The irony of getting my life together, is that my children’s father has gone on a downward swing in the meantime. This isn’t the first time this has happened. When we got divorced, it was because he was mixed up in meth, and I couldn’t help him. He pulled himself out of it, we became close again, and then I spiraled out on alcohol. Up and down; up and down, the pendulum swings between us. It’s like the extreme ebb and flow of parenting in recovery and relapsing. I’ve spent nearly three years sober, and I’ve been diligent this time around. I’m not going to relapse again, but I wasn’t expecting a phone call like I received yesterday.
We’ve been divorced for ten years, but we’re raising children, so we try to keep a civil relationship. He has supposedly been sober for several years now. He disappeared in September, and I suspected a relapse. I expected a phone call, any minute, that he was dead, but it was his voice on the other end of the phone yesterday… “Hey Red,” (his nickname for me), “I’m in a lot of trouble. I relapsed and I’m going to be spending some time in state prison. Possibly two years or more. My court date is in a month and a half…”
The weird thing was, I didn’t flip out on him for disappearing. He is like a brother to me, and the love I have for him is unconditional. I totally understand addiction, and I know what he is feeling is one hundred times worse than anything I could say to him. I practice living in the moment, and being in total acceptance of whatever it is that comes my way. I trust the Universe is constantly supporting me, so I surrender, but I cannot deny that I am devastated; hurt; saddened; heart broken, stressed and anxiety stricken.
There is story I keep in the back of my mind for situations like this. It’s about a monk who lives by himself in a village. One day a baby is delivered to him by the angry parents of a girl who says the monk impregnated her. The monk takes the baby in without question, saying, “so be it,” and for several years he raises her. When she is a toddler, the parents come back with their daughter and apologize to the monk; for he is not the father. The girl was afraid to tell the truth about her pregnancy, and in order to keep a boy from getting into trouble, she lied and blamed the monk. The family took the toddler back into their care, and the monk, without question says, “so be it,” and goes about his business.
I believe the monk practiced, “Life on life’s terms,” beyond anything that I could ever imagine “being,” but I’m giving it the good ole’ college effort today. It is not for me to judge what comes my way in this human experience of mine. If I am open to receiving, and trusting in a higher purpose for my life, I should ask no questions. I should trust that this is par for the course of my recovery. I won’t sit here and lie about how I felt yesterday. It was the first time in a long time that a shot of alcohol tempted me in my disoriented state of shock and anxiety. I reached out, however, and told on myself for these alcoholic fantasies I was having. They were old tapes playing. Back in the day, receiving news like this would have been a perfect reason to drink. I’m still shedding old skins and practicing NOT picking up a drink. This was good practice.
Four months of a meth relapse, and my ex is looking at state prison time. Our daughter will be well into her teens when he gets released, and our son will be an adult. I will be in my forties. The old part of me wants to scream at the top of my lungs and slap this man who is supposed to be a father to my children, but the recovering person in me wants to be like that monk in the village. I remind myself today that I am not in control. I’m not the conductor of my life; I’m merely a passenger on a spiritual journey.