This is the first picture of me with my three children in .... hm? maybe ever. There are pictures, of course, but there's generally other people in them. That's because we haven't all lived together in the same state since 1999. So, visits have been short, and hectic, and pictures have been taken at relatives' homes or at restaurants with large groups of family/friends.
It's hard to look at some of those pictures. When active addiction has entered a family, it often results in what Family Systems theorists call cutoff. Family members go to great lengths to avoid one another and the pain they know they will cause/experience. Of course, distancing and cutoff don't fix or heal anything, and they make so many things worse. One of the worst parts of this is the lack of honesty that addiction compels. In order not to hurt those you love, you hide/dissemble/even lie, and we all know that one untruth leads to lots more. A good sign someone is on the recovery road is that he/she starts telling the truth.
This weekend I'll be preaching on addiction and UUs. The sermon is caled "The Pink Elephant in the Middle of the Room." When I planned the topic, I had no clue that my son would be here this weekend, moved in with us, trying again to make recovery work. I do know now that I believe recovery is possible, and that I accept that it's a process. There was a time when I couldn't possibly have imagined my son in a12 Step meeting. Today's his 26th birthday, and that's where he plans to go. Things are looking up.