Yesterday while walking to the Credit Union from my office, I got lost. I walked a block too far, and then kept going south instead of north. I was on the phone and far to preoccupied! BUT! I passed this beautiful white picket fence covered in roses. The house was also covered in roses. I wonder if roses can live to be one hundred years old because this house looked to be that old. And run down. But this fence is freshly painted and the roses are divine. I always wanted a fence, covered with roses, just like this. But the reality is, such a fence would likely be attached to a house over 100 years old, and I don’t want to deal with all that entails (mainly expense).
Yesterday my daughter called, hysterical. I hate to tell you all, I don’t deal well with hysteria. I couldn’t even understand what she was saying. I have had calls from her just after car accidents, etc., and she never sounds like this. She only sounds like this when it is some other horror in her life. And so it was….
She got written up and sent home from her job yesterday – for being under the influence of drugs. She was devastated because she is clean and sober for 4 and a half years. She tried to defend herself but her boss is a crazy woman in “recovery” who told her that she wouldn’t be defensive if she was “really” clean. huh? My daughter demanded a drug test, but they wouldn’t give her one. I suggested she pay for it herself. Just for documentation. It seems this woman in “recovery” thinks my daughter is a bit too happy in the morning and not happy enough in the afternoon. Has she ever heard of a mood disorder? My daughter is devastated.
I was thinking of what sobriety looks like. I don’t think it looks the way people want it to. Her siblings have told me they thought she is still using because she still didn’t “act right.” Wow. I have talked to them both about this. She did a LOT of damage. Most people don’t live long enough to be addicted to meth for 15 years. When she got sober, she had been addicted half of her life. She had lost teeth (and somehow got the money to have expensive dental work so you can’t tell). She has neurological damage, which is pretty evident. Her mind definitely does not “work right.” I am not a neurosurgeon, so I don’t know if it is because of the effects of meth, or the effects of a mood disorder. Likely it is a powerful combination of the two.
When I was drinking and early into sobriety, I thought all I had to do was quit drinking and all would be well. I hadn’t really thought it through to the fact that it never had been all well. I had problems early in childhood. I did really peculiar things as a child. I was afraid all of the time and I don’t feel like I “lied” because that was a sin, but I know I hid things. I was shocked when I first read the big book and one of the 11th step nightly review questions was: “Have we kept something to ourselves that should have been discussed another person at once?” (p.86) I thought I was the only one who did that!
It takes years and years of daily practice to make progress. The substance being removed is but a first step. A massively important first step, because you can get no where without it. But all the rest of these shortcomings or character defects, or whatever you want to call them, take years and years. I didn’t even know I had them! Neither does my daughter.
It is a long process. I have never heard anyone say that sobriety is what they expected it to be. We get so ill we don’t even know who we are, how could we know what recovery will look like? When I got sober, I knew I wanted to be some new-age, hippie, live-in-Boulder type. Instead I ended up being an educated, working-in-Denver, high-heel-wearing, Bible-studying, Roman Catholic kind of woman.
I can accept my daughter as being where she is. She is clean and sober and that is a big deal. I will NEVER minimize that. She will recover at her own pace, no one else’s. Maybe she won’t stay sober, most people don’t. But I have a feeling she will. Just like I had a feeling right from the start of my sobriety that I would never again take another drink. She says the same thing. I can only stay sober one day at a time, but I can plan to be sober for the rest of my life. And so I have from the beginning.
I thank God for our recovery. No matter what it looks like!