I’ve learned how to Let Go of the things in my life I have no control over (and I even do what I’ve learned most of the time). If I answer the phone and hear Joey’s drunken mumbles, I ask him to call back when he’s sober. When images of my son shooting a needle into his arm and collapsing to the floor sneak in uninvited, I shove them into the part of my brain reserved for ‘things that don’t do anyone any good to think about.’ And, if he gets himself arrested I no longer get involved. I was a good student at all those Family Programs at all those addiction rehabs; I learned a lot from the parents and professionals who walked the hellish steps before me. I listened and I learned and (finally, finally) I Let Go with love.
But, how do I Let Go of a hole? Where Joey should be there’s a gaping hole in my life. A great big hole is what the addict left behind.
Well, Letting Go of a hole is impossible. Falling in the hole or filling it up are my only options, so I’m taking steps to fill it. Steps. Lot’s of them. Nothing as difficult as the 12 Steps Joey will hopefully take one day, but if I expect him to do some hard work for himself and the people who love him, then I need to expect the same from myself. I will walk my speedy miles, even on days when sitting with a bag of chips, feet on a tuffet, would be easier. I will fill the hole in my life with endorphins, not be buried under whatever is endorphin’s opposite.
As long as Joey is an addict, me and my hurt are going to have to learn how to live together; we’re going to do it by walking. They aren’t glass slippers, but my walking shoes are life-changers nonetheless.
(10K Turkey Trot in November. Oh ya.)
The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction is available in bookstores and libraries.