I think I really am through journaling for real this time. . .
at least on a consistent basis. The venture was without a doubt therapeutic for me over the past five years whether my posts were read or not. If nothing else this medium helped me to formulate thoughts and emotions associated with my unique experience of life and produce a somewhat concise documentation on a consistent basis. Often I suggest to a patient that we should not be the same person we were 5 years previously. We should be better through the process of personal growth which primarily comes about through experiencing and learning from mistakes and practicing what one has learned. What comes next?
A couple of years ago I watched my father reach the end of his life. Now I'm witnessing my mother gradually approach the same inevitable fate. Rarely does a work day pass that a patient does not inform me of a recent loss of a loved one. All the while there is news on the TV or Radio of someone passing unexpectedly or prematurely. These realities remind us that we have no control whatsoever over death but must accept it as a constant reality. The one thing we have full control of is the choices we make with the life that we have. Our time is much too short for bickering and persistent anger. Every day is a gift and being alive the ultimate honor.
In my line of work I am brought down emotionally most by seeing the attack of human potential by soul shattering sexual, physical, or emotional abuse or chemical addiction. Abuse victims that are genuine seem to command the most empathy because often they had no choice in the matter but must learn that now they do have a choice of how to deal with the damage. Addicts that suffer silently are not a problem. Addicts that draw others into their distorted and often chaotic world unnecessarily really bother me. Drug and alcohol addiction are essentially suicide in slow motion. Suicide is often viewed as the ultimate of selfish behaviors since it usually involves exclusive concern of only the pain of the suicide victim and disregards the pain of the survivors. Addicts essentially think the same way and are selfishly concerned only about relief of or avoidance of their own pain. Conversely, addicts tend to indirectly or directly abuse those closest to them through continuing to allow themselves consumed and altered by their drug of choice. The child with the addicted parent may never know that parent for their true self during their childhood. That time is forever lost. As an adult that child may have to forgive and learn to accept and love that parent for who they have chosen to be, flaws and all. This is a challenge but on rare occasions I have been fortunate enough to witness it happen.
I think the most valuable lesson with addicts insincere about recovery is that no individual has any meaningful control over them for they have little or no meaningful control over self. The sincere recovering addict understands the work required in order for their life to change. They are willing to attend as many meetings as necessary, enter any program recommended, and accept that there is not an easy route to recovery. Most important of all they can see where they are headed with continued use and what will be left behind and possibly not recoverable.