Monday, December 19, 2011

Visiting Christmas - 2011

One of my favorite Christmas Stories, and one that I heard at a AA meeting while living in New Hampshire, while my Ex was attending a recovery program. Many of the men's stories were so heart breaking that I cried throughout the entire session. Certainly meant to bring awareness to their own self-healing.


 Recovery and A Life Long Commitment:

In the 80’s when my ex was attending recovery programs and AA, I attended and supported his process by learning about my own self-worth. There were many weekend family retreats, long distance drives, schedules and meetings that seemed daunting and even time consuming. Young and optimistic about mending my marriage I went to every scheduled site, every late night meeting and every religious setting to accomplish that which I thought would make his life better…………….there was love there at one time.

The relentless desire to “make good”……heal, help, assist,….uh, co-dependent the addiction, the addict. Guilty myself of dipping my toes into the methamphetamine scene to comply, join, and belong to his life in some way or another and reaching for a love that wasn’t in actuality even reachable.

I recall a meeting that changed my life forever, a pivotal moment, a gut reaction that assisted my growth process and pushed me into focusing on myself. A seasoned recovering addicted with ten years sobriety under his belt shared a story (maybe his story or maybe a passed down story, who knows really if it were his personal story) I only know that after I heard the story my heart and mind were changed forever…...and the story goes.


A man comes home from work, as he strides through the living room headed for the refrigerator he stumbles over his eight year old sons fire truck and all his collected play things on the floor. His son greets his dad with, “Hey, Dad will you play with me?” Grumbling passively his father replies, “NOT Now!” And opens the refrigerator and grabs a tall boy from the shelf. He turns and walks to his Lazy Boy. Again his son tried to greet him with a suggestion of play time.

“Damn It …..I don’t want to play…..leave me alone.”
As his father sits and sucks down his brew, the son continues to play at his feet. “Please dad, will you play with me?” Angry by his sons persistence the father yells at the boy, grabs a magazine from the among the boys toys on the floor, opens it up to the center and rips out a single page with an image of the nautical world. He then tears that page into many tiny pieces, and throws those pieces at his son. He exclaims, “when you’ve put the picture of the world together I will play with you!”

Minutes later, the son approaches his father who now has polished off a six pack of tall boys, his son hands his father a taped up picture page of the world. “Here dad I did it! Can we play now?” In a slightly ‘buzzed’ state his father said, “How did you do that?” The son said, “Oh, on the other side of the page is a picture of a MAN, when you put the picture of the man together the WORLD takes care of itself.”


I can’t say for certain that this recovering addict’s story was factual, personal or for a listening co-dependent audience, but for me it changed everything, my future with my husband, my own addictive behavior, my co-dependency and my own self-worth.

It also brought back childhood memories and my father’s own alcoholic behaviors and how he belittle, berated and beat my mother after his drunken stupors of partying with railroad buddies and other women and The Green Mill Bar in Rawlins Wyoming.

This simple story stays with always.