Too bad that Thanksgiving has become the stepchild of the holiday shopping season. Note, “holiday” and “shopping.” Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the official door opening of the shopping frenzy when entering Walmart can become life threatening, the unofficial advent falling closer and closer to Halloween every year.
Thanksgiving is offers a wonderful opportunity to perfect an “attitude of gratitude” if we have begun to sideline our affirmations. For twelve-steppers, it may mean focusing on the glass half full instead of the glass half empty.
Such as: an adult offspring in recovery (AWWW!) who cannot secure work to support her or himself (EEEE!). Such as: adult offspring in jail, about to be released into rehab who has asked dad for a place to land for several days until the program begins. Such as: adult offspring, mother of three, no longer missing in action and wanting to see her young children, but is known to be still using alcohol and drugs. Such as: a police officer’s wife, relieved that her husband has been supported by his department to enter treatment, but is fearful for him to return home and resume drinking and driving with their children.
Of course, parents are glad for progress, any progress that may be rebuilding, saving the life of a daughter or son, our children and grandchildren. But we must keep our eye on the big picture, the whole picture, and see our place in it.
AWWW, it’s Thanksgiving… Christmas… the New Year… come on in and sit by the fire. EEEE, I know liquor when I smell it… his/her eyes are dilated… The AWWW/EEEE factor presents an opportunity for setting boundaries. What part of this is about you, Mom and Dad, and what is not about you? And, what are you going to do about it?
The AWWW/EEEE is also about an attitude of gratitude. No matter how marginal the gains may be, no matter how frightening the flip side of what maay be working at the moment, we can accentuate the positive, a la Chapter 5 of IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU — EXCEPT WHEN IT IS.
So the parents of recovering addict keep their motives in check and offer financial support if their adult child is working a perceivable recovery program — and a parent can tell, physically, mentally, emotionally where their son or daughter is on the path!
The father whose son is about to be released from jail has only to reflect on the son he lost to an overdose two years ago to tell his surviving offspring, “No, son, you cannot come here. You need to go to a half way house. You’ve got to do this yourself.”
The grandmother of three young grandchildren tells her daughter she is glad she is safe, and Yes, the children are doing fine. That part is hers. But she does not allow herself to be drawn into the drama that is her daughter’s whereabouts and state of sobriety and when and how she can see her children. That part is her daughter’s.
The police officer’s wife asks that her husband find a place to stay when he is released from 28 days in rehab to give her and the children time to know how he is in his recovery, Thanksgiving or not.
Tough going? You bet it is! But an “attitude of gratitude” will float any one of these scenarios, and any that the rest of us may have.
What are the pluses today? My glass is half full, and I have eyes to see it, a heart to appreciate it. That, folks, is the spirit of Thanksgiving! May we all take time away from the commerce of the season to relish the positives that are ours, and the promise they may hold.