Evolving My Family

I have been pondering over what to write since I last posted. I’m handling so much right now in my life, I haven’t been able to focus on a theme.

One morning my boys’ and I are hanging and as I’m staring at my blank “Add New Post” screen in WordPress I rhetorically ask: “What should my next blog post be about?” I didn’t expect an answer. I expected them to stay buried in their devices. Truth be told, I don’t think they care much about my blog. To my surprise, my 10 year old Cherub answers without missing a beat “Write about how you are trying to evolve our family.” From the mouth of babes.

His awareness floored me. After all, he is 10. As emotionally in touch as I know him to be, it still strikes me as amazing. I consider that perhaps it’s working, not from an ego perspective, but with humility. I’m grateful that he has noticed, that he was listening, and that he expressed it.

It’s true, I have been “trying to evolve our family” for months now. I was smacked upside the head with a large dose of clarity in February. One of the triggers was the book “A Mother’s Reckoning,” by Sue Klebold, the mother of one of the two killers responsible for the Columbine massacre in 1999. This book was a Divine Gift, sincerely I believe this. What I saw through this mother’s story was that our oldest son was at risk of self-harm and that as a result, our family was dysfunctional, and in crisis. I read somewhere that a relationship is only as conscious as the most unconscious person in it, and we are dealing with significant unconsciousness.

As I wrote in “Parents of Teens Please Consider” I was panicked. I was propelled into action. I opened up to every possible avenue to help him, turning to counseling first. With grace, I found the perfect therapist for him. Once that was in place and I felt that his path to wellness was covered, I turned inward. What I found was that I was contributing to the problems in the family. I had to take ownership of my role.

I sought a variety of approaches to get us all well. Hypnotherapy (which has worked and we are still using it), acupuncture (unclear if that worked), medicinal adjustment (working), talk therapy for all of us (very much working), more intense and regular exercise (working), spirituality and soul-searching (working by bringing peace and humor to our lives — “spiritual stones” as my sons’ call it), and a significant lifestyle change (a major part of the problem).

As I’ve written about, three out of four members of our family have a mental illness. Most of it has been medically treated for several years, but it hasn’t been sufficient. Medicine has been the foundation of our treatment. While critical, in that it allowed for the possibility of health and happiness — it lifted our moods and stabilized our behaviors — one dynamic wasn’t being addressed, our lifestyle. Specifically, I realized that my drinking, and my husband’s drinking, was anesthetizing us, making us blind to underlying issues within ourselves and therefore, our family. Once we lifted the veil that alcohol provided, we could see. Our lense came into focus. Powerful, scary shit.

We are now well into the process of healing. We are aggressively working on getting healthy. We are “digging deep” as I say to my husband before every therapy session. I’ve been eager, impatient even, to recover and “fix” us, each of us and our family as a whole.

What I’m discovering though is that it’s a long, slow and often painful journey. We didn’t become “sick” in a couple of months, more like several years. I’m trying to accept that this will take some time. As my coach Maria Nemeth says, it takes setting intention with clarity, focus, ease, and grace to achieve any desired outcome. I’m there on that. It’s my mantra. I just want to hurry it up. Accepting that I don’t have total control in this process is a huge challenge. The best I can do is look within and dig deep. In the mean time, I’m open to what may come and trying to trust the process and the people in it.

To those of you on a similar path, I get it. You are not alone.

With love,

L

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