Well, we're going 'somewhere'.............

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by recoveringenabler, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    OK, so my daughter called me Saturday night. Her voice is cheerful, happy, calm........she launches into all these classes she's taking........yoga, meditation, group therapy, creative writing, and quite a few others. She has at least one class a day. You would have thought she was calling from college and sharing her classes with me. On and on she went, stories about her teachers, the other women, how she is reading a book by a woman who was incarcerated and taught herself to meditate. She's met two other women who are Buddhists. She considers herself an aspiring Buddhist. She has formed a sort of women's group with a few women who are in jail for minor issues like herself.

    She told me that she did a creative writing essay and one of the other women in the group cried when my daughter read it out loud. That had such an impact on her, I can still hear her voice, "she cried Mom, she cried about what I wrote." It brings tears to my eyes to hear that in her voice, that she was moved, that she could feel, she's been so closed down for so long, I forgot what her voice had sounded like when it wasn't filled with bitterness.

    She volunteered to work in the kitchen so she gets up at 4 AM. She was laughing and telling me she gets to eat French Toast. This is a women who couldn't get out of bed by 2 PM. This is a woman who has not worked or wanted to work for 4 years. This is a woman who forgot how to laugh, who hasn't been excited about anything since her husband died.

    She asked me when I pick her up in April if I would be willing to drive her to the county office (it's actually right across the street from the jail) so she can get her food stamps reinstated and also sign up for their work program so she can start the process of getting her own place to live. She has NEVER said that before.

    She told me she thinks this incarceration is "fate" that she was "supposed to be there." She feels like her life is going to change. She says "it's time now." She can't seem to stop thanking me, telling me how much she appreciates me and how much she loves me. She says she is going to write to me too. She told me she is learning to forgive. Oh my.

    I hardly said a word. I just listened. She talked for close to 20 minutes. Then she happily announced she was taking a shower and she would call me in a few days. She said she is helping her cell mate to cope with some life issues and she felt so good about that.

    I felt my heart opening and my love for her unleashed from the prison it's been in, the walls I had to erect around my heart to protect myself from her choices and sometimes from her.

    I got off the phone, came downstairs and said to my SO, "OK, the POD people have kidnapped my daughter and replaced her with a humanoid who sounds like her but is not her."

    I told SO what she said and the look on his face was priceless, it must have been the same look I had on my face too. We had just stepped into the Twilight Zone.

    On Friday I talked to a Social Worker from the NAMI offshoot. She can be a great resource for my daughter in finding shelters in the town she is in, a much bigger town then where I live, so many more resources. She gave me her entire weekly schedule so I can find her so my daughter can talk to her when she gets out. That made me feel good to know I had someone I could talk to and who will be able to help. She said one very interesting thing after I explained the entire situation to her. She said, "I've seen it many times, when someone really has to face homelessness, they change."

    Here's the interesting thing for me.......I am responding like that farmer in the story I posted a while ago.........with all the ups and downs of life he just keeps saying, maybe yes maybe no. Here is the story:


    Once there was a Chinese farmer who worked his poor farm together with his son and their horse. When the horse ran off one day, neighbors came to say, “How unfortunate for you!” The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

    When the horse returned, followed by a herd of wild horses, the neighbors gathered around and exclaimed, “What good luck for you!” The farmer stayed calm and replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”
    While trying to tame one of wild horses, the farmer’s son fell, and broke his leg. He had to rest up and couldn’t help with the farm chores. “How sad for you,” the neighbors cried. “Maybe yes, maybe no,” said the farmer.
    Shortly thereafter, a neighboring army threatened the farmer’s village. All the young men in the village were drafted to fight the invaders. Many died. But the farmer’s son had been left out of the fighting because of his broken leg. People said to the farmer, “What a good thing your son couldn’t fight!” “Maybe yes, maybe no,” was all the farmer said.


    I listened to all that my daughter told me, I was happy that she was finding joy and calm in her environment. However, I did not jump into , "this is it, this is her bottom, this is the change." I thought maybe I would wake up on Sunday and do that, but I haven't.

    All the reading I've been doing lately and all the practicing..........it's made a difference. It is what it is. It will be what it will be. I am not excited or worried in the usual ways I have done that. I am actually okay. I refuse to let an impending date down the road ruin or in any way impact THIS moment, which is all I have. I am practicing that in all areas of my life, staying in the middle, attempting not to judge, not to compare, not to be attached to an outcome and to feel compassion for myself and, well, everyone. Compassion for me is a big one since I have always had much compassion for others, it was myself that I was so hard on.

    The truth is that I have no idea how this will go. She could call tonight and be back in the darkness and then what? Do I go south with her? I want to stay in my center regardless of WHAT is going on around me, regardless of what those around me are feeling or doing........that's my practice.

