Category Archives: And then she said…

Crying is Okay Here

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Magnolia New Beginnings

SandySwensonCryingisok

A child has died. Not my child, but the child of a friend. Technically, he was no longer a child. But still, he was her child. She was supposed to have her child forever. Except forever didn’t last.

I didn’t know this young man. My friend’s son. I don’t know if he liked basketball or if he wore his hair parted on the side or how he preferred his steak cooked or on what day he was born. My arms don’t cuddle the memory of his tiny heft and softness as though years haven’t flown by since his birth. I don’t know the feel of his hand — if it was calloused or smooth — or the sound of his voice curled around the name Mom. Like silk. Or wind. Or leather.

No, I don’t know the things, the essence, the him that filled the space in his mother’s universe…

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Lighten Up! Do We Still Know How To Laugh?

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Magnolia New Beginnings

gift of laughter

From Courage to Change, March 13:

“I’m apt to think of Step Seven—‘Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings’–as a step I take tearfully and on my knees. I’ve had that experience, but I want to entertain the possibility that Step Seven might be taken with joy—and even humor.

Sometimes the sign that I have actually gotten humble enough to ask my Higher Power to remove a shortcoming is that I can laugh about it. Suddenly a past action or decision of mine seems ludicrous and I can stop taking myself so seriously…

So the next time I want to tear my hair out because I haven’t gotten rid of some nagging shortcoming, I’ll try to lighten up and see how silly my intensity can be…

Desperation and pain can certainly lead me to humility, but in Al-Anon I’m cultivating a new and eager willingness to follow my Higher…

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Sitting with Grief and Hope

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Magnolia New Beginnings

DSCN1181_edited-1 Photo Credit: Randy Mason

So many people in my circle will say in anger “They will never know how it feels until it happens to them!” We are talking about the loss of our loved ones to addiction, the struggle that we had fighting their addiction, the sacrifices we made, the changes we went through and the pain that we will carry forever. Nope some of “them” (YOU) will never know these feelings, and for that I am not angry but grateful.

I hope that those of you who “don’t know” never will!

I hope that you won’t spend days searching the streets for your strung out child.

That you won’t sit in courtroom after courtroom either trying to get help or standing with your child to face the consequences.

I hope that you don’t ever face the disappointment and distress of having your loved one turned away from…

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The Journey

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Magnolia New Beginnings

Turkey+Pond+enhanced

How much have we lost in this madness of helping our loved ones?

Distant memories of old friendships, good jobs we enjoyed, family members who didn’t understand how we could keep loving, and relationships broken beyond repair. Most of all many of us have lost ourselves. When I stop and look around I barely recognize my life. My answer to that is not to stop too often.

We keep going, patching pieces of what is left together, and putting on the brave face; trying to save someone who often appears not to want to be saved.  We keep going.

I encourage you to stop. Take your own advice. Step back for a moment and survey the only life you are going to get. You can’t save anyone but you must save yourself.

The Journey
 
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their…

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Where do I go for help?

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Magnolia New Beginnings

NB_logo_FB_250

Trying to locate appropriate treatment for a loved one, especially finding a program tailored to an individual’s particular needs, can be a difficult process. However, there are some resources to help with this process. For example, NIDA’s handbook Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What to Ask offers guidance in finding the right treatment program. Numerous online resources can help locate a local program or provide other information, including:

Information for Families

Magnolia New Beginnings

This project has been funded in whole or part with federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, NIH, under cooperative agreement UG4LM012347-01 with the University of Massachusetts- Worcester.

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Sunday Morning

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Live & Learn

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We need to trust this: in the midst of our daily life activities, the possibility to slow down, to stop, and then to appreciate naturally unfolds. For a fleeting moment we pause and note the sunlight on the sheets as we make the bed, note the warm sun on our cup as we sip tea, or note the fading light on the curtain as we enter the room. And we let out a breath or sigh…

— Elizabeth Searle Lamb, from “Pausing” in Haiku Mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness and Open Your Heart By Patricia Donegan


Notes: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: via Mennyfox55

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My Glass Is Half Full

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Magnolia New Beginnings

golden-honey

From Hope For Today, January 23:

“One of the gifts I have received from Al-Anon is learning how to maintain an attitude of gratitude. Before the program I didn’t really understand the true nature of gratitude. I thought it was the happiness I felt when life happened according to my needs and wants. I thought it was the high I felt when my desire for instant gratification was fulfilled.

Today…I know better. Gratitude is an integral part of my serenity. In fact, it is usually the means of restoring my serenity whenever I notice I’m straying from it.

Gratitude opens the doors of my heart to the healing touch of my Higher Power. It isn’t always easy to feel grateful when the strident voice of my disease demands unhealthy behavior. However, when I work my program harder, it is possible.

‘Just for today I will smile…I will be grateful…

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Let Recovery Begin With Me

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Magnolia New Beginnings

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“I will do whatever it takes to find strength and happiness. I will keep taking the steps necessary for positive change, even when it’s hard. I will not be hobbled by thoughts of what ‘should have been’ and what ‘could have been’. Instead, I will accept what is. I will accept the things I cannot change. I will find peace.” ~Sandy Swenson

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Expectations

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When I came to Nar-Anon, I learned that my interference and my attempts at controlling them were actually standing in the way of their recovery. I learned to let go of the control I never had in the first place.”

Magnolia New Beginnings

Photo Credit: Randy Mason Photo Credit: Randy Mason

In recovery, we learn to profoundly adjust our expectations, hard as it is. We raised one child, and now we have another. We are all too aware of the change that drugs have produced in our children. A parent wrote in Sharing Experience, Strength and Hope ( the SESH book) a very revealing statement, something I could have written myself. It is a key to understanding my story, my mother and father’s stories, and my daughter’s painful struggle:

“I expected my children to be perfect, to always do the right thing. I tried to control them by giving them direction and making them do things in a way that I felt was correct! When they didn’t, I could not handle it.

I could not accept their drug use and I felt that their behavior was a reflection on me. I was embarrassed for myself and scared…

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THE SHAME ISOLATES US

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Magnolia New Beginnings

Photo Credit: Randy Mason Photo Credit: Randy Mason

THE SHAME ISOLATES US

Libby Cataldi

This is part of a series of monthly posts that reference many conversations with Dr. MacAfee. Thanks, Doc.

A dear friend of mine and Dr MacAfee’s, a mother of a recovering addict, wrote to me:Addiction within a family brings a thick cloak of shame to all. It surrounds and permeates us to our very core. We agonize over our loved one’s behavior, and we cringe over what people must be thinking of us. Addiction brings shame, and we isolate ourselves.

My reflection:When I had breast cancer, an army of women surrounded me with love and support, but when my son was in active addiction, many of these same friends didn’t know what to do or say. I was in deep pain and confusion, so I isolated. I let no one in.

Today’s Promise to consider:Today, I will…

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