It’s just a light in my bedroom.
A battery operated LED light to help my aging eyes see the light gray words printed on tan pages, as so many of the older books have.
It’s a light to help me wind down at night. To take my mind off the endless, circular motion of my worried brain as it goes round and round the catastrophic thinking that has become my daily companion.
The batteries recently died in my “light”. I replaced them, then realized that the velcro holding it to my bed was peeled off & I wasn’t sure if I had anymore. It was useless if I had to prop it up or hold it. “Oh well”, I thought, as I snuggled into my bed.
I'm too tired to care.
This had become my motto recently.
We had been camping all weekend and I was exhausted. My husband was busy packing to leave out of town for work.
As I drifted off to sleep I awoke to see him sticking my brand newly velcroed LED light in its place on my bed.
I couldn’t believe it. Or maybe I could. This man spent all weekend hauling around campers and coolers and ATVs to make sure I could relax all weekend. He even climbed up a huge steep mountain- in a rainstorm- to find me some Geodes, hauling the 50+lbs down the slippery mountain.
These acts of service may not appeal to everyone, but after the few years of struggle with my son that we’ve had- it’s the little things……AND it’s the things that we normally wouldn’t appreciate, that matter. Especially in times of stress.
You see: my husband isn’t my substance use disorder son’s father. He only knows him as “the addict”. He doesn’t know This Guy. The fun-loving guy who always has a funny story to tell. The guy who never stops talking, but yet not in an annoying way. He always has some idea, some thought or joke to tell. Always smiling. My long lost funny boy.
My husband doesn’t understand my feelings of loss.
The losing someone while their still alive-loss. The missing of family vacations- before addiction stuck its ravaged head into our business of happy little family-loss.
He doesn’t understand my literal consume-ment of my son’s addiction. With his life.
But he cares about me.
And he cares about my self care. Thus -he cares about my light.
In the world of substance use disorder, it’s easy to feel alone and that no one can possibly understand. It’s so important to find bits of support wherever we can. They may not understand what we’re going through, but they can still care.
I was watching one of my favorite shows, “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.” It was about a man who crashed his plane into the African bush. When rescued he felt a hand on his shoulder and heard these words:
"You're in safe hands now."
You may not have a partner, but we can all find our “safe hands” or our “light”- if we start looking for the small miracles.