Dream v. Reality

IMG_6418Yesterday 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!

 

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14 Responses to Dream v. Reality

  1. Chenai says:

    I really needed to read what you wrote today. Being early in sobriety myself, I often struggle with being confused about who I am, and how much of my preferences before were related to drinking and other weaknesses like the need to be surrounded by people all the time/ hide behind crowds. and also being a little loopy still. Thank you for reminding me that it takes time to rediscover who you are going to be in sobriety.

  2. Syd says:

    I hope that things will be okay for your daughter at work. Amazing how people jump to conclusions about someone else. I understand her frustration at being called out for simply being herself. Not a happy thing at all.
    Glad that you can be there for your children as an example of recovery.

  3. Annette says:

    Oh this resonated with me on so many levels! I am sure you can imagine. First off, I feel so terrible for the injustice your girl is suffering right now. Getting a drug test just for documentation is a great idea! God, it would be so hard not to burst into crazy recovery woman’s office and throw it on her desk and say, “THERE! You _____!” After all of the hard (seemingly impossible) work of staying clean for 4 and half years, then to be wrongly accused….its more than I can take and I have never met her! I can only imagine the panic she must have felt.
    Secondly though, I have to admit that I am guilty of watching and guessing about what is going on with my daughter. So I can’t judge anyone. I don’t usually verbalize it anymore though. Progress. Today, I feel like what difference would it make if I *knew* she was under the influence? Would it change anything? No. Is it my business? No. So I keep my wonderings to myself.
    Yes yes yes…sobriety from an “extreme” drug addiction takes time, years to recover from. Physically, emotionally, and mentally and sometimes the effects are lasting. It takes daily practice. I have to practice daily in my program to act like a sane person too.
    Oh gosh, I am rambling, but I just feel like you so get it! Which of course you do! LOL But it feels so good to be understood. I am praying that this all resolves itself for your daughter.

    • I feel as though my whole life has been spent “watching” others for tell-tale signs. My father, my boyfriend(s), etc. With my daughter, I have decided to just look at her with eyes of love and generosity. IF she should ever use again, I am quite certain I will know it, without any special vigilance. So, I will enjoy what the reality is today – she is clean and sober.

      Frankly, I would like to go sit down with that boss-woman and tell her a thing or two about boundaries.

  4. Pammie says:

    Oh Mary, you know this kind of stuff makes me crazy. I’m guessing I don’t really even need to say it but I will need the woman’s name and address ’cause I’m going to have to let go of some “real” crazy on her.
    I’m hoping that “M” doesn’t get caught up in the tornado of righteous indignation, we both know how hard that can be.

  5. daisyanon says:

    Thanks for this Mary, it is really helpful for me. I do hope your daughter can get things sorted out. So hard to be unjustly accused.

  6. sue tegland says:

    I wonder if submitting a written rebuttal to the write-up would help anything. She could write it anyway, and then decide whether to give it to the boss.
    Meth does leave ‘holes’ in the brain functioning; especially the serotonin transmitters are affected. For how long, varies with each individual, but for some people it can be permanent. How your daughter acts at different times of the day can be due to how her brain functions with each day.

    I wish her well. I know how devastating it can be to be wrongly accused of something, especially when that area is so near and dear to her heart. I hope she can go on and find a way to overcome this trouble spot.

  7. jackie says:

    Wow! What a question. I have never thought about “what sobriety looks like” but i have spent years knowing what it feels like and unfortunately (or fortunately) it is not a contant.
    MC I am a recovering alcoholic and Meth user. Alcohol took a lot but Meth removed what was left and then some. I do know this, you are right on about the long term damage from that drug. I still can’t hold a pen still to write. My memory stinks. I have had lots of dental work. I so love you for staying on the side of mother/recovering person. It is MY opinion that anyone that questions whether I am sober today due to my actions probably needs to take a look at themselves. Honestly, somedays we just don’t feel like putting on that “happy” face. I was asked for awhile by family members (oh and lets not forget “the look”) was I ok (code for are you straight”. Probably goes with the territory for awhile.
    Thank you for the entire post. Sure put my wheels to rolling (in a great way). God is good all the time and sober living can go up and down, but i don’t have to drink today! Yeah!

    • Sometimes I think meth is satan in a substance. It is just plain evil! With alcohol, we alcoholics “misuse” it. People CAN and DO drink normally, just not us. There is no good use for meth and it destroys everything in its path.

      Sober is awesome, isn’t it? Even on a bad day.

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