“Shameless”

Sometimes, it is the children of the family that have to become the adults.  Often because they must take care of an addict parent.  They must grow up quickly to keep the family together.

I just recently started watching a series called “Shameless”.  It is about a large family, whose mother left years before, walking away from her alcoholic husband and all their children.

The oldest daughter quickly took over the mother’s position, raising all her siblings.  Dad went further into the abyss.   I find it interesting that the siblings all had to grow up very quickly, but they do what they have to do to keep their family together and afloat.  They do their best to stay mentally healthy, dealing with many overwhelming issues, such as paying the mortgage, feeding the family, having friends, school, jobs and more.   And then there is dad, the addict that has his share of needs, issues and ideas.

The drama is always there.  There never seems to be any calm.  They always seem to be putting out the fires.  Always running to find the extinguisher.  Just like in real life substance abuse, the fire extinguisher never seems at hand, to immediately handle the flames.

We have come to a time where we are accepting addiction and maybe even have a slight understanding of this disease.  Maybe in time, we will begin to not judge.  There are no perfect families, because there are no perfect people.  Every person has baggage and inside each bag are different contents.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just leave those bags, unopened and forever gone, left at the depot?  But that is not life.  We are a product of our pasts.  Many of us are better from what we have overcome.  Many of us wear masks or even must wear the “pants and aprons” for the family.  Too many live in shame and guilt because of the drama from others.  Someday, I hope we all learn to look beyond the face and into the eyes of others.  That is when we will truly be compassionate.

Today is Good Friday. We are in mourning.

How appropriate that I was at the funeral for Michael Luce. The room was filled with people in recovery. You could tell. They were shaken and probably scared. As each person came up to speak, they shared what an important place Michael had in their lives. Addiction is a very difficult part of their lives.

There were a few things said that really stuck out for me. One of his mentors asked each of us, “What part of Michael will you take with you today?” Wow, I had to think about that. For me, he was strong in recovery, sponsoring and mentoring many. What I take, is how strong addiction is for these children. I say children, because they are someone’s child. Those parents are changed and broken forever. You do not forget. You do not get over. You mourn. Just like Mary did for Jesus, just like Kim and Lori will for Michael.

Continue reading “Today is Good Friday. We are in mourning.”