Musings from an AiR member:
One of the nice asides when we are back in Western Mass is the opportunity to visit with Avi, my 60 year old younger brother. He is doing well overall, given where he is coming from (such an extended period of use). Oh yes, he chafes a bit against the house rules, and he complains a bit about the "younger guys" and he regularly states his "need" to get his own place but to see him sober, to talk and laugh with him like in the "old days” (coherent!) is really a blessing. Thank you for all you have done. We do believe he will "make it" if this continues. But no sure bets in life I guess.
Lucas, my son, too, is doing well overall. He received a raise and was moved into a more advanced position at his work yesterday. He has an interview with a career development program this week; for a part-time position (2 evenings/week) teaching computer skills. This is in addition to his full-time job as he needs the money. We think it good that he continues to take the responsibility for his financial "recovery". We do see him probably monthly, either we visit him in Connecticut or he stays in our apartment. Those times accent what I call, the "uneasy joy of a loved one’s recovery".
Lucas is holding his own in what I am sure must be an emotional tug-of-war for him. He continues to work, tells us he continues to make multiple meetings, sponsor meetings, therapy sessions, etc. How many of each, who knows? Should we know? Maybe. But to inquire and risk the sense of nagging just to confirm for us that he is probably not going about this "our way" is not worth it. It is his path, his duty, his recovery. We struggle enough with our own. Struggle might not be the correct word, but there is an undercurrent of unease that creeps around like a ground mist; just there, obscuring the clarity of what is happening, how he is progressing, just enough to keep one a bit unsettled. That feeling of dis-ease is probably always there. But it’s unlike when he was in an active use cycle and the feeling could not be suppressed. Now, other life events catch our attention and push it into the background: a good thing!
However, when we get together with Lucas, or if he stays with us in Amherst, how quickly those emotions (fear, dread, suspicion, doubt, maybe all of those combined) will flood into our consciousness and disrupt our sense of ease. He was with us a weekend or two ago. He was up a few times in the night, getting water, something to eat. We met in the kitchen a couple of times. Both Stephanie and I were uneasy as this behavior was reminiscent of his behavior when he was actively using. So much so that we spoke of it with him at breakfast the next morning. He said he understood our apprehension; as we too are in early recovery, we explained what made us feel uncomfortable.
Our discussion was amicable and productive but, you know what, I still feel like Lucas is probably using a low dose benzo or something similar to help keep him in check. The longer we are separated from him, the more this feeling is suppressed but it still floats around. We realize that he must find his own way and if he succeeds or fails it must be by his effort; and, his effort so far is bearing fruit. This is what I mean about the "uneasy joy". The same holds true for Avi, he is much better than before and we are joyfully grateful, but, as with all of us I guess, still has a way to go to being "well".
I tell you Dominique, this is all a process and a journey that one would not embark on of one's own volition, but there are some moments of self-realization, and emotional, spiritual and personal building that are of great value to experience and, hopefully, contribute to the ongoing development of one's life character.