Nine Eleven

Last October, in Maine

The fear descended last evening.  I don’t know why, but for some reason, this 9/11 anniversary seems ominous.  Literally, I am frightened.  I have and will continue to pray.  Perhaps I can get to Mass at lunch, but for some reason, my meetings seem to be scheduled close enough to noon to make it impossible for me.

My daughter texted last night.  She had moved in with a friend who has been a true blue friend since the first time she went to NA, many years ago.  But after living with her for a week, she needs to get out of there.  My daughter is in  a fragile condition right now.  She is sober over 3.5 years, but has had great difficulty in her sobriety.  She has nowhere to live and no way (for now) to make a living.  I asked her if she wanted to come here and she quickly said “yes.”  Which is very out of character for her.  She doesn’t normally want to live with her mother.

She has a bulldog.

A bulldog.

I am terrified of dogs.  She has nowhere else to take him and she loves him.  I am terrified of dogs.  I met this dog once and I was terrified of him.  Tonight he could be living here.

I prayed before I went to sleep last night.  As I slept,  I dreamed about petting this dog and not being afraid.

At the end of the day, I do not want to be defined by my fears.  I do not want to be ruled by my fears.  I do not want my fears to draw red lines around my life that cannot be crossed.  And I want to be there for my family.

She said she would call me as soon as she wakes up this morning.  I will tell her that moving in here will have to be provisional.  If I cannot live comfortably with the dog, I cannot have the dog in my house.  But I will try.

It was at a company picnic that a little boy and I decided to take a walk.  I was five.  My memories are vague.  We walked up a road.  I believe we had to lift a chain with a sign on it that crossed the beginning of the road.  We could not read.  We did not know that the sign said “No Trespassing – Guard Dogs.”  We found out pretty quickly.  All I remember is the bunch of German Shepherds coming at us.  Then being at the hospital with a nice doctor explaining a rabies shot to me (but I didn’t need to have it).  I have tried and tried and tried over the years to not be afraid of dogs.  When I get to know a dog, I am usually fine.  But the sight of a dog causes a fear in me that is instinctive.  Oh, how I wish it would go away.

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.”  — Isaiah 41:13

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10 Responses to Nine Eleven

  1. Mary LA says:

    Early childhood traumas are so hard to forget. And I agree with you that we have to move beyond our fears, hard as it is. Thanks for your honesty, as always, Mary Christine.

  2. luluberoo says:

    You know Mary, I’m so grateful for the recovery bloggers who helped me realize I should do what I thought best for my son. You, and others, did not have a black/white attitude or try to make every situation fit a formula. “Take care of yourself”–OK, I get that. But what about family? What about compassion? What about knowing in your heart your child is in a fragile place, and you can make a difference?

    I don’t remember how I got steered to all of you, but it changed where my whole family is today. I stopped waiting for “rock bottom” and became pro active. I learned to stop participating in the drama, while keeping an open heart. I realized I could take my child in and kick them out all in the same day…and vice versa!!

    Your daughter reminds me of my son. For all the crazy actions, there lies a kind heart.

    • sydlaughs says:

      Keeping the focus on me was how I learned to take care of myself. I didn’t know how. I obsessed over the other person and what she was doing. When my sponsor finally got through to me that I did need to think about myself some, it was a while in being able to do that without guilt. Now I like the balance in my life of taking care of me and still having the loving compassion for the other person.

    • Although I think Alanon is a wonderful program, I think a lot of people “take what they like and leave the rest” and end up with a self-justified cruel and rigid approach to life.

      • sydlaughs says:

        Maybe for those who need Al-Anon and haven’t gone. But the people that I know in meetings are still struggling in so many ways to simply have a life that has some modicum of happiness. A fellow last night finally broke down and cried because he feels so devastated that he has lived by the expectations of others and not really known who he was. It was quite moving. Anyway, I know that I am much less rigid in so many ways than I was before the program.

      • Syd, I was really talking about the bloggers who are cruel. Surely you’ve read the blogs of women who are so excited because their son/daughter has one or two days of sobriety, only to be told that their prescious child will relapse, or they’re conning and not to trust them – extinguishing the one flame of hope in a parent’s heart.

  3. sydlaughs says:

    It sounds as if your daughter needs her mother right now. Every child, no matter the age, does need a parent. I’m glad that you are loving her and taking a big step to have her there. Perhaps with the dog, you will come to be comfortable. Bull dogs are neat. They can make those snarfling noises, but they aren’t aggressive dogs. I’m glad that you are opening your house, your arms and your heart!

  4. I’m scared of some dogs much in the way I am scared of some people. My Old English Sheepdog is just a big, sweet, Muppety ball of fluff yet the two mangy mongrels up the street are fierce and uncared for. Its not their fault, but I wouldn’t in a million years go near them.

    I will pray for your fearlessness. I don’t want to see your daughter move out.

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