Finding Peace in the Process



The 'Burbs, Illinois,
January 18
Married father of two girls. Was a writer in a previous life. Drove a truck for 20 years. Trudging the road of happy destiny since 1987.


JANUARY 12, 2010 12:26PM


Rate: 38 Flag

     I hear Joey the dog licking his paws and I savor the soft thlip thlip thlip through the silent peace of my home. It is the only sound. I'm aware it does not threaten me and I am grateful.
     Even before the relapse, right after Christmas, the house rocked to the sounds of perpetual motion in stilleto heels. Upstairs, down, kitchen tile clack clack. The laundry room is the smoking lounge. The door bangs shut again and again and again, in out in out endlessly. Dirty butts spill out of an ashtray on top of the dryer until I empty it. I, Father/Butler, signed up for this. I agreed. I said okay, be nice to have her home for Christmas.
     The phone still rings, but not as much. I tell the collection agencies to have a nice day. A landlady says she can show the apartment today if you are available. The colleges return your calls. The modeling agencies. The users got the word on facebook. Out of circulation. The call volume dwindles daily.
     I got a call from the sponsor you chewed up. Her son didn't make it home till the next day after you recruited him to drive to your boyfriend's house. I turned her on to the Al-Anon group I attend. She'll be okay. Her son's world is about to change.
     Mom had surgery yesterday. I took your call from jail and asked you to be nice, handed her the phone. You tried to get her to set up a three-way call with boyfriend. Why doesn't boyfriend spend fifty bucks so you can call him? Your mother had surgery and you used a collect call to us to complain about the service we are providing you during your stay with the County.
     I hung up on you and you called back assuming, I suppose, that I would accept the call because you were not done complaining.
       Mom is fine. A load off your troubled mind, I'm sure.
     I brought "Courage to Change" with me to the hospital. Yesterday's reading compared toxic people to bees.
     "A little intimidated by the frenzied motion and intense buzzing, I reminded myself that if I didn't poke my nose into their hive, I wouldn't get stung....I try to put spiritual space between myself and another person's alcoholism or behavior. This doesn't mean I stop loving the person, only that I acknowledge the risks to my own well-being and make choices to take care of myself...I step back from insanity rather than diving in to it. Detachment is a loving gift...."
     I am detached, finally. I'll post this and head off to a yoga class. I will find energy and love and peace. My home is again a home. The hostages have been freed.

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Oh no. I'm so sorry, Jimmy.
wow. both for the story and how you wrote it.
To write something this vulnerable and searching is no easy task. You did it in such a beautiful and yet heart wrenching way. Your talent is an obvious outgrowth of your heart.

I’ve never said this before here at OS, but I wanted to grab you and hug you after reading this man.

Rated and appreciated very much.
Oh man, I remember those collect calls. Only ever accepted a few -- especially after getting the charges on my phone bill.

Detachment is liberating. I still argue with some little voice from time to time telling me to jump back in the fray. But my detachment is pretty strong and has proven itself over and over.

I'm grateful to you for sharing this story -- it's a good reminder of why I'm glad to be a RECOVERING addict.
Just starting to read your posts, planning to start at the beginning and keep going until I get back here. Incredible writing.
This hits me where I live. I'm in recovery and all I can say is you're doing the right thing.

"Yesterday's reading compared toxic people to bees."

Boy, does that apply around here at times, too -- uh, present company excepted, of course. It's little if any consolation, I'm sure, but your child doesn't have to be on drugs to break your heart daily.
Jimmy -- I understand and there must be a sense of relief that your home is yours again. I know when you posted previously, you knew this would not bode well. I'm sorry for the grief and the pain.
wow. I've been leading up to a finale post about my son and his 'issues' and now feel I may not be up to the task after reading such an exxxcellent bit of writing right on topic today. "I am detached, finally" is a great finish to the post. I can't touch it. Wish I'd said it!
I'd say "hang in there, Jim," but I see you're already doing that. Not much choice, I imagine. I'm sorry to hear Rose has relapsed and I hope your wife gets out of the hospital ASAP. Like Dennis, I wish I could provide something more substantial than words. But I'm glad that in the words department, you continue to amaze and move me and, I hope, find solace for yourself there.
Dazzling. It's the "unstung" quality of the peace we feel. It's far better than having them in your face, but the absence of the chaos just won't release the chaos that defines it. Mine quit taking her meds a couple of months ago . . . she doesn't live at home, but when I see her, I'm starting to see the signs. Fondly, HB

It's hard to learn loving detachment. I haven't quite learned how to yet.

Hugs to you and your wife.
Great writing Jim. I wish things were better, but I see you are finding your way.
Robin--Thank you.

Lisa--Oh, yes and me, too.

Stim--Thank you.

Dennis--Happened Friday and took this long for me to find my heart before I could write it.

Skeletnwoman--If I'm not up to taking a call from her I just don't. It's not, as you know, about hurting her. It's about healing me.

sophieh--Thank you. If you scroll down a bit you'll see "Another Day in Court," and that links to "A Day in Court," about the same story.

ain'thatatamerica--Court was Friday and I let the judge know she could not stay with me any longer. As I shuffled through the benches for my coat on my way out, a man grabbed my arm and said exactly what you said. I appreciate it then and now.

