Writing a blog is not an easy thing to do. Some days it feels like it is, when I have something great and seemingly profound to say, and it comes out easily. But then something happens and I feel differently than how I did when I wrote a previous post, which, so far, have shown the best version of me, and I feel horribly hypocritical and a bit like a fraud. But I suppose feelings are just that, feelings, and I should allow myself to feel them and then move on to feeling better. I promised myself (and namely my mother) that I would never post while feeling angry. I have done that though, but by writing about it, I was able to focus on the positives of the trial and not on my angry emotions. Today, I’m not sure if there are positives in my emotions. I don’t think there is a pretty way to write about what is going on in my life, however, one thing is for sure: writing helps me to overcome obstacles. Along with prayer. Lots of prayer. And people who pray for me. And my lovely sisters at Celebrate Recovery. This isn’t a fun topic, but I need to write about this. I am aware that this “thing” is in so many homes that I feel you may benefit from, or at least be able to relate to, this topic. So here it is.
A member of my family is very sick. More than one, actually.
This sickness is extremely complicated for me to understand. I understand that some people have mental disabilities, and I understand that some people have emotional disorders. But not my family. Nope. That only happens to other people, far away from me. It’s kind of like cancer to me. I was just thinking the other day that I would have no freaking clue how to react if someone in my immediate family had cancer. I’ve heard about cancer all my life, and one of my cousins had it when she was young, but I was also young and didn’t know the extent of it, and she is still living today (Praise God), but no one in my immediate, see-you-everyday circle has ever had it. So I have no idea how I would handle it; it seems so foreign to me.
In the same way I don’t understand cancer or how I would react if someone close to me had it, I don’t understand this disease. Let’s say alcoholism. How can someone “suffer from alcoholism”? Isn’t alchol something that one makes the DECISION to put inside one’s body? It doesn’t just grow there, so how can one be an alcoholic, as a cancer patient has cancer, if the alcoholic makes the DECISION to have that disease and the cancer patient does NOT make the decision? (Folks, let’s please not get caught up in semantics about this one. I know that many, if not all, cancers occur from what we put in our bodies. But there ARE cancer patients who are CHILDREN who are not in control of what goes into their bodies.) How can we have pity for both, as they are both diseases? One is a disease of the mind, and one is a disease of the body. Diseases of the mind BAFFLE me. If something makes me unhappy, or hurts the people around me, that in turn hurts ME, and I don’t want to do that thing. Don’t loving human beings ALL feel that way?
So let’s say “alcoholism” is the “disease” called ADDICTION. People who have the “addiction gene” as I have heard the phrase, can become ADDICTED to almost anything. This is the brain disease that I try several times a year to wrap my mind around (no pun intended). This disease is a choice, right? If you use your mind, and your mind is a very powerful thing (don’t waste it!), and you know to be addicted is not a good thing, why can’t you just MAKE your mind NOT do it?
In the case of dealing with addicts, especially ones I love, I still S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E very often with accepting and respecting that they, too, have a disease that they cannot control [by themselves], and that I should probably treat them no differently than a cancer patient. I would never get ANGRY at a cancer patient for being a victim of that disease, so why should I get ANGRY at an addict for being a victim of some type of mental illness? Yet I still do.
I’ve lived with addicts in my life. It’s a frustrating, heart-wrenching, tumultuous battle between love and war. War on the disease, not the person. But when people do these things to themselves which hurt others, it is OH. SO. HARD. not to feel like raging war on the person. Inside, when I calm down, I know I love these people. But GOD how I HATE their disease. Just as much as a person HATES cancer that inflicts his/her loved one.
Then I remember- hatred is a heavy, unneccessary burden to bear. Love is so much lighter. I am a Christian, and I believe that God loves each of us so incredibly much, and also so incredibly the same. Jesus loves no one more, or no one less than another. Even those inflicted with disease. Dis-ease. It isn’t comfortable for them, either. If God and Jesus love us that much, we should undoubtedly at least TRY to love each other, no matter what.
Ohhh but it’s hard. And it’s painful.
I imagine it like loving a bully who keeps punching me in the face. PUNCH. It’s okay, bully, I still love you. PUNCH. Ouch…bully…I still love you. PUNCH. Please, bully… PUNCH.
It is at this point that I have to say, “I need to walk away now.”
That is really the most peaceful thing I can do. Until I understand the disease more, and know how to do my part in helping, not enabling, the poor patient, stepping away from the victim is most helpful. I have to protect myself, and my other loved ones, from the symptoms of this “disease.”
Ooo, that’s a hard thing to understand.
I leave you with the serenity prayer in full. I’d never known the full thing until I attended Celebrate Recovery. To everyone, believer or not, peace be with you.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next.