Not an Easy Start

My life was always kinda messy even from earliest childhood memories, being exposed to things and situations that later in life I hoped to protect my own children from. I developed survival skills the best I could, with little or no self-esteem. From my teens to my late forties, marriages and children in between all the time surviving on my own evolving survival skills, carrying emotional baggage, character defects, coping the best I could along the way, along with self-medicating.

My first marriage failed after seven years, leaving two children in the wreckage, neither one of us at the time were parent of the year candidates in my mind, but I felt as though I was less worse than the other. So I pursued and was awarded custody of two young boys. Not too far down that road I began to realize somethings gotta change, I was going through the motions of life with what seemed like the weight of the world holding me down, somewhere around 1999, I cried out for help to a God I didn’t really know, or not sure believed existed, He gave me the strength to get up off my knees and continue in life.

 As time flies my children approaching their teen years, I parented with a lot of fear, resentment towards my children’s mother for perceived lack of help in raising in children, around this time my oldest son began getting into trouble in and out of school, the younger son began really struggling emotionally as well but didn’t get into trouble, we spent any extra money we had on Dr. visits and medication for behavior problems. I never attending college for lack of interest, self-discipline and money. I held descent paying jobs but always struggled financially never being able to put away money, and always worrying about the next financial hurdle, let alone retirement, but those fears were always present being able to pay the bills and not end up homeless.

 My children became the sole reason for my existence. Eventually I could no longer ignore my older son was using drugs, and getting in legal trouble, at this time he was about 16 years old. Leading up to this there was a lot of craziness in our lives, emotional and physical abuse, ignoring my youngest son because of the drama with the oldest. I realized I was becoming crazy trying desperately to fix my kid. I heard about Cornerstone through one my child’s friends parents, I attended a meeting and decided this would “fix my kid”. I tried to make him attend but he refused saying he could quit on his own, well he failed his first drug test, his refusal to attend Cornerstone or quit using led to him leaving the house. It was a very traumatic time, we both said a lot of hurtful things to one another I believed everything he said about me being a worthless piece of crap parent, I was heartbroken,  I had pretty much raised him on my own and it hurt real bad.

The night he left the house I found myself crying in a parking lot of a store I was going to enter, I asked God did he even know what was going on in my life did He even care, a few days later while waiting to enter the sanctuary at church, a man that I recognized but didn’t know his name came up to me & asked what was going on with me last Thursday, (the same night I was in the parking lot crying to God) he saidI came to his mind and felt a powerful need to pray for me, I didn’t realize it at first, thought it was a weird conversation, some crazy Christian, later I realized it was from God letting me know He did care.

I continued to attend the Cornerstone meeting’s and be the parent without a kid in the program, just another one of the many awkward uncomfortable feelings I began to deal with myself at these Cornerstone meeting’s. I didn’t like hugging, sharing, talking after the meeting, attending coffee, functions, climbers or getting a sponsor but I did keep coming to the meeting. So my growth was slow, I didn’t jump right in with both feet as I have seen others do.

Eventually, I decided to get a sponsor and start working the 12 step program. I decided to be honest, fearless and thorough as I worked the steps. I realized that although I was very religious at church, I wondered how this program could work without letting Him in. I now realize and accept the reasons, and also realized I wasn’t trusting God as the program and 12steps taught me. Funny here, I thought I knew better about my God and really I knew very little. In a lot of ways I connected with God more through the program than I did at church.

I learned to trust God more, give Him my worries, let Him be in control of my life,  I started embracing the love of the group, even wanting to share this little light of mine with others.  I had realized how shyness, fear, low self-esteem, and shame had ruled my life and no longer was useful and I started to change, the miracle, gift I had heard others talk about was in fact happening to me. My lifelong affair with anger, as relating to fear became less, then almost non-existent. I started gaining self-esteem and really for the first time started loving, liking and taking care of myself. As I worked through all 12 steps I began to have healthy relationships in all my affairs, all the time improving my conscious contact with my higher power.

My son did eventually come willingly to Cornerstone, mostly for himself but also I am sure from the changes he'd seen in me. Especially with how I dealt with him now. I am grateful for the recovery he gained. He even attended group counseling before relapsing, then spending some time in jail. I no longer focus on his recovery or addictions, he has his own journey and I have mine. My relationship with my younger son has improved and became a healthy (not perfect) relationship. I have made amends to the past and present. I am learning to live life on life’s terms, not knowing or worrying about tomorrow. But knowing I have the tools and faith to face it, embracing the love that is all around me, and the willingness to reach out to others.

Yes, I have received and embraced the miracle, the gift of recovery. I am eternally grateful for Cornerstone Team Counseling and how they helped change my life and my son. Recovery has created a ripple effect to family, friends, and co-workers. I don’t want my old life back before my child started using. My problems started way back and my life has been changed profoundly. I have a new life, a new freedom and the courage to live life the Way my Higher Power intended. Which is freedom from self-destructive behavior. I am now able to be a conduit of God’s love in life; this is what God intended for me, living a happy, victorious life, sharing my strength hope, experience and love with others. Just as others had done with me on this journey. I feel God in this program, He is in the daily moment of my life. I am realizing life’s about trusting Him, He loves me, and sharing that love with others. I now believe and trust with God all things are possible, it’s all about His love. Sometimes I think “I got this now”, then God reminds me of this new journey I am on doesn’t end. I have to remind myself of progress not perfection and this is life's long journey that I embrace without fear.