this heaviness has been.  Since Hayley was a senior in high school, there’s been a huge knot in my gut.  I’ve known for a very long time there was something ‘wrong’ and percolating deep inside her  – it was bound to erupt at some point. This instinctual sense of dread and anticipation quietly and subtly grew over the years, until – like a cancer, it crowded out and replaced most other feelings.

For the first time in many years, I’ve realized a space being cleared within, that has allowed some room for a bit of joy, artistic expression, and hope.  Yesterday, I spent four hours on a friend’s shaded patio – an afternoon Art Day;  I started a new, big knitting project for my younger son, Brian.  It will be a mediation shawl, and I hope I can finish it by Christmas. (I’m slow); I’m almost finished reading a great novel – something I haven’t done for years.   And, I seem to have the energy and interest to tackle the layers of paper piles stacked in my home office.  Actually, the clutter in my house has become intolerable and I’m beginning to get motivated to deal with it.

Hayley has now been sober for  40 days.  Her phone calls and letters continue to express her passionate commitment to recovery.  She has not only found sobriety – she has found herself.  Her ‘voice’ sounds very different.  It is calm, and serene, and full of hope and possibility.  She is learning so much, and remarked that she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t thinking ahead to where/how she could get something that would distract or numb her – from hard candy to heroin, and everything in between.

Safe Harbor’s 12-step recovery program, group/individual therapy sessions, daily regimen of house chores and requirement to contribute to the good of the group, all-women setting, and other factors, have contributed to Hayley’s new-found sense of connection and community. I’ve heard humility and determination in her voice that I’ve never noticed before.  She’s completely embraced the 12 steps as not only an addiction recovery guide, but also as a framework for living life.  She told me that she feels peaceful and content.  She’s always felt a self-imposed pressure to achieve – to have some high-powered career.  And with the help of her therapist, she recently had this to day:

Mom – my purpose here – on earth – may ‘just’ be to stay sober.

That’s quite a profound statement.  And I’m thinking that ‘just’ staying clean and sober could not only be a life-long personal goal, but could also inadvertently have a transforming effect on everyone Hayley comes in contact with.

Hayley has also talked at length about service – that this is a key component to staying sober and active in recovery.  Of course, this is classic 12-step chapter/verse lingo.  But what is so remarkable is how fervently Hayley is quoting it– and, apparently, believing it.

Hayley has repeatedly mentioned that she doesn’t have the time or luxury of “f**k’in” around.  Mom – there are so many things I want in life – and I don’t have the time to go through multiple rehabs.

This statement of Hayley’s summed it all up:

Mom – I don’t f**k’in care where I sit in the car.

This was not only a literal statement – that many of the other ‘girls’ in the program are hung up on trivial details – but it was also a metaphor for her change in attitude. I’m learning about addictive behavior, she said.  That you can be clean and sober, but still exhibit addictive behavior.  In the big scheme of things, it’s just not important where I sit in the car when we go places.

For me, Hayley’s “surrender” to some things that previously she would have bristled at – or felt entitled to – or played the blame/victim card – is a remarkable transformation.

Hayley just sent me a text and a photo:  Hi Mom.  We’re at a girls’ party with my sponsor.  Love these women. We’re having a Lakers’ party instead of a meeting.

And there she was, with her arms around three other women – all of them looking happy, gorgeous, and having fun – without any substance, other than the California sun and a deep, common connection.

Hayley has found a place and a way to be – without using any numbing substance. And even though I know, through Al-Anon, that I ultimately need to find serenity regardless of what my addict daughter is doing, the reality is that it’s so much easier to feel relief and move forward with my own life when Hayley is doing well.


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24 Responses to “Weight Loss”

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Rather than change the name of your blog, Peggy, perhaps just add to it. Helplessly Hoping (now Hopefully Helping)

Thanks, Gal. This is a good option. I’ll think on it. I might wait a while – don’t want to jump ahead too far.

Light-filled at solstice. Jim

Wonderful news Peggy………and that you are creating! There’s room in your life for your needs now
Cheers M&B

Peggy, I am so happy you are finding some peace and serenity along with Hayley. How wonderful she is embracing the program and working the steps. Wonderful positive post! GO HAYLEY!!

Me again – I keep thinking might be time for a blog name change – no more Helplessly Hoping – Joyous Rejoicing is more like it these days. It’s just so wonderful to read Hayley’s progress 🙂

Hmmmmm – you’re right – I may need to update my blog header/pages. I’m afraid if I change the name of my blog, you guys won’t find me. I’ll have to look in to how to do all of that. But you’re so right – – – an edit may be in order. What a problem to have! 🙂

Such a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing this joyous part of the journey!
Always praying for you both.
Love & (((hugs)))

I am soo very happy for both of you. I know that feeling of doing nothing or being on hold..letting paperwork pile up, not doing your favorite things, like reading a novel that is not about addiction.. not knitting.. those are things that keep us going.. keep us busy.. make us happy.. I think I will get my beads out tomorrow! Thanks!
Hayley is making so much progress.. I am just really happy for you both!

Kelly – in some ways, I ‘used’ my daughter’s addiction to NOT do anything. Now, however, I have no excuse. Worry and anxiety, and obsession, and rumination are all so draining.

