The Three Cs

The Three Cs

When she sat next to me, I sensed her tension.  She was fighting hard to stay calm and stave off tears that inevitably would fall.

As a “newcomer,” someone attending an Al-Anon meeting for the first time, she needed to hear the right message, words that would help to reach beyond her misery and give her some relief.

She made me recall my own first meeting as a “newcomer” – – when I first heard the “Three Cs.”

You didn’t cause it

Early in my son’s addiction, guilt plagued me.  Had I caused his addiction?  Was it because I worked so many hours at the hospital?  Or because I spent evenings in meetings or events?  Despite the self-blame, at some point a counselor forced me to accept:  You did not cause it.

You can’t control it.

Really?  For most of his young life, I was able to control what Jacob did: where he went, meals he ate, activities he attended.   But when Jacob hit high school and addiction took hold, my ability to control his life slipped away.  Still, I tried.  Oh how I tried.  Taking away the car keys and the allowance, imposing curfews, none of it worked.  Neither I nor my husband – nor any of the professionals we sought – could control it.

You can’t cure it.

When Jacob fell in elementary school and complained of a sore arm, I took him to the orthopedist.  An x-ray revealed a slight fracture.   I watched over him and babied the arm for weeks.  If he had a cold or slight fever, I kept him home propped against pillows, warm with nourishing foods to heal him back to health.   But addiction?  There was nothing warm or soft or healing I could offer.  I could not cure my son.

The “Three Cs” didn’t resonate when I first heard them.  I had to hear them again and again across many months and by many people much smarter, braver and more advanced than I, before they penetrated.

But eventually they did.

And  I prayed, may this woman sitting next to me hear them, too.

2 Replies to “The Three Cs”

  1. Always good and comforting words, Lisa! While not about addiction, but of my sons cancer, the three Cs still resonate . I think it’s a mother thing.