So much has been happening in my world as of late. I finally took some of my posts that others had urged me to put into book form and published a small book of the same title as my blog. Enabling Love went public about 4 weeks ago. It is pretty exciting, I must say but the biggest part of the news is just how far I've come from 5 or 6 years ago when I was an enabling mess. To this day, I continue to ask God to help me work on my own character defects and will till the day I die, I'm sure.
Completing this book was simply a milestone for me as it allowed me to finally reach and complete a goal in my life. I've had many visions of grandeur and some were probably not at all impossible but given the lifestyle I was in, there was no way I would reach that goal. Repeatedly I said I was going to do something, or often in my conversations I would hear myself say "I ought to do ...". Ohhhhh, them's fightin' words to me now! That old "ought to" thinking is far behind me but I see it over there lurking about waiting to grab me by my ankles and pull me quickly into another dance I'd rather not perform. Finally, I accomplished something I promised myself I would do and therein lies the gratification proving to me that I have grown and changed. Before, I was living in a lie that told me my chances to do anything differently or to live life differently were past me. Ha! That's one of the lies of chaos, addiction and enabling. It seemed I lived my life almost voyeur-like, intensely observing others success-filled lives in amazement. Frozen in place and time I watched person after person make choices, travel places, laugh more and love better than I; at least it seemed that way. I was allowing all the unreal, untrue thoughts to rob me of the present and hold me hostage from moving into the steps that would take me to a different future. I'm so, so happy to have that thinking and behavior out of my life and replaced with healthy, positive truths.
Not long ago, I wrote about the changes in my life with a new house and a huge step of setting Cliff free from me. Nine months ago he wasn't as eager to take the step as I was but over the past several months now, I've come to see just how freeing that change was for me. I had just about come full circle in learning and living a 12 Step life but saw that I could just as easily have stepped back into unhealthy, codependent choices too.
Three weeks ago, I received a phone call from Cliff to say that he was out of a job. The place where he worked seemed to often dangle the proverbial carrot in front of his face that would take him into management had let him go. They worked him like a manager, he put in the hours like a manager and more, and would jump at the chance to fill in when someone else didn't meet the schedule as planned. Cliff hit a snag and they parted ways. From my perspective he learned a big life lesson through these months; paying his own way and answering for himself. Major lessons for a former addict.
So, as I thought might happen, the phone call came and the discussion went like this:
Cliff: "I love it here but nothings coming my way" I think I might have to come back to Michigan.
Me: "Oh?" I say. "And where will you go?" I asked, waiting to hear his answer.
Cliff: "I've been talking to John and he said for sure they'd love to have me on their crew. Remember they wanted me in April?
Me: "Yes, I do recall that. But I also recall promised hours that never seemed to come, remember?"
Cliff: "Well, to be honest (yes, we're making progress!!!) I didn't always keep my word to them so they would go on without me"
Me: "I figured as much but you had to admit it for yourself"
Cliff: "Mom, I've grown up a lot this year and I don't work that way anymore. I don't like sitting around not working. I really don't go out and party either"
Me: "Where will you live?"
Sure enough his first suggestion was that maybe he could come here. I said no. What if it's just briefly? I said no. My conversation with Cliff continued and he wanted my input, so I gave it.
You are 32, I reminded him, and we aren't roommates. Continue as you have lived, like a man taking care of business. Confirm with John your wage and your starting date. Then call a few options in WL to see if you can pay rent and live there. And write down your goals!
Another hour or so later the phone rang again and Cliff called to say that he worked it all out and I feel as if I've finally gone full circle and closed the gap for myself. The art of saying no has found its way into my vocabulary and it came without false guilt of hurting someone else's feelings.
In fact, it came across so well, that our conversation ended this way:
"Mom, if I ever want to come over to hang out for a weekend, can I come?"
The boundary has been made in a clear and healthy way!