If you yourself are at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world.Thomas Merton
React or respond.
The choice is always ours.
Whether we choose a measured response or an emotionally charged reaction is the one thing we can always control.
But that is easier said than done.
When life is all sunshine and lollipops we can readily respond to others with a peaceful heart, wisdom, humor or an easy- going manner.
But in the midst of a challenge – such as the ones we frequently experience in a family-systems addiction crisis – reactivity can on become our default.
I wish I could say that during the years when my son was struggling with an addiction to alcohol and opioids, I was always in response mode to all the chaos that engulfed his life and the rest of our family.
Addiction is disease that impacts an entire family system. So, I was deep in the illness and struggling with how to manage it.
I desperately wanted to be wise, moderate, kind, soft-spoken and positive in all I said and did — kind of like a female Yoda without the green skin.
But the image of a woman running around with her hair on fire sticks in my memory as pretty much capturing how I went through those difficult years.
I was not at peace because I just could not accept that I could not change the outcome of my son’s addiction-driven choices.
I began to live in response mode when I finally sought help from a variety of support sources.
Those supports helped me to learn to let go of any notion that I could put out the fire of addiction blazing in my son’s life with a cup filled with my own ideas about how and when it should happen.
Prayer, faith community, 12 -Step fellowship, counseling, and working to stay on- script with regular everyday family life were some of the sources that gave me much-needed support.
I experienced more peace when I realized the only true peace available to me in those circumstances was the one, I cultivated in my own heart with no conditions tied to anyone else’s life choices.
I may not have become a female Yoda. But I definitely doused the flames in in my hair.
How do you maintain peace of heart in the midst of a family addiction crisis?
What sources of help have supported you in this endeavor?
Please share here. We can all be inspired by our shared experience, strength and hope.