Midwestern Mama takes pause to consider the transition from chaos to calm.
Today as I was moving from early-morning family duties to work commitments that included three client meetings and then heading to campus to teach a night course, I realized there is relatively little chaos in my life right now. Just the normal, more expected things like deadlines and deliverables. I’m not as frazzled as I had become during the early years of my son’s escalating drug use. Instead, I’m not trying to fulfill my responsibilities to others – let alone myself – while containing and compartmentalizing the out-of-control and truly scary situation that was consuming my young addict and our family. After all, even though we were dealing with addiction, we still had to live our lives.
This transformation from chaos to calm is attributable to several things: acceptance, exploration, connection. It’s also attributable to my son’s engagement in treatment and recovery – sobriety does wonders.
Acceptance came in phases. Initially, acceptance came from recognizing that there was a problem and stepping up as parents to address it. At first we couldn’t diagnose the problem but we could pinpoint the existence of our son’s challenges. We could tap the experts like doctors and counselors. As we came to recognize that drugs were indeed a contributing factor, we moved from suspicion to documentation to action. Eventually, it came full circle to accepting that the situation simply existed.
Exploration also came in phases. It has ranged from Google-fests to appointments to prayer and meditation. We sought to understand. We sought to solve. We sought to deal with our feelings, our concerns and our hopes. Exploration included education as well as a willingness to try different options. In many ways, exploration was salvation because each new finding, each new piece of knowledge, led to understanding. It also led to despair and overwhelming thoughts of all the what ifs. Ultimately, though, exploration provided context and actionable next steps for ourselves and for our son.
Connection, however, was among the most liberating aspect of our lives these past few years. I think about the many people I talked to on the phone and met with. I think about attending Al-anon meetings and adapting many of the principles to my life in general. I think about connecting with MidAtlantic mom and many other parents via online forums. Each of us seemed to be there for each other at exactly the right time. We still are. For that, I am forever grateful.
If through acceptance, exploration and connection nothing else changed, I am confident that I began to build up the emotional reserves to live as the parent of a young addict. I know that I can go on no matter what. Amid all the chaos and the most frazzling of situations, I know I am part of a community that cares and that I can contribute to helping others transition from chaos to calm. Please let us know how we can be there for you and how we can help.