Monday, January 16, 2012

Quoting the geniuses at AA

None of us ever move forward in a straight path, I don't guess.  We zig, we zag, we step backwards, we stall right where we are and then maybe we inch forward again.  I need to remind myself of that today.  Bulldog does too.  Today was just an ok day when we saw DJ.

Talking about how she feels is such a struggle for DJ.  The ways she expressed how she felt were becoming harmful to her.  However, the last few days have shown marked improvement until she deliberately knocked over her can of Ensure yesterday.  Still not ok to act on your feelings, but a whole lot better than the actions she was previously taking.  But still, talking is best.  We all know that.  But talking is not what she is able to do easily.  She avoids, she shrugs or (my personal favorite) acts like she didn't hear when I ask a question.  Today, we left asking ourselves, "Is it time for some tough love?"  Not the kind where you punish or beat your kid; the kind where you kind of say, "OK already-we're standing here.  You must find a way to speak up and not squander the resources that are here for you."

She's in the right place and as I said to Bulldog today, we have to trust that the folks that work there know what they're doing.  They have eons more experience with this.  Bulldog had expressed dismay that the therapist was quick to end the session when Jackie hit a frustrated brick wall.  Really, our time was up anyway, and perhaps it was appropriate.  "You can't get blood from a stone," I said.  I'm painting myself to be incredibly wise here, but that was just momentary, because then I brought up my Tough Love theory where we go into the next session with verbal guns blazing.....yeah, we swing back and forth, Bulldog and I, trying to figure out what the best path is.

Then, when Bulldog expressed that he had to attend some training-the last opportunity before some of his certifications expire-and might miss seeing DJ as a result, I quoted AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) when I said, "We have to just take it one day at a time."

Those words seem so trite sometimes, but if you've ever been in a truly desperate situation, you KNOW the veracity in them.

When I was a newly single mother following my first husband's suicide, the kids and I were at an all time low, of course.  I had separated from my first husband less than 2 months prior to his death. They were grieving losing him;  I was grieving for my kids' loss and for the possibility of never having a spouse ever again.  The days with the kids were   L  O  N  G.  It was summer break and we were together 24/7.  I relied HEAVILY on a girlfriend of mine to talk me through the depression, the panic, the boredom, the frustration-you name it.  This one afternoon, I had already leaned heavily on her and knew she needed time to be with her family.  I made myself promise that I would not call her for at least an hour-which seemed dreadfully, and unreachably long.  I literally started washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen telling myself, "You can get through the next few minutes and then worry about the next few minutes after that."  I was living minute to minute-how pathetic is that?  But I managed to not call her for over an hour.

Living a day at a time is a learned skill.  Most of us have never had to learn how to do it.  I've had some training so now I just need to remember how it's done.  Looking too far ahead is as frightening as Ebenezer Scrooge's walk with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, so we just shouldn't do it unless absolutely necessary.

And if we're still feeling like crapola?  I will quote another AA byline:  We will "Fake it until we make it." Sometimes going about your day as if everything is ok, even when you feel like death warmed over, can distract you just enough to make you feel sorta.....ok, actually.  So, I did some laundry when we came home, I poured a glass of wine, I stripped the sheets from the guestroom bed and returned a couple of phone calls.  Maybe I'll end the night with a couple of smart @$$ remarks to Bulldog and maybe get a smirk out of him before we go to bed.  If not, an hour of "Friends" on DVD usually works.  If the hits keep coming, we'll keep ducking.  We won't look too far ahead and worry that we'll tire from ducking and not be able to duck anymore.  We'll just try to duck in time for the next hit.  We'll worry about the one after that, IF it comes.

In the meantime, we sleep pretty well because our girl is safe and is getting the help she needs.  We won't worry about if it's working yet, or if it will ever work-we'll take each day as it comes.  I wonder if we can get a pin for that...