A Gratitude Filled Visit | A Families Heartfelt Recovery
I have been looking forward to my son’s visit with such anticipation that it surprised me. I thought it would be a good idea to write about the whole experience from anticipation through saying goodbye at the airport.
My son and I spoke the night before he was going to arrive home for a visit. He was taking the “Red Eye” from Los Angeles. I am two hours ahead of him and I told him goodnight and I couldn’t wait to see him in the morning. When I hung up, I realized that I didn’t have any of the old “addiction” feelings – would he wake up in time to make his flight? Would something bad happen, which is code for drinking or drugging. As quickly as those thoughts came into my mind, they dissipated. I really didn’t think those things would happen. I had confidence in his recovery that he was at a point of taking responsibility for his life. I went to bed and slept amazingly well. (Sleep isn’t always easy when addiction is active, as I’m sure you know.)
He arrived on time. Bright blue eyes, beautiful smile, hugs all around. There was my son in recovery and I could not be prouder of the man he has become.
The first day was a great day. He is at a point in recovery that he is able to be with old friends. Don’t get me wrong – the old using friends were not really friends at all; they were simply users. You know the phrase, “misery loves company.” But real friends – the ones he has had since pre-kindergarten and grade school, those are the real friendships. And I was actually welcomed into their gathering! Amazing! No hidden agenda, simply fellowship. And it was wonderful. We ate lunch at a favorite burger place and later got together for the homecoming football game at my son’s high school alma mater. After the game, my son went his way with his friends and I went home with my daughter. My son and I touched base and he told me he was shooting pool at a local place and he would be home at midnight. Again, I went to bed.
I am in my own recovery and it is so satisfying to know that I don’t have to wait up and micromanage thoughts and feelings about “what if”.
This blew my mind. I got a text from him well before midnight asking me what the wifi password was. What? Are you home already? Get this – he was home early, home safe and home sober. I am never far from wonder when things that some people take for granted happen in my life. I am so happy to wake up early, have time for prayer and meditation, coffee, and comfort knowing my son is strong in his recovery. Sobriety is his as long as he does what he is supposed to do.
Back home in Los Angeles, I know he surrounds himself with like-minded people. He gets what he needs. He has a program for himself that works because he took what was offered and made the best of it. He chose not to live a life that would lead to certain death.
I am simply grateful.
Saturday was another wonderful day. After breakfast, we drove to Avery Island, a place very special to me. We spent several hours there. This is the place where Tabasco Hot Sauce originated. It’s a little island with very small hills. The hills are actually salt domes. Anyway, this is the place where my son and I visited during his senior year and several times since then. We were even visiting the island shortly before my son left for rehab. To be with him on a cool, sunshine-filled day was something that filled me with gratefulness. My son even drove us. That’s another thing…to be at the beginning of this journey – where courts are involved, license, is suspended, etc., and then fast-forward to today. He worked through the court “stuff”; got a driver’s license, and now is able to continue moving forward enjoying what he has worked so hard to accomplish.
Anyway, I don’t mean to digress. It’s just that as a parent, seeing the before and after versions of what is possible is something I wish to share with fellow parents who are on the same road. And as parents of children with addictions, and as an alcoholic in recovery myself, I know it seems like things move impossibly slow. But movement is movement. It’s a humbling experience that has definitely brought me closer to God. Our interventionist told me during our first meeting, “Alcoholism is a family disease; when one person gets better, the whole family gets better.” That quote is a blog entry in and of itself. I definitely agree with the ‘family disease’ bit.
So, the trip – that’s what I’m writing about here! Sunday, my son and his friend took a day trip to New Orleans. He was responsible and did everything he said that he would – he had family plans later in the evening and he was where he said he would be and on time. That’s big. Really big. New Orleans is not the most pristine place to visit. But, it’s definitely a beautiful city to experience sober. My son got home Sunday night from all of his plans and told me he had homework to finish for school.
I think that as parents of addicts, we all appreciate ‘everyday miracles’ all the more because we know what our children were like not so long ago in their active addiction. It takes my breath away to see what one young man can do when surrounded with guys in recovery themselves. I love hearing stories of my son paying back what was so willingly given to him – time with new guys simply hanging out, sponsoring guys, giving rides to meetings, job searches, etc. And so often my son finishes one of those stories with, “That’s what was done for me and now I have the chance to do it for other guys.” So much service. I am always encouraged and inspired every time my son visits. So, thankfully, my son’s visit went as planned which is always a good thing. If your son is early in sobriety, take heart. The road is difficult, indeed. Just keep moving forward. Things that once seemed impossible come to pass! As always, I am #grateful.