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Where there is fear, there is hope.

Where there is fear, there is hope.

At a recent book talk a woman raised her hand and asked, “Do you ever get over the fear?”

Her adult son, two and half years clean, was living several states away.  They spoke often by phone and she had the sense he was doing well.  But she couldn’t stop worrying.   “I worry that he will relapse.  How do you get over that fear?”

Her question caught me short.  I simply replied – with the audience hanging on my words – “I wish I knew.  What I know is that addiction is a chronic lifelong threat to my son and to me and our family.  All I can do is take it one day at a time and be grateful we both are healthy today.”

Perhaps fear never retreats entirely.  In one of our late night telephone calls, I mentioned this to my son and repeated the woman’s question.  “Mom, “he said, “You would worry about me even if I’d never had a problem,”

How right he is.  As parents we worry about our children regardless of their age – or condition.  But addiction is different.  There’s a horror that comes with it, terror in thinking your loved one could ingest or insert a poison into their bodies that not only would destroy the joy that sobriety can bring,  but also might kill them.

Jacob’s six years in recovery give me reason to be proud of him, and reason to hope they will continue.  Because of his progress, the fear lessens each day, week, month, year.  But will it ever disappear?  I think not.  The threat always is there.

What I wished I’d said to that mom is this: I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  Today is all we have. Jacob is following his own path; I am following mine.  I know he never wants to be that sad, isolated, sick person he once was.  And I never want to be that obsessed, sorrowful mom I once was

For each of us, AA and Al-Anon offer a healthy way to live – a way that gives us hope.

 

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