Saturday, April 16, 2011

She's every bit as awesome as I expected!

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! :)


  1. I struggle with this too.

    It is not easy to accept that we could have had a part in it.

    I wish I would have gone to that meeting.

  2. I love this post for multiple reasons, so thank you. First of all, WOW, you got to meet Barbara ! How I would love that too ! If you read this comment Barbara, you are so special to so many of us.
    I understand what you mean about the 80% thing, and whether something happened to your daughter "on your watch". I have so struggled with that,being that our son is one of the 80%, and it happened in our home,with me there. That's all I can say, but just so you know, it wasn't from anyone in our family,but someone we let sleep over that was older. :( Of course, for years and years, we never know,..very classic.
    I want to offer, from my elementary teacher perspective, about why your daughter may have been affected, if not one that experienced significant abuse....some kids are wired to be much more sensitive than others. Meaning, some kids are more emotional and perceive actions around them and if negative toward them in a way that's much stronger and hurtful than if that same thing happened to another child. I see it everyday with kids I teach. I don't mean that something is happening at school that is actually hurtful,...but some are so obviously more sensitive than others who may have the same experience that rolls off their back. I know enough to know that it's not necessarily just from what their family life has been thus far in their lives. We all see babies that will laugh and be content easier than others that will squall unless all conditions are just right. From what I've learned so far as a mom,teacher, and learner of addiction, much seems to be biologically wired from the get go. I have seen that in our son from when he was born, and I see that in kids I teach. I also know that kids with ADD/ADHD are generally much more emotionally sensitive. For that reason alone, I do believe that the 3 Cs are accurate, and that does give me some peace. I hope that you find that peace too. Sorry if this comment is way too long !
    And most of all, so glad that your daughter is continuing to work on her recovery. :)

  3. I just posted a long, ranting comment on Barbara's blog about this statistic thing, and also about my parents contribution to my addiction...go over there and read it, because it is a response to this post, too.

  4. Hi Joy - What is lifelines? Googled it but I don't see it. Stay happy!

  5. You are TOO KIND about what you said about me :)I wrote about both of these things too...great minds thin alike. You definitely brought some JOY into my life last night!!!! Can't' wait to do it again.

  6. That is so cool that you and Barbara finally got to meet. I wish I could have been there too! You are an inspiration to me Joy, always have been from day one of my blogging. It took me quite a while to figure out how in the world you could just detach the way you did, with such love and compassion. Thank you so much for being a part in my finding some serenity again. Renee

  7. Joy,

    This summer Darlene and I are hoping to take a CA ride this summer. We don't have dates yet because or my schedule at work but we are going to ride the Pacific Coast Highway from San Fran to LA. When we get to LA we'd love to have coffee or lunch with all of you CA folks if it is possible.

    Hope that sounds good to you too. We'll let you know when the plans firm up.

  8. That is so cool that you got to meet Barbara. She has been so great to me, such a good resource and friend.

  9. I just want to say that I had the most loving parents, super supportive, always kind, never drank or cussed and they loved each other madly! I was a full blown Crack Addict and IV drug user. I don't know if that brings you any comfort....but I just wanted to tell you that.

  10. How awesome is that! I want to meet Barbara too!

  11. I think every day of you and L and your family.
    I hope all continues to be positive!