My youngest daughter visited over the holidays. Some of you may recall a post I wrote about this daughter several years ago. When I wrote it, I wasn’t sure she’d reach her next birthday, never mind milestones like college, career and children, and I was also beginning to comprehend that I couldn’t fix her problems. I thought she might die. I was worn down and the reservoir of hope I had been drawing from was nearly dry. One morning, without any real intention, I wrote it all down. It was a purge, an attempt at relief, but it was never intended for publication. I write a lot of posts that I never publish; they need work or they’re boring, or they’re whiny or trite or, as was the case that day, too raw. As soon as I finished the last sentence, however, I clicked the publish button. It felt defiant at the time. Where I come from, where a lot of us come from, we don’t talk about family trauma in public. We suck it up and take care of our own. In retrospect, my defiance was self-preservation. I needed to talk about it, about her, our relationship, and about everything that sucks about addiction; the pain, the need, the shame, and the relentless cycle. Publishing that post helped me start a conversation that I never could have initiated verbally. I broke through a barrier that day. I accepted her disease and my limitations. I asked for help. I got it from you. I’m grateful.
Today, through the grace of God and her own resolve, R is clean and sober, almost a college graduate, and the mother of a happy, charming toddler. I’m grateful every day that she fought, and continues to fight, for her recovery. I’m grateful that I reached out when I was so close to giving up. I believe it made a difference. If you were one of the people who read that story and responded, thank you for your kindness, your prayers, and for holding us in your thoughts. I was able to spend the last holidays with all of my children and grandchildren. I know that not everyone is so fortunate.
If you or someone you know is suffering and you need to talk about it, I will listen, not judge, share if you want me to, and hold you in my heart, the same as was done for me. You just let me know, okay? We’re better together.