Rosie looked around to see if anyone was agreeing with Mike and then blurted out, “That’s a bunch of hogwash. When my husband gets home from a bender I better be there waiting or there will be real trouble. He would tear the house up to show me who the boss is. I don’t have children to hide behind like some folks.”
“That sounds like it’s a dangerous situation and we can talk later if you like to discuss your specific situation. But I do want to clarify that having children rarely stops an abusive person from trying to control his world. Every situation is different that is true. My point is that you will be better able to handle the situation if you have had a time to have some fun and if you have had some rest. Sitting around the house worrying will cause you to lose control and your conversation will be more fight than moving toward solution. Really that needs to be the goal of these confrontations. If you are attacking with your words there will not be peace or solutions. Many times those in addictions are looking for a fight so they have an excuse to go out and use. Would it be ok if I make a wild guess about something?”
Rosie nodded reluctantly.
“After he tears the house up, you clean it up while he sleeps off the bender. When he wakes up he doesn’t even remember the damage he caused?”
Rosie looked surprised that Mike would know that.
Sarah looked at Rosie in a different light now. Here was a woman who was in an abusive relationship and was hurting deeply, yet she liked to put on a show. In Sarah’s mind she remembered seeing a sign somewhere that said, “Treat everyone as if they are hurting because they probably are.”
Mike continued, “As families we must do what we can to take care of ourselves or we simply will not be able to show them compassion when they are ready to receive it. Be careful not to make empty threats. If you decide that they are going to go, or if you are going to leave than do not threaten, simply do it. I recommend having a plan in writing about what you will do on the next relapse and then stick with the plan.”
There was some murmuring as someone knocked over a water bottle and someone rushed to get a towel.
“In a few moments we are going to break down into our support groups. But I want to remind everyone of the phases of building your resiliency.”
A few people brought out notebooks and prepared to write or reread old notes where Mike had covered this before.
“Phase one, overcome fear. We must bring our fear under control. You will not be able to go forward and consistently do what is right while you are controlled by fear. Also you cannot get rid of fear, it is a real emotion and very powerful. But you can use fear to strengthen you toward doing the right things. Phase two is: Learn Balance. We must learn to balance or bring into harmony all that is part of us. I like Luke 2:52 that let us know that Jesus grew physically, mentally, spiritually and socially. If you can balance those four areas you can do wonders in your life. Phase three is to learn to brake. If you are always on the go you will wear yourself out and will again not be worth much in your attempts to help others. Phase four is to learn to steer. This is a complicated world with many difficulties and challenges. We must learn to navigate our way through the pains and joys of sobriety and relapse that we will all experience. Finally phase five is simply maintaining our growth and healing. This does not mean that we are going to quit being vigilant. It means that we will be consistently analyzing and examining our lives to make us better than we were before.”
There was much scurrying of pens. Sarah thought about all of that and it made some sense but was not too sure of it all and wanted to ask some more questions at a later meeting.
With a bit of direction all of the people split up into three different groups. One group was for multiple addictions, one was for mental illness and one for alcohol addiction. Sarah decided that she had enough and was ready to go when she was stopped by Angie.
“I bet your taking off, huh?”
“I think I’ve taken in as much as I can.”
“Can we get coffee tomorrow?” Angie smiled and threw in, “I’ll buy.”
Sarah agreed and they figured out a good place to get together.