Sunday, August 5, 2012

There is Hope. I am Living it.

The seemingly impossible happened.
My son is sober.
We celebrated his two year "birthday" this June.
Our nightmare seems to be fading into an ugly memory
though I'm sure I will never forget.
I revisit it on occasion, only to shake my head in wonder and amazement that life is so very different today.

My beautiful boy is holding a job - and excelling. A senior manager recently told him he is the second most profitable employee of their store (retail electronics) and he was given a 10% raise. This is the same boy that could not hold a job, hated every boss, and could barely make it to work on time.

My beautiful boy is back in school - and doing better than any other time of his life. He just finished three consecutive terms of full-time community college. He has a 4.0 cum GPA and was asked by one teacher to enter the English Honors program. He couldn't accept because he is transfering to a 4-year university in the Fall. This is the same boy that was never motivated in school, only maintained a B-C average, and miserably flunked out of his first term at university.

My beautiful boy wants to spend time with family - over the last two years he has eagerly accepted invitations to family vacations and reunions, coming from beginning to end, and happily engaging in all the activities.

My beautiful boy sponsors others in recovery - I'm not sure of the count but I know of at least three young men he has sponsored. When I asked if he would be willing to speak with one young man who was struggling to stay sober (whose parents I met in Alanon) he replied, "You don't have to ask, Mom. Just give my phone number to anyone that wants help".

My beautiful boy serves, laughs, works out, has friends - he is genuinely happy. He is fun to be around. He has a pile of friends. He even has a girlfriend. And I think in many ways he's healthier at 26 years old than many other young men his same age because he has learned some amazing life skills that often take others a lifetime to learn: how to be honest, how to set boundaries, how to ask for support when you're struggling, how to let go of selfishness...

Does it seem too good to be true? If you would have talked to me 2-3 years ago I would have agreed with you. But I am here to tell you that my son has come back to me. It has been one small step at a time, just seeing hints of little changes in his early recovery days; but consistent and steady changes month upon month - and now - year upon year!

I don't allow myself to think for a moment that he is out of the woods. I'm not sure I will ever believe that he has 'made it' because I have learned of the insidious nature of addiction. I have heard too many stories of people who relapsed after years of sobriety. But I do have hope. With every laugh I hear, with every good decision I witness, with every wonderful interaction I observe with family members, I have hope.

I don't have an answer to the 'why' question. I still have to work at letting go of that desire for God to be accountable to me. In fact, the truth is, I have much recovery work to do in spite of this good report. My faith has taken a serious blow. I often liken it to the aftermath of a car wreck; outwardly, everything looks fine but under the hood some things are still broken. This five-year journey has been nothing short of traumatic, and I have to learn to trust my God again. He will have to help me because I have been unable to fix the problem myself. In time, I know He will.

I was not aware I could love so deeply until my son was in the throes of his addiction - I loved him more fiercely in the lowest and darkest time of his life than I have ever loved anyone or anything. I would have given my life for him to gain his back. Fortunately, it didn't require such a cost.

I pray he continues to choose sobriety, especially when the inevitable tough times come.
I pray God will redeem what was lost, as this is His specialty; making beauty from ashes.
I pray your son or daughter will find the support, the courage, and the means to find his/her own path to a better life.

Thank you for reading with me. Every time I pour out my heart in this place I feel the small broken fibers of my heart reconnecting, healing, strengthening.