As much as I would like to convey the impression that everything is just dandy with our son, Chandler, and that he returned home an entirely different person with none of the former addictions or behaviors anywhere in sight, I cannot. And if I could, some of you with experience in these matters would probably have reason to question our supposed full disclosure. But it’s been hard, because our story had such a happy ending. I’m beginning to realize that was just one chapter of our story, and most of it has yet to be written.
We made such incredible strides through his time at the treatment center, that I don’t want to tell you the real picture looks more like one step forward, two steps back. But many of you already know that any kind of addiction is an ongoing battle that is never over.
Two weeks ago, Marti and I started going to Al-Anon meetings (A.A. meetings are for the addicted, Al-Anon is for family members of the addicted who are just as hooked by negative behaviors and attitudes). What an eye-opener. We’ve only been to two meetings; I should probably not assume I know anything about it after hearing from people who have been going to the same meeting for 15, sometimes 20 years. I can really only say at this point what it feels like to be there, and it feels terribly comforting. It is comforting to be in a roomful of people who admit their life has gotten out of control and they can’t make it without support from other people and help from God. (Some say “higher power” but most prefer to simply say “God.”) Of course, we’re good with that.
I’ve heard many people say that church should be more like this; I say this is better than church. You’re there not because you got fixed, but because you are messed up. Everyone who talks, talks about being messed up. Everyone talks about how much they need to be there. No one presumes that they are out of the woods. No one is “well.” No one has to make sense out of what they share. No one has to have the answers. Everyone has each other — as much of each other as they want or don’t want. I walk away from there feeling like I am friends with strangers … who are suddenly no longer strange.