The other shoe

The other shoe

In addiction circles it’s a common phrase.  It turns up over time.

First, parents yearn for their child’s sobriety, praying for the time when alcohol or drugs will no longer come between them and their son or daughter.

Then, as it happens for many, the child finds sobriety.  For the first month, or ninety days, or 6 months to the first- year anniversary, they hold their breath.  Will it last this time?

Their lives resume without the constant obsession over their loved one.  A whole day might even go by without wondering where is she?  What is he doing?  And with whom?

Then, often I hear the parents say this….

“We’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

When Jacob began what  was to be his “last” relapse, I remember thinking, this will be the last time we pay for his treatment.  And we told him so.  But once his sobriety lasted 3 months, then 6, then a year, I still felt that nagging doubt:  when will the other shoe drop?

Worry had become such a constant, a habit, that it took more than a year to break.

Meanwhile, I was learning to focus on my own recovery from the effects of my son’s addiction.  To learn anew how to be healthy, happy and whole – without the unrelenting worry over my child.

Once recovery began, it was hard to accept it.   Addiction is a tale of promises broken, relapses upon relapse, one treatment center after another, hospitals jails or worse.

But I did not want Jacob to think I doubted him or his resolve to stay clean.

Besides, how would continued fear or worry have helped either of us?

Why spoil today for what may never happen tomorrow?

Recovery is a strange realm, a warm, calm place after so many years of gloom and chaos.

But it is glorious.

And if you get there, no matter how long, why not savor it?

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