Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ground Zero

I feel an awesome sense of responsibility when it comes to my grandchildren. We are creating our family legacy, one memory at a time. It makes me think of my own children, and the kind of mother they needed. I am not always sure I filled the shoes adequately, but they are loving and kind in their reassurances to me. They fill me with such gratitude.
I've been thinking about why God allows certain events to shape our lives, and what our response must be as we travel the paths He presents to us, and I was thinking about why alcoholism had to have such a pivotal role in my life. I am not, nor have I ever been, an alcoholic, but I have lived with alcoholism during my childhood as well as in my marriage, so what is it about this disease and me? It has been a teacher, for one thing, and perhaps more than anything else it led me to the cross. When I asked God for help, He always answered. But I remember asking people for help, professionals in the field of alcoholism, and their answer to me was "the alcoholic must hit bottom." I remember such confusion over that answer. What they didn't tell me, and I had to discover, was that while an alcoholic must hit bottom, each family member or loved one has their own rock bottom, their own ground zero. My ground zero happened when my husband would not get help at what I perceived to be his rock bottom. When I saw there was no way further down, around, under, behind, no detour, only one emergency after another, I found the only way out was Up. It was at my own ground zero, when everything in my marriage was demolished, that I realized I had to leave and rebuild. I have wanted to share this with other men or women living with this disease, just in case they are still waiting on their loved one to hit rock bottom. I think we must each acknowledge what our own ground zero is, and make decisions to prevent the devastation that hitting bottom brings into our lives. I want to say to them, don't wait until you hit rock bottom, because you may not have the strength or courage to rise out of such ashes. It takes a certain amount of strength to ask for help, from any source. The foundational work done in a twelve-step program can protect you from knowing what it means to be surrounded by ruins. As I've travelled those 12 steps over and over again, perhaps the biggest part of my legacy will be trying to teach my grandchildren that God is their Rock, their Fortress, their Deliverer, and nothing can destroy that foundation.

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