A Thanksgiving Lesson

A Thanksgiving Lesson

Because of COVID, my family will not be together this Thanksgiving.  But we’ll be fine.  We have years of warm memories.

All, except one.

When Jacob was actively using and falling deeper into addiction, Thanksgiving brought only sadness.

He was 21.  Weeks before the holiday he entered his first inpatient treatment.  After years of abusing drugs, getting him to go was a major victory.

At first, I felt immense relief.  Finally he was in a safe place where people smarter than I could help him.  Could this be it, the end of his years of using?

It hurts to recall how naive I was.

Despite protocols and tight restrictions, Jacob secured drugs and immediate expulsion resulted.

A wise counselor taught me early in my son’s addiction to let go of expectations.  Until Jacob could get his health under control, nothing else would matter.

When it came to holidays, letting go was the hardest.  And of all holidays Thanksgiving was the worst.

That year I greeted Thanksgiving knowing my son had failed his first inpatient stay.  Would he fail his second as well? My family’s table was filled with laughter and storytelling while I stared at the napkin in my lap.  Why was Jacob missing this precious time with us?

It would take another rocky year and another inpatient stay – this time in South Florida- before his sobriety began, a miracle of recovery that’s now in its ninth year.

Meanwhile, I worked hard NOT to expect anything.  This was his journey, not mine.  I could set expectations only for myself.

Al-Anon became a lifeline.  I attended regularly, sought a sponsor, become a sponsor, practiced the Twelve Steps, and worked hard to focus not on him, but on me.

Addiction forces us to let go of expectations – especially as holidays approach.

But with support from groups like Al-Anon and others, a focus on our own recovery and not that of our loved one – and a trust in something greater than ourselves – we can find the help and hope we need.

For this Thanksgiving or any other,  isn’t that something to be thankful for?

6 Replies to “A Thanksgiving Lesson”

    1. Thank you for responding. You are right to be proud of Jacob. He has come so far.
      May I wish you a peaceful holiday?

    1. Janet, how kind of you to respond. We are all well here – Jacob continues to do very well.
      Love to you!

  1. Lisa, it takes great courage to let go of expectations and even more to share your family story. Thank you. Happy Holidays.

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