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Figuratively speaking, I have a nasty habit of trying to squeeze 100 pounds into a 25-pound sack. So, it is no wonder that people who do the same get on my last nerve. But let’s back up a bit.
My adult child has been in relapse since mid-August, and we have been living in the same town since only November. Dwelling in proximity to an actively using addict is never simple or easy and I am out of shape.
Last weekend my loved one’s partner said that living with an active alcoholic had run its course, so two trips were made to unload belongings from their domicile into ours. There was anger, there were tears, and my mother-heart was ripped out by the roots for both of them.
I refuse to knowingly accommodate active alcoholism in our home, especially when it is beginning to involve non-traditional substances such as mouthwash. So, after many phone calls and much angst, my husband and I dropped my offspring off at the apartment of a “friend,” clean clothes in a knapsack, a sleeping bag, and $20 in tow.
Afterwards I was engulfed by sadness, and by nightfall was hard-wired with anxiety and fear. My adult child and the “friend” had relapsed together; the invitation to “borrow a floor” was only for three nights, and I was afraid for what might happen or not happen next.
The terrors had ebbed and flowed for a couple of days when my brother called to say that he and his wife, who are purchasing plane tickets for a visit next month, would like to come for three nights instead of two. My sister-in-law thinks it would be nice to visit both of my children whom she hasn’t seen in 15 years (which involves at least four hours of driving) … and do a little sight-seeing … and have more time to visit … and… and… and…
Anyone who has ever been wired by the crises of a loved one’s addiction knows that the least little thing added into an already overloaded emotional mix can suddenly become the last straw. I’ve had other straw and chaff falling into my sack this week (including a pacemaker for my husband) and it was all I could do not to screech, “Not only NO, but HELL NO!” into the phone. Her bubble gum vision was stuffing her 100 pounds into my 25-pound sack, which was more than I could bear when all I’ve wanted to do was crawl into a cave and curl up in a ball. Beyond screeching, I couldn’t respond and told my brother I’d have to call him back.
In Chapter 10, I address “Taking Care of Your Precious Self.” Boy, Howdy, do we have to get real here, people! Begin with “Getting Over Niceness.” When you’ve reached your limit or exceeded it, it’s OKAY to pull back. It’s OKAY to say NO. It’s OKAY to take care of what you need. It’s OKAY to switch gears or change your mind or your direction… . That’s when IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU, Baby!
My brother got me laughing when I called him back later in the day, with “You had to write the book in order to read it.” Yep. I don’t know where I’ll be a month from now, or my now actively using offspring will be, but I was laughing. Suddenly, I was glad he actually wanted to come… for three nights.
I’m diving back into Chapter 9, though, about hitting The Wall, the wall of fear and anxiety. I’ve written that it’s “the best thing that can happen to you and your daughter/son.” Did I write that? Sure doesn’t feel like it! But all I can do is walk through it “with strength and awkwardness, like breaking the sound barrier.”
Seems like I say this every week, but I’ll have to get back to you on that…
Bless. — Barbara Victoria.

Buy the Book! - It's Not About You, Except When It Is - A Field Manual for Parents of Addicted Children

This blog was written by Barbara Victoria, author of the book, It’s Not About You, Except When It Is – A Field Manual for Parents of Addicted Children.