The holiday has come and gone and another is rising on the horizon. New Years Eve is I am sure another stressful time for addicts in recovery. New Years Eve has always been a celebration at our home. Not the drinking get smashed drunk type, although there are a few bottles of wine and champagne emptied, but there are usually a large number of people to spread around the spirits. New Years Eve is an evening to feast on steak, shrimp and other culinary specialties anyone chooses to bring. In addition that day is also my birthday. I joke that from what I have heard there were no parties on New Years Eve until 1955, from then on it has been a day of celebration, could the two things be related? ;-) Mom says something about my ego being bigger than the Times Square Ball but I have always been comfortable in my belief parties actually began in 1955, so that is that.
It was an anxiety ridden Christmas for Dad and Mom. Not knowing what to expect. There were assurances from Alex he was doing OK but any parent of an addict knows how much weight those words hold. I thought we did well in holding our expectations to ourselves. But I guess only one person can answer that truthfully.
We have to keep tempering our expectations to reality. My continued observations along with anecdotal evidence I hear from others lend credence to my conclusions about developing maturity levels as associated to addiction. Over this holiday there was much interaction with Alex and his relatives of the same generation. In our extended family there was a baby boom that provided many siblings and cousins around the same chronological age. That makes for some interesting observations from clothing, conversations, attitudes and general social behavior. My conclusions are; I believe when a person becomes addicted their maturity level remains fairly static at the point of addiction until their addiction is being controlled and a recovery process allows maturing to resume. That has serious ramifications to those of us with an addict in our household and our setting of expectations of behavior as it relates to a chronological age versus a maturity level. The data I am not privy to in my conclusions are are the experiences Alex had outside of my purview, such as jail, dealing and buying drugs, and homelessness. How does all of that shape his character and behavior. For Alex I wonder, is there an imbalance in his expectation of life versus his appreciation of life? To me that is another of those balances that we need to work to be centered most of the time just like "give and take" to have a happy life.
So with all of this I must remind myself to live in the world of "what is vs. what ought to be." That means I must not fault Alex for not giving something he does not have to give. Dad must also not fall into the trap of lectures when I see teachable moments. Experiential learning is best for a 21 year man, not lectures from dad.