The first time I visited my son in sober living, the dining room was crowded mostly with men lined up for the evening meal. I felt apprehensive, on high alert. It was hard for me to put a finger on my fear, so later I tried to make some sense of my unease. Was I passing judgment on the pretty scruffy crew, my son included? Or was it the same apprehension that I feel when I enter a large conference room dominated by unknown faces? It finally clicked: I was intimidated by the aura of hope co-mingled with desperation. I held hope for the residents to seize the brass ring of recovery, yet I was acutely aware that that ring can so easily slip from their grasp. My son included.
The Mom in me wants to counsel the crowd:”Don’t mess up!” I implore in my mind.”This is life or death!” As if they don’t already know that.
Yesterday, my son brought his laundry to our home where he doesn’t have to compete with others to use the washer and dryer. It was still drying when he left, and I was tempted to fold and stack it when the dryer stopped spinning, as I have done so often before. But I resisted the urge. Today, he called and asked me to run the de-wrinkle cycle while he was en route. Then he arrived and folded his clothes, something he seldom did in the past. A miracle, indeed! His clothes are clean and folded, and I had nothing to do with it. By the same token, he can stay clean and sober all on his own, without any help from me.