HER QUOTE is “Everyone is in a different stage of recovery.”
IT’S TRUE. We all have our little life events that have hurt or damaged us in some way. Some more than others, but we all deal with these in our own way, in our own time. What’s a major crisis to some is just a bump in the road to others. What can push one to turn to alcohol and/or drugs, can just be a bad moment to another.
WHAT’S important about this quote or line of thinking is that since we all have weaknesses, we really shouldn’t judge others, but even if we do, we certainly shouldn’t voice our vehemently harsh criticisms to those who are struggling with their own demons. It doesn’t mean we have to expose ourselves to their behaviors, just keep our opinions to ourselves unless we are asked our opinion, and then only in the most non-judgmental way. This is a hard lesson to learn for some of us, as demonstrated in the short story below:
THERE IS an alcoholic in our community that moved here at the insistence of his mother-in-law because the young man and his even younger wife were living in pretty squalid conditions and the mother-in-law could not stand the fact that this young couple and their three small children were living in the unfinished basement of their druggie upstairs neighbors.
SO ALL of them moved home to live with her parents in a small but clean and comfortable home a few hours drive from where the kids had been living. Early on, Mom enjoyed helping her kids with their little ones. As everyone got to know each other, Mom was really tolerant. The young couple both helped out with housework and tried to keep the kids and the messes of raising little ones at a minimum. Despite the cramped quarters, everyone seemed to cope with each other fairly well.
EARLY ON, it had been set clear by Mom’s husband that alcohol was not something that he wanted around as an every day indulgence, and the son-in-law seemed to take the message to heart, but he never could wrap his head around the father-in-law’s idea that the young man should choose between his kids and his beer drinking.
AFTER about a year, the young couple and their (now four) babies purchased their own home to live in. Both parents had jobs, some part-time work, some full-time, along with some bits and pieces of entrepreneurial income.
FROM time to time in that year after moving out of the “in-laws” house, the wife, daughter, of the older couple would show up, kids in tow, at two or three o’clock in the morning, crying and upset with all the horrible things that her husband had said and done to her and the four little ones. So they’d all been made welcome with clean beds and snacks and were settled in for a good night’s sleep.
YOU KNOW the drill, they go back home after the alcoholic is sleeping it off, and while the alcoholic is only concerned about his hangover, the rest of the family is still going through remembering the pain of all the yelling and the commotion and the interrupted sleep. The alcoholic really has no clue what they are remembering and feeling.
ONE NIGHT, the mom, the mother-in-law, that is, had had enough. After the kids were all settled in at nearly three o’clock in the morning, she went back to her bedroom and got her husband up so they could go talk to son-in-law. Her husband maintains a fairly calm demeanor, but his wife reams the son-in-law up one side and down the other, and son-in-law does a lot of yelling back. Finally, her husband calls an end to the shout-fest and the fiasco ends with hurt feelings on both sides.
ALCOHOLICS have their own set of problems, and are more prone to paranoia about criticism. Alcoholics, as spouses and parents, are tolerated by their own household members. When these enablers of alcoholics are ready to make a change, they’ll do it on their own, and not necessarily when they are told to.
THE YOUNG couple, after a couple weeks, pack up their four little ones and two car loads of things, leaving behind their new home and the in-laws, and have not been back since.
THE MOTHER-IN-LAW, in trying to protect her grandchildren, ended up without them at all, a very sad thing for her, after bonding with the four babies for two years. She learned the hard way that everyone is in their own stage of recovery, and she voiced her opinion when she should have kept quiet.
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