When my husband and I took our son Peejo to SELF in August 2004, we were determined to have him undergo the complete program. Strengthened by our faith, we set our minds to accept whatever process we would have to face and never wavered about it. I never thought that our family would ever be plagued by a problem like drugs. I have to admit that I felt lost and devastated during the first few months of Peejo’s confinement. At the monthly Family Association Meetings (FAM), I would share my grief with other family members. It was truly a relief to know that my husband and I were not alone.
Through the succeeding months, as Peejo progressed through the program and went through the various ups and downs associated with the recovery process, we learned to take any news we heard about him — good or bad — with a grain of salt. We used the regular input from the FAM as our support and we comforted ourselves with the belief that we were on our way to recovery.
We attended each FAM and never missed a session. We were eager to learn and participated fully in the therapy sessions conducted by SELF. We learned about the TC program and how to cope with our recovering dependent. We were also taught about co-dependency and how it played an important role in the success or failure of our son’s program. Despite this, we chose to focus on his development and never gave co-dependency much thought. In due time, God blessed our family and Peejo made it to his graduation.
When my son finally got back home after more than two years in SELF, we were glad and at peace. Peejo had indeed changed for the better. But as the days wore on, troubles soon began and I found myself feuding once more with my son. I felt like I was reliving the old negative days except for one thing — Peejo was no longer taking drugs.
So why were we fighting? Where could it be coming from? After days of reflection and counseling, I realized that it takes two to tango. I considered the possibility that my son could be in the right and, if so, there could be but one reason left why we were clashing once again — me. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day I, too, would have to confront myself. I never thought I would have to question my own authenticity.
As I continue to undergo this process of self-confrontation, it’s quite strange that the very person whom I had committed to rehab so many months ago has become my facilitator. The tables have definitely been turned and it is now my turn to look into my co-dependent self.
Now that my son is out of the program and doing well, I have no one else to notice but myself. Though reluctantly, I am coming to accept certain truths about myself: That I am a great manipulator and enabler; that my ego, cultural and intra-family boundaries are so rigid; that I am delusional and in denial; that I don’t want to give in and be controlled; that I refuse to accept blame even as I myself am so ready to blame others.
I know I’ve got to unmask myself soon for my own sake. I’ve got to do it for myself. I’ve got to let go of my negative patterns of behavior that cause so much pain. I have to let others grow. I’ve got to surrender my distrust and learn to place all my anxieties at His feet.
Today, I am learning to listen and pay attention so I can understand my feelings better. I am starting to refrain from dumping on people and I have begun to choose the words I use. I am striving to be non-judgmental and to accept situations as they come. I am also training myself to find the goodness in others.
I hope that as SELF has restored the life of my son I, too, will succeed in the struggle to restore mine. To this end, I pray for the Lord’s blessings and guidance.
By: BABY BALINGHASAY