I have been thinking lately of a quote that I heard recently, “Balance is somewhere between heaven and hell”, and how I yearn more and more through Al Anon recovery to peacefully live in the middle place. Growing up as a child of an alcoholic becomes a constant balancing act. You learn to live in the land of intense extremes, due to the many effects that the disease of addiction has on the family. And now that I am an adult child of an alcoholic, I realize how those coping strategies that I developed as a child have carried along with me into adulthood. These coping skills have partly helped to form me into the strong, resilient, loyal, and faith filled person that I am, but they have also formed some not so adaptive patterns of behavior.
For most of my life, I have moved in and out of alternating worlds of extreme darkness and light. I have fluctuated between intense periods of anger & fear, and love & forgiveness (which often led me to enabling, as I would often hide or dump out mom’s alcohol attempting to get her to “stop” drinking). I have fluctuated between intense worlds of joyful exhilaration and hopeless sadness. I have fluctuated between wanting to live in a non-conflict rose-colored glasses world of denial and a painfully honest world that sheds light on all of the brokenness.
At times I struggle with being my mom’s caregiver, as I sometimes carry these angry & resentful feelings around like a weight around my neck. I focus on working the steps of Al Anon and applying my faith through prayer and meditation, which have consistently been the strategies that have helped me the most to find peace and serenity. Mom is doing wonderful these days. She has made somewhat of a turn around, as she is starting to walk again and is generally more happy and settled in her care center. I am very grateful for that.
I focus on having an “attitude of gratitude” and “replacing my guilt with gratitude”, which is a very beneficial spiritual concept. Being grateful helps me to recognize all that I have, and helps me to not focus on all that I don’t have. Gratitude helps me to recognize how truly blessed I am and how God has carried me along every step of the way throughout my life. My prayer this week is for God to help me learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable in this uncharted world of “in-between” where It is painfully human… certainly not perfect, yet still joyful…..and very very REAL!