Tom--No, drugs aren't necessary, but they sure speed up the process. May your heart stay full of love and song.

OE--Yeah, I had a feeling. We did get to do Christmas together and it was nice. I did pay a heavy price for it.

Gabby--Say it now, and mean it. Then write your story.

Chuck--Thank you.

Jeremiah--My wife is fine. Same day surgery and went to work today. Those who read my words do me great honor and bring much love and support for which I am ever grateful.

HB--Sounds like trouble brewing. I resolve that my home be filled with love and respect. If someone can't bring those, they can't come in. Your home, I am sure, deserves no less.

Gwendolyn--I knew none of this until I joined Al-Anon. I let them teach me.

ttfn--Thank you. I am much better than I was last week.
Jimmy, this story is just heartbreaking. My heart goes out to your family.
What a hard situation, jimmymac. I wish you all the best in working through it. It sounds like you're doing the right things.
Dude. Just . . . dude. And your writing? Always worth reading. Always. Wishing you much peace.
Wow. Searing. Best to you.
Heart wrenching! I've been in her shoes and as of late, your's.
either way, it's hell!
Rated-very well written
Words fail, Jim. I showed this beautifully written post to someone who went through the same thing with his son and he said that he wound up in the same place as you are now. There was no where else to go to stay safe.

It sounds as if you are dealing with this. Best wishes for a fast recovery for your wife.
Jimmy - so sorry to read that the disease keeps its stranglehold on your daughter. The strength of your program and compassion is remarkable. My prayers remain for you all.
Been there, although not with a child. You write it well. You are doing good. Big hug.
I am almost to where you are. This journey is harder than I ever imagined. Having to set and re-set boundaries and then keep the armed guards of my heart on patrol... I know.
Please accept a group hug, and thank you all for reading.
"the soft thlip thlip thlip"

I know how soothing that sound can be, and yet in a different class than "white noise."
Good for you for trying, but it also sounds like you know you've had enough.
I'm sorry, Jimmy. Wonderfully written account of a stark and painful reality. I hope she wakes up someday to what she's throwing away.
You are very strong.
How in the world can you convey such calm after all the chaos? You're doing a fine job keeping your nose out of that hive, and your writing is just as smooth as can be.
Wishing you strength in your resolve and peace in your heart and your home.
Dear Jim,
I'm so sorry to read this. I'm sure you knew what you were signing up for in bringing her home for Christmas but... Don't feel bitter, all parents idealise their children and Christmas is an entirely mythical time, so why shouldn't you have hoped for a miracle? I hope your wife is recovering, also, sorry to hear she's been in hospital. Keep fighting the good fight and writing such wonderfully lucid posts.
Jim, I just caught up with the comments and see that your wife is back at work. Delighted to hear it! xx
Terrible merry-go-round, Jim, but there is nothing merry about it.
You write well about the impossible situation and I hope the writing offers some solace. My prayers, always.

Sorry so late to read this.
I'm so sorry I missed this when you posted, Jim. Sometimes being a parent is like the twelve trials of Heracles, isn't it? Adding addictions into the mix just makes it that much harder.

Still praying for Rose and your family, my friend.

And I'll point to what Dennis said and say, ditto.
((Jimmy)) At a loss for words. Your writing, as always gets to the heart of the matter. Prayers for your wife's healing and for peace of mind for you. And always for Rose.
I just can't breathe when I read this, Jim. There's such sadness, a "resigned desperation", as it were.

{hugs profusely}
Good one. "the house rocked to the sounds of perpetual motion in stilleto heels" great phrase. Non-attachment/Detachment is the key. Love the honesty of the last line.
I am so sorry that you cannot be freed from this cycle. You know that you have done all that you can. You have earned every scrap of peace that you can find.
I can relate to the chaos. Lived it for the past five years, chaos became my home. Detachment brings its challenges too, I've found. It's peaceful now that my addict is gone, but foggy still. I don't miss all the advil I don't need to take anymore. Sometimes I miss the color in the chaos though. Still working on breaking free of the clutches of other people's addictions.
It's so hard, some make it out. Detachment I understand, I'm glad you have mastered it. I am sorry.
I search for that detachment every day. Lately it's been easier because I can't keep trying to fix it and I know that. I've had similar phone calls. Selfishness isn't an adequate word for those conversations. They are dumbfounding. Jail at least keep the chaos away from my door. At least the smoking stayed in your laundry room. Every day, for the past couple of months, I've feared my house might burn down because "no smoking" doesn't mean anything to a child who can't see beyond himself. All this is too personal for a comment, I'm sure. But it's my way of saying... I get this. I get this big time.
Tough stuff to deal with. Tough love is an easier concept than one we can readily embrace. Sounds like you got the "protection bubble" I like to call it, you desperately needed. Good, Jimmymac.
Take good care of yourself. Better days ahead.
You were handed one heck of a parental assignment, Jimmymac. Sometimes you have to let people make mistakes and then live with the consequences. Then they have to save themselves. I hope your wife is feeling better and recuperating well. And that the new year improves exponentially for the whole family.
Brilliant. It took me a couple relapses to finally say enough is enough.