Dearest Madyson, I’m responding to your post on this blog, and it breaks my heart. Please know that there is NO RIGHT WAY of doing this. Your son has a disease you cannot control. You keep beating yourself up in your despair. I’ve been there, and I know how destructive it is. If Alanon is not your thing, there are books that can help. You just need perspective right now. Your son’s very lucky to have you.

You and Hayley are truly blessed and it looks like this is indeed the miracle you were both searching for.

This may sound ridiculous but I think I may need to drop my son off to live at a crack house so he hits despair and total desperation. I am doing this all so wrong. Maybe it will speed up the process…

It’s a beautiful morning and, even more so, knowing how well you and Hayley are doing, Peg. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “No one can help another without helping himself.” I absolutely believe that it works in a big circle – helping ourselves helps others and helping others helps ourselves. People who’ve dealt with addiction in a loved one learn that. We must take care of ourselves and of each other. Why else are we here??? It is the beginning and the end. Your blog has helped many of us care for ourselves and care for you. Be well!

As usual, your beautiful words inspire me to try harder – and are always so wise and affirming. You have helped me in so many ways. Thank you for your friendship – it is a priceless gift for which I am so grateful. Peggy

What a wonderful, uplifting post. I am so happy for Haley and also for you. It sounds as though you are at a place where you can let go of some of that “weight”.
I had to laugh when I read what you have been up to though. I saw a pattern for a meditation shawl yesterday and thought that it might be nice to make one. Something straight forward…I’ve been working on a sweater for a year and have to decide whether to keep plugging away to finish it or throw in the towel and start something else. Sometimes it’s best to give it up and just move on.
If you don’t mind me asking which book did you just read? I’m always on the look out for something new. I’m so proud of you!

Carolyn – wish you knew how many sweater projects I have that are 1/2 finished and just sitting in my bag. It’s soooo hard to pick something back up once you’ve put it down. And, if something takes forever for me to finish, it usually means i’m not all that excited about it. So, moving on may be your best bet. Every night now, I look forward to knitting on Brian’s shawl. I’m almost finished with “The Help”. My dear friend, Donna, loaned it to me. When I’m finished, I’m so anxious to start “Cutting For Stone”, a novel by Abraham Verghese. He’s a doctor at the Stanford School of Medicine, and I love his approach to teaching medical students the art of taking patient histories and good bedside manner. He’s also an acclaimed writer, and Stanford has allowed him to teach 1/2 time and write 1/2 time.

This sounds so familiar. I am so happy you are starting to take care of you and things. If she stays involved and committed she will make it. My daughter discovers new things every day without the drugs and alcohol and numbing herself and is continuing the journey on finding herself and staying clean. Keep the faith. Sounds like she really is committed to this and has found the right place/people to help her. Have a great weekend. Continue to work on yourself as you are no good to her if you are not complete!

Now I need to focus on my own recovery. It’s a long road/journey that I’ll most likely be on for the rest of my life.

Peggy, what a great post. I really understand how you feel. When Hannah was in rehab the release of tension was enormous for us all. She was safe, she had a positive outlook and she had a future. Hayley is embracing recovering and it just goes to show that she was ready for it this time around. Enjoy doing things for you!
PS: What is a mediation shawl? Sounds fab.

Nora – my 25 yo son, Brian, teaches and practices deep breathing/meditation to relieve stress and anxiety, through a group called “The Art of Living” (www.artofliving.org); That’s the “service” component of his life. His career is documentary film making. Any way, I noticed that he always travels with this light weight wool blanket/shawl that he uses on plane trips, or to kneel on to meditate, or to put around his shoulders if he’s cold. So – I thought – hmmmm – I’ll knit him his own ‘prayer shawl’ out of beautiful Alpaca yarn. He will appreciate it, I know. Even if he uses it as a throw on his couch, he’ll know that every single stitch was knit with love. Peggy

Peggy, I’ve just had a look at the Art of Living website – how amazing. I’m sure Brian will be overwhelmed when you give him his shawl. It must be lovely to think of him and knit at the same time. I think I want to get into knitting…I started a blanket for my son before he was born and its 3 rows thick! Happy Saturday. Nora

Try knitting a scarf – it’s a smaller project that will possibly get done. Knitting soothes my soul. Just visited your blog. Keep writing – you’re a good writer. It must be so frustrating to be so far away from Hannah. However, as a result, her ‘recovery’ and journey is truly her own. When will you be able to see her in person again? Just wondering. I know that Hannah remembered your son’s birthday. Shame and pride always seem to get in the way of connection – and even, recovery. If you can, give her a ‘hand up’.

Peggy – I think I will get into knitting – I can imagine how therapeutic it must feel. I don’t do anything with my ‘hands’ and think I need to try and unleash the creative in me!
I don’t have any plans at the moment to see Hannah. I hadnt thought of connecting with her but maybe I will..just to show I’m thinking of her. Im just scared of the scynic in me. I’m frightened of not believing a word she says and thats not good for me or Hannah. I need to get over that. Was Hayley in touch with her siblings while she was using?

Peg, so glad Hayley seems to be healing and growing in wisdom and spirit. I’m proud of her. This is, indeed, a great time for you to rediscover who you are. There will be things that concern you later, more out of habit, but let’s face it, that’s life. Keep finding yourself and filling up your life. It’s also the best thing you can do for Hayley. Thinking of you both!

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