    My daughter seems to be looking at this as if it's a chance. A chance to heal, to change, to grow. She has no distractions, she is not in survival mode, she is not smoking cigarettes, she is going to bed early and apparently getting enough sleep, she is making sure by working in the kitchen that she is getting the best shot at a healthy diet as she can considering where she is.........she is appreciating me and also the one room in the jail where she can see the sun and the moon.....she is feeling gratitude, (I can't recall her ever truly feeling grateful)....she is taking a truckload of classes to help her in so many ways, meditation and yoga hold the possibility of making some big changes if she is ready for them. I agree with her that this is a chance and I hope she takes it and the truth is she may not. Maybe yes, maybe no.

    I feel good. I have also implemented many of the changes I've learned from my daughter with my granddaughter and that relationship flourishes. In learning how to be more honest and set boundaries it has created a real intimacy in my close relationships and made a difference in my working environment too. I am seeing the changes sweep across my life now.........practice, practice, practice.

    I am so grateful for all of you and this forum........ where we can all bring our pain, our joy, our fears, all of it......... and feel safe about doing it.............and walk away feeling better............where we can offer a hand and grab onto a hand...........it is such a gift..........thank you.

    As SO always says about life, about all of it........."we don't know where we're going, but we're on our way"..............
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    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    RE, what a great phone call from your daughter.

    She is using tools. These are the tools available to her in jail, and she is reaching out, grasping them, and using them. What amazing things happen for us and to us when we are ready to do that.

    It's almost like...maybe it IS like...she is in rehab. That is what I imagine can happen in rehab, IF the person is hungry for change and eager to learn something new. They drink it all up as fast as they can. They are giddy with it all.

    I am so glad she is embracing this. Maybe it just takes this long---at her age of 41...it's HER TIME.

    I so hope that is the case.

    I have often observed that my son does MUCH better when he is in jail. When he's in rehab (having never really wanted to be there, yet, I don't believe), it feels like he's there, but he's not there. In jail, he gets physically clean, the "box" is very small, the rules are very clear with fat black lines around them, and he has few choices. And he does better.

    Once he's "out" in the great big world, there are so many choices, and so much to be responsible for, and then, he can't do it. Or he chooses not to do it. Whatever the verbs are.

    When I hear parents talk about teens who are addicted to drugs, one of the first things I think is this: Oh, I am so sorry on so many levels, but particularly because YOU have so many years ahead of you for this. I haven't heard of very many teens getting clean very quickly. I just wonder if they have the brain maturity to even have a real chance at it. It seems that there have to be "some years" under the person's belt, and that is different for all.

    I know I've heard it said on this site that after 30 or so, not much changes. I so hope that isn't a norm. I so hope that people get it when they get it---just like we, also in recovery, can only get it when we can get it. And not before.

    Miracles can and do happen. Maybe, by the grace of God, a miracle is happening with your daughter.

    I love RE that you are still continuing on your path, being happy for this conversation and hopeful, but also keeping your head on straight. Maybe yes, maybe no.

    Whatever happens, it is HER life to make good. She must walk the walk, do the work, stay the course, reach down deep inside herself and outside herself for the tools that are available to her, just for the asking. There are so many tools.

    If we all would only use them. When we do, things change.

    I am reminded: Just change one thing, for today. Just one. Good things will flow from that.

    Cheers, RE! Cause to rest in this and be glad.
  3. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Happy HUGS!!!!!
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    If an adult child is a PITA because of drug addiction as the main issue, it is possible for that person to get clean at any age and change at any age. If they were good people before the drugs, well, they are probably going to be good people if they quit the drugs. I was talking more about the adult children who have personality disorders and problems that have nothing to do with drugs, like 36. He has always been rather mean and done some really scary stuff...I can go as far back as eighteen months. However, many drug addicts also do just keep using.BUT...there are also many who do quit. Go to any NA/AA meeting to see recovering addicts.

    Jail is a change of circumstance for RE's daughter and she is HAPPILY enjoying her life without drugs for the first time in probably a few decades. Not every drug addict is a drug addict forever. It is up to the person to take the bull by the horns and to change his/her thinking and to do the hard work it takes to quit. And RE's daughter is happily doing this!! I'm thrilled for her!

    Jail isn't always a bad thing for our kids.

    RE, I am crossing my fingers, toes and eyes for your daughter to continue her road toward recovery. She seems in a very good place right now (strange, because I know she's in jail), but the ability to look at herself and do positives are there and she is using them!!!!

    I say, hurray for her!!!!! So happy for you, RE!!!!
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  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    MWM, my daughter doesn't do drugs nor does she drink, she has mental/personality disorders of an unknown nature since she has never been diagnosed, however, there is 'something' wrong. With the exception of cigarettes, she is actually pretty healthy and keeps herself in good shape with a healthy diet and exercise. She smoked pot a bit before she was arrested the first time 2 years ago, but once she was on probation and drugs are obviously a reason to go back to jail, she stopped everything. She is extremely bright, has a very high IQ which gives her the intelligence to control a lot of her life with her sheer force of will.

