My Glass Is Half Full

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Magnolia New Beginnings

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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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Resistance Training

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Magnolia New Beginnings

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From In All Our Affairs, Making Crises Work For You, Surrender:

“’Let go and Let God.’ It sounds so simple. But when our circumstances or the circumstances of those we love weigh heavily on our minds, we may have no idea how to do it. Some of us struggle with the very idea of a Higher Power. Others begin to question long and deeply held beliefs, especially in stressful times…

Many of us review the same scenario again and again, looking for that elusive answer that will solve everything, obsessively wracking our brains for something that we could do differently or should have done differently in the past…As long as there is a chance of figuring out a solution, we reason, we should keep trying…We may secretly feel that this problem is too important to trust to God, as if we had the power to prevent God’s…

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Double Edge Sword.

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Magnolia New Beginnings

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Addiction is a disease like none other. A double edge sword. It tears families apart. It bonds strangers forever. I never wanted to play this role in life. I was happy being a NICU nurse. Helping families cope with a premature or very sick newborn was what I did. It gave my life meaning and purpose. I was happy with my life and saw the world through rose colored glasses.

That was until my son became an addict. My handsome, life loving son became a victim to a horrible disease. There were no instruction manuals to prepare me for this journey. No section in the bookstore on What To Expect When Your Child Becomes Addicted. I was left to figure this out the hard way. It was an education I didn’t sign up for but could not escape.

I had no clue that Matt would come to depend on the…

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Redemption And Freedom

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Magnolia New Beginnings

Photo Credit: Randy Mason Photo Credit: Randy Mason

My daughter Angie told me once that she hated NA meetings because pimps, dealers, and strung-out junkies just itching for their next high often attended them. But in her case I don’t think that’s true. I think she didn’t go to meetings because she needed to deal with her addiction her way, and not be told by anyone else what to do: CSR—compulsively self-reliant—just like her mother.

Or maybe she just wasn’t ready to embrace recovery at all, a painful possibility I had not yet considered. I was still determined, at that point, to believe that she was going to beat her addiction and that I, of course, would be the glorious savior she would spend the rest of her life thanking, handing me my redemption on a silver platter.

I would finally, thank God, let go of the oppressive burden I was placing on my…

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I CAN REMEMBER

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Magnolia New Beginnings

brewster-015 Photo Credit: Randy Mason

An excerpt from S.O.B.E.R.* written by a mother and son

An acronym for Son Of a Bitch Everything’s Real

Anita

When we arrived at the family treatment program, I finally started to understand and believe that addiction is a disease. I was more than a little nervous, wondering how my son’s brain was ever going to be normal again. Was he up to this daunting task? There was no surgery for this illness. There was only a lot of hard work and the desire to change. I was cautiously optimistic. Only time would tell.

I was getting more and more anxious about seeing him for the first time. My husband and daughter were excited and hopeful. I, sadly, didn’t feel that way. I didn’t trust my son anymore and wondered if I ever would again.

Sunday morning, we were all led into a very large nondenominational…

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To Be The Mom Of An Addict

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Magnolia New Beginnings

Welcome Sandy Swenson to Magnolia New Beginning’s Blog http://www.magnolianewbeginnings.com

Photo Credit: Randy Mason Photo Credit: Randy Mason

Once upon a time I was just a mom.
A regular mom.
When I held my little miracle in my arms for the very first time, I rubbed my cheek on his fuzzy head and whispered, “Joey, my beautiful son, I will love and protect you for as long as I live.” I didn’t know then that my baby would become an addict before becoming an adult, or that the addict taking his place would shred the meaning of those words to smithereens.
When Joey tumbled into my world, he arrived without an instruction manual, but I was the best mom I could be as someone with good intentions and no experience. I stumbled through parenthood like everyone else — rocking my baby to sleep, kissing the scraped knees of my little boy, setting unwelcome limits for…

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