Mind Habits

I know I’ve posted a lot about addiction being about ingrained habits/coping skills that make it difficult to break free from.

Daily habits are how we build a life we want. I am always noticing how habitual my every move is in my house, especially my night and morning routine.

We don’t realize the safety this routine provides us.

Those who don’t have the comfort of those rituals miss out on the benefits that they provide us in life.

As my son has been mostly unhoused and couch surfing the last 2 years, I have felt guilty at times in having the luxury of my safety rituals and habits.

Well-meaning people would say, he chose his life- you choose yours.
But that doesn’t mean I can just turn off my feelings.

It must be a mom thing.
We are nurturers.
Each time I leave a stressful workday and I’m in the comfort and safety of my car where I can completely relax from my day; I feel relieved- then sad, that my son doesn’t have that.

Yes, I know it’s the consequences of his actions- but that doesn’t stop a mom from feeling guilt, or sadness. We always want our row of ducklings doing ok and “in a row” and safe.

That’s why it’s such a mix of emotions when they are in jail. Yes, technically they are getting fed and have a bed; but the other traumatizing parts of jail are not conducive to healing.

The best part of the jail, in my opinion, is the daily routine and habits that they can start again. I think it helps get the brain back to sleeping at night and eating on time.

As recovery advocate-Michael Lasday states:

We cannot arrest our way out of this. We have to go way to the front end of why and how it starts, ( prevention of people WANTING) harm reduction in the middle and better & quicker treatment on the end. 

"Every increase in criminalization creates more scarcity, more demand, more reward and incentivized increasingly potent substances.

This is how we got here in the first place, not how we get out" -Mchael Lasday

I’m so grateful my son is out of there. But it’s still hard to not think (& worry) of the past and future. Each day is a gift.

The last 90 days have been an entire mountain of weight lifted off my shoulders. I have actually dared breathe. I have laughed at work and started looking at other people as real people again. I’m coming out of my Tunnel vision of turmoil. It felt good. Really good.

Then, just as my son is now experiencing, the realities of this life hit me.

He was so discouraged last night when he realized that others were still the same people as when he went into addiction.

He realized that he was the one expected to make all the changes and just get it right this time.

He realized that the bed he made for himself was still blaring bright white and being shoved down his throat. He was told by his old boss that he CAN’T even think of screwing up if he gives him another chance. My son said he feared he may never get to see his kids again just for gatekeeper reasons.

Do you know what pressure that puts on people? To start again with nothing. And not make any mistakes with a still-healing brain.

He will have to deal with it, I know. But my joy and gratefulness are being overshadowed by the realities of the world.

Depression and pain are real.

Having the stability and normalcy of the world was something I took for granted while I was fighting knee-deep in the arena of addiction.

Now that I have the garden hose out and washing off the muck, I see the world for what it has become.

I forge ahead not knowing if it’s really worth the effort only to be slammed down again.

The World seems so harsh.

Was I so buried in a different pain the last few years, that I didn’t see how harsh it was?

After my son’s first detox (at home). I remember showing him Chanda’s video about taking the drugs away leaving this raw core that doesn’t know how to deal with life without substances.
I think that’s where my son is at today.
And I feel oddly the same.

Even though I’ve never so much as smoked pot.

I still feel raw, afraid. Sad.

A grown woman.
Who am I to even complain?
🥀

As I posted my worries on my Facebook page, I received a great response from one of the Moms.

Truth is hard, change is hard, depression, addiction and we can go on & on about life's challenges.  Gratefulness &  mindfulness is what we need to practice because if we don't focus on here &now we are wasting time  on thinking past & future. If we  focus on what we do today - love others, do our best, and fuck the rest maybe life won't be so hard. Love you and thx for sharing your heart. Sending all of us parents who have to live without our beautiful children light love strength and healing hugs. 💕✨🙏✨💕 Forever Matthew's Mom😇- Debra Schmidt

It made me snap back into the present.

My son is A.L.I.V.E !

I have spent 2 years writing a book of my fears of him dying and he’s STILL ALIVE, yet I’m complaining! I

I must focus on now. I can’t worry about when he gets out of rehab. Or that he’s not humble enough. Or that he still thinks he has all the answers.

Maybe he does.

Who am I?

Gratefulness and mindfulness.

How can I do what that smart Mama suggested? Of course- meditation. Yoga. Affirmations. Any others?

This morning I sit in my living room and try to focus on NOW, just letting gratefulness enter my soul- without being forced with such thoughts of

I SHOULD be grateful.

I SHOULD be positive.

There ARE NO SHOULDS!

It is what it is in this moment. And in this moment I choose peace. Joy. Gratefulness. I looked around my tiny condo and just exhaled.

I relished in my things that make me happy to look at.

Even though they are material things -they are what’s in front of me right now and that’s really all we have.

This is how I start my mindfulness journey. I hope you enjoy.

The Gift of Gratefulness

My little chihuahua watched with piercing concentration as I sat down to eat my breakfast one morning. Hope and anticipation filled his eyes as he wondered and thought about what delicious morsels I must be devouring without him. As I took a bite of my pancake, I dropped a piece for him. He sniffed it thoroughly and decided against tasting it. I continued on. The next bite was filled with syrup and melted butter, so I thought, maybe he would like a piece of that. I dropped a small piece of dripping sticky pancake knowing he would be both my broom and mop on the hardwood floor.

He sniffed it and nothing……

It wasn’t good enough.

Bandit

His taste buds were not geared for sweets like humans and he wanted no part of this meatless society.

I stared at his pleading face, as I looked over at his dog bowl which was full of dry dog food. I felt a God-like superiority over him as I analyzed how to best handle this 9-pound varment.

“Dude”, I said. ” you have a bowl full of water, a bowl full of food, and a sticky warm piece of flour and sugar right under your nose. Why aren’t you happy?”

I felt the irony in this statement before I even finished my sentence. Is this what God says to us?

Why aren't we happy?

Many studies, articles, and books address this in-depth. Millions and billions of dollars have been made trying to get us to find happiness. After years of self-help books, seminars, and searching among various forms of religions; I can truly say that happiness is only found within a place that none of these things can buy. Although I’m still convinced that if I were financially independent and secure, I could pursue this study 24/7 and get back to you on that 😘; it appears that by watching those who have immense wealth, it still isn’t enough. They are not satisfied. They seek higher positions of power and prestige. The balance between being content, having enough, and placating the human ego or the drive for more seems to be a hidden secret.

I do believe happiness is fleeting.

Moments of bliss, followed by disappointment. What more can we expect really? Do we want to be in a heightened state of euphoria always? As a mother of a person who uses drugs problematically; I can tell you what he has told me. He said this state of euphoria is so powerful that it keeps people stuck in the cycle of trying to find that peak again and again.

Are we any different? Our desires may not be illegal or reach the height of divorce, bankruptcy, jail or heaven forbid- death; but as I stated in this post, we all are just trying to fill our needs.

Of course, we should be grateful for any and every ounce of blissness we get. But what about our problems? Is there a way to be grateful for those?

When my kids were little, I know I worried like crazy with each little thing that “seemed” like a variant off of the beaten path. Like my substance use disorder son’s ADD. How hard for him to follow instructions and learn in the traditional school setting. But when he got put in the world and could do his own thing, he thrived. Until he, himself, wanted more. This video warmed my heart on that subject.

That little boy who seemed so out of sync with “others” had a power and talent all his own. Don’t we all? Just because we don’t fit into someone else box. Or just because someone’s journey (or recovery) isn’t going as fast as we want, or the direction we want.

Today I’m in complete gratefulness. My son has been in rehab for one week. That might not seem like a big deal but considering it’s what I’ve prayed for-for 2 years, it’s a miracle! The other strange thing is for the 30+ rehabs I have searched and written to in the last 2 years, my son ended up in one just a few miles from my house. I didn’t plan that but ultimately I’m grateful. The first few nights I tossed and turned worried he would show up at my door having walked out, but now I’m just taking of day by day. When he went in, I tried to give him one of these blue bracelets that states:

One Day At A Time

But he said that was “too rehab-ey”. Oh, that boy. My rehab-resistant but trying- his- hardest boy. I’m grateful for any scraps of pancakes or any scraps of willingness I can get.

The cherry on top – (or syrup & butter) will be when my son finds his happiness and his bliss- without substances of course.

May we all find our peace and our fleeting moments of happiness
✨💝✨