    A Psychiatrist she went to about a year and a half ago said she is likely suffering from PTSD and severe anxiety as well as a good possibility of bi-polar or some kind of mental illness since that is so rampant in my family. But, she only went to him once (I pushed her into it to get her into the system so she could get resources) and like many of our kids, she doesn't feel there is any problem, so whatever it is, it has wrecked havoc in her life and the lives of those around her since her husband committed suicide. That event either triggered a dormant mental illness or created a disorder or? I don't know. She is very into control, leans towards hoarding, is highly sensitive and emotional and fits personality disorder profiles like Narcissism. But, I really don't know.

    Can severe grief cause someone's life to implode? She got so angry and bitter after her husbands death, it's as if her whole personality changed. She is the most unusual person I have ever encountered. My friends and my SO and even her own daughter all say that as well. And even with so many mentally ill people in my family, she is really nothing like any of them, she is in a class all by herself.
  6. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I am so pleased for you, Recovering.

    I wonder whether, as we learn to tend our own gardens, cherishing and displaying, but nevermore transplanting, those things most beautiful to us into the gardens of our daughters, where they shrivel and become ugly and die...perhaps then our daughters will be free to cherish and choose and tend, glorying in the seasonal colors, in the times of quiet and of rebirth in their own gardens, freely, generously, with joy.

    I love that, about the French toast.

    I love it that your daughter has a way and a place to be generous, to be so grateful to learn who she is.

    I think I said that, Child. What I meant is that after a certain age, a cynicism enters into every aspect of our relationships with our difficult child kids. If we don't acknowledge that we no longer approach their issues with the same fervent determination to change things for them, we begin to minimize, to prattle "elevator music" sayings, that kind of thing. We protect ourselves by lying to ourselves about what is really happening, about the hopelessness and futility we feel in our bones. But here's the thing: Our children are their own. What if we really did let go of their destinies? Once we've offered education (at the appropriate age) and, if they refuse it...we considered our obligation to educate them, our dream for their lives, over?

    And then, what if we reclaimed our own lives?

    As Child of Mine posts to us, we have enough to deal with just managing our own time here.

    People change every minute, every blessed second, of their lives, Child. I believe that wholeheartedly. The longer I practice detachment, the longer I practice trying to stay open...I seem to be seeing that it is true that our children's lives are not ours to change, not ours to judge or even, to cherish.
    That special way a mother cherishes her children has to do with ownership. That is why we take offense, why we slide down whatever rabbit hole they've chosen to explore with them.

    What if we let go of that, once the child is undeniably an adult, making adult choices, exploring their lives as they choose to?

    What if we learn to see it that way?

    Joy, that's what.

    The pure joy of laughter with your child, or of holding strong for them, as we do for one another, here. Goodwill toward our children would happen.
    If they are going to die, there is nothing we can or should do about that, except to really see them while they live, to see them as separate people from ourselves.

    No judgment.

    Life is not only stranger than we think it is, it is stranger than we CAN think it is. I don't remember who said that, now. I think about it alot, though.

  7. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    RE, I was so thrilled to read about your daughter's phone call! Just for today, right? But what a nice today to have! It sounds like a tendril of reaching out from her grief has sprouted, and that is just so wonderful.
  8. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    This is the best way to stay healthy in our relationship to our difficult child's that I know of. Don't get overly excited. Dont get overly distressed. Be happy for their small joys and victories, just as we are happy for our own. She is having a "sunrise" moment a la Cedar. I'm glad for her. May there be many more...but if not, she had this one.

  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Still over here practicing my silence and my open space policy.

    I talked to my daughter last night and she was still in a pretty good frame of mind. She had a couple of moments of sadness about her cat and that she may in fact lose everything in this HUGE storage unit for lack of payment. In the tiny openings between her statements about her losses where I used to feel uncomfortable and/or have to hold myself back from making some kind of an offer or even having to respond at all.............I was simply silent. Then she would move on to something else. I wish I had known how to be silent a long time ago.

    It reminds me of meditation, the space between thoughts, the moment between breaths.............the still point.

    She and I got off the phone and I simply resumed my evening with my SO and my granddaughter, I didn't even mention I had spoken to her. There just isn't that jagged energy anymore.

    She told me that some of her new "friends" have opted to be in jail to remove their probation charges in which case, apparently, once they get out, the record either drops to a misdemeanor or they are now done with their time. She has mentioned that to me twice so she must be thinking about doing that. I don't know. I don't ask any questions.

    She continues to express gratitude towards me without any of the old barbs in her voice or the bitterness, she actually sounds light and comfortable. She likes working in the kitchen and talks a lot about that. The absence of anger and negativity is so profound to me that I almost can't wrap my head around it.

    Of course, it could be as COM mentioned, that being in jail takes all the outside "stuff" away leaving them free of worry for the most part. I have no idea.

    For me this is like a big vacation from that little nagging spot right there on top of my mind which has been occupied with my daughter for quite some time. It's gone now and perhaps it will be permanently gone, I don't know.

    But, all things considered, it's all good.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    How wonderful to read "But, all things considered, it is good".
    Made my day and put a smile on my face, too. Hugs DDD
  11. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Glad to read this and sending hugs to you tonight.