Thursday, April 5, 2012

Semantics... Sometimes it doesn't matter.

Some words make people feel uncomfortable. Some words are used to manipulate people's emotions... to sway and control. Some words are avoided because they imply that someone is wrong. I get tripped up a bit when I encounter that kind of thing because I never reason out or purpose to use words to get my way or to sway another. Call me naive or whatever word comes to your mind, but I tend to prefer transparency and honesty.

So, why that introduction? Because I want to write about some of life's recent experiences and they are tied to words that are often triggers that "stir up" some people.

Addiction and dependency. Now those are loaded words right there!! But, they happen to be the words attached to recent life events. Because I like to keep my blog publicly available, I try to write from a directly personal frame and protect the privacy of family. I will disclose that I am not referring to my husband or myself when it comes to addiction or dependence.

When is dependence a problem? When is it determined that dependence has become addiction? Does that matter?

If someone you love is hospitalized a couple of times per year due to alcohol consumption... but doesn't have a daily or weekly habit, is it a "problem"? Should that be labeled? Has that person found ways of hiding consumption? What does a parent do? Is alcohol one piece of the pie that contains slices of other methods of self-medicating? Self-soothing? Is the person trying the only way they can to scream out for help? Maybe the person just wants to goof off and "have fun"? But, what if once they start "having fun", they cannot regulate themselves?

Such are the questions I have been pondering. And I have to say the best thing for me is to toss out the semantics and not get hung up over words and instead tie strings of attachment with the person struggling and do all I can to love and support.

In the case of the someone who I love so dearly and am diligently striving to support (not enable... support), alcohol is a piece of a pie that is used to "cope". I am proud that my someone has been able to get to the point of honestly with a team that has sprung up around us. It didn't happen overnight, but I prayed and took steps to reach out and am so thankful that at this point there is a group of professionals who have the respect of my loved one and who will look past "rules" and who are committed to one shared goal: the healing and future of my loved one. And for the semantic record, a professional recently shared that it is not believed that my loved one is an "alcoholic", but that my loved one could easily slip into that category if not very careful about future use. My loved one has used alcohol and some other "things" to self-soothe, to cope, and to goof off... Sigh. That's hard on a parent.

Since alcohol is just a piece and since I began with a statement on semantics, I'll touch on another piece. Anorexia Nervosa. That's the professional diagnosis given at a recent appointment. When does one decide that someone "has" an eating disorder? Well, I think it doesn't matter, what does matter is that the person gets support and help. However, other people cannot accept it. Perhaps