Read Part One.
When I first went back to AA last summer I was continually amazed with how comfortable people were with where they were at. They were having a bad day? Oh, well. They kept doing the next right thing, knowing that however they were feeling, whatever their feelings towards another person, it was more important to acknowledge what was than wish to be in a different place. The thought of being like that alternately scared me and had me longing to know what it was like. I was still hung up on image and ego and wanting a nice pretty picture. As I went to more and more meetings I realized if I didn't learn how to get honest I was going to get drunk.
Three weeks ago youngest son took an exacto knife and made 13 cuts down his arm. His girlfriend made a frantic phone call to dearest one asking him to come there quick. When dearest one got there youngest son was sobbing and sobbing. The pain of where he was at pouring out, the pain too deep to keep inside anymore. Within an hour youngest son took a leave from work, packed up enough stuff to see him through a few days and moved home. Dearest one and I had been praying for a long time for youngest son to hit bottom but never in our wildest dreams did we think bottom could take the form of 13 slices down a forearm.
When someone asked me how I was doing with it I realized I felt detached and I wasn't even sure I was detached with love. The second evening home youngest son was telling me something when I interjected my thoughts. He looked at me and a slice of pain crossed his face. "Mom," he said, "That's one of the things you need to learn. To (shut up) and listen." Oh great, I thought to myself. I haven't learned a fucking thing since he moved out a year ago. This is the same conversation we were having before he moved out. Transformation, nada.
Before too many days I realized I was feeling downright hostile towards youngest son. It's times like this when I try to distance myself as far as possible from the feelings. I mean what mother with a child in crisis, feels hostile above every other feeling? I prayed for courage to sit with the feelings.
And the root of the hostility surfaced. When youngest son was born I nearly died. Dearest one stood there holding our newborn son watching the code team work on me and thought to himself, "I'm going to be the single dad of three kids." And a bond took place in that moment between him and youngest son. A bond he has always been proud of. A bond that meant his heart turned in an unhealthy way towards youngest son. In a way that I resented. In a way that left me feeling like I was always in competition with youngest son for dearest one's affections.
I knew as I sat with this that the hostility was not new. It was the source of the beneath the surface tension between me and youngest son ever since his birth. I went to dearest one and was honest about how hostile I felt towards our youngest son. How, with youngest son back in our home, I was scared that dearest one would turn his heart from me towards him. And dearest one, for the first time since youngest son's birth looked at me and said, "That bond between me and youngest son is unhealthy. It has damaged every relationship in this family. I promise you I won't turn my heart away from you towards him." And he owned what was his to own in the equation and I felt secure that his heart was turned towards me for good. Dearest one talked about how the hostility I felt towards youngest son should really be directed at him. That youngest son had never asked for that bond, for the role of being confidante to his father. That the anger youngest son felt towards me really belonged to him, too. That both of us had paid the price for his misplaced affections while he had been able to look like the nice guy. And dearest one was scared that admitting the truth would mean he would lose his nice guy image. What neither one of us remembered in that moment was, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."
...to be contiued.