I met Barbara last night at the Lifelines meeting! I walked over to the coffee area outside the facility, where they have "the meeting before the meeting" and there she was! She's warm and compassionate, and even more pretty in person than her pictures and Yay! for finally getting to meet her!
We were able to talk a bit while the kids participated in the Smoking Ritual that precedes and follows the meetings. The meeting itself was great; I get an infusion of hope each time I'm there and see some of the old timers with multiple years of recovery, and watching the distribution of chips, etc. It can be done!
The speaker was excellent. I would love, love, love to just sit in more situations like that and absorb more knowledge. I have already read Barbara's post about it, and I was struck by the comments the speaker made about love also. I tend to have the same reaction to an expression of love, or even a compliment. Sigh. I must work on that.
In addition, the speaker mentioned that 80% of addicts carry the damage/hurt/pain of some sort of abuse with them. Not all who are abused become addicts. But 80% of those who are addicts have been abused. I commented to Barbara afterwards, that THAT is one of my biggest confusions. We have it drilled into us as parents, that we DID NOT CAUSE IT, can't cure it, can't fix it, etc. And yet, for 80% of the addicts, something happened "on our watch" as parents, either by our own hands/voices or someone else's that our children were entrusted to, that deeply hurt our kids. (Of course, it's probably the codependant part of me that is assuming that my daughter is in that 80%? Had to be something I was responsible for, right?!! Hmmmm.)
I mentioned this to DD2 as we drove home. That I am so sorry for whatever part I may have played, by omission or commission, in her life that led to her pain. I know I can't fix it now, but I really wish I knew exactly how we screwed up. I'm not saying I caused it. But I know and she confirms (on multiple occasions to different therapists and treatment specialists and to me) that she was not abused, molested, beaten, etc. She never suffered the rants of a drunken parent. We were, and we are, FAR from perfect. I'm thinking perhaps there was something more subtle. She thinks it was more verbal, and involved her dad's verbal treatment of both her, her sister, and me, and my remaining with him in spite of it. She reiterated, "I don't think it's anything you did, Mom, I had everything I needed or wanted, I don't think you guys are responsible."
So we're back to the full circle. I may never know what it was. I'm over feeling guilty about it, because I carry crappy baggage from my own childhood that has shaped me and caused my own mental health and self esteem issues…. And yet I fully believe my parents, who were damaged themselves by their well-meaning but dysfunctional families, did the absolute best they could and loved/love me fiercely.
I didn't cause it, can't cure it, can't fix it. But still, something happened on "my watch" as her dad calls it, that left a gaping painful void that she tried to fill with drugs. Ugh.
At any rate, I am back to my gratitudes and my focus is on the positives. There are many, but in particular: My daughter is sober and continues to plod forward, rebuilding her life, and I got to meet a beautiful woman named Barbara last night and I hope we get to see each other again soon!
P.S. My name has slipped out on several occasions on this blog in comments, etc. I'm fine with that - Hi, my name is Joy, and I'm a codependant and a funloving, crazy, but harmless one, at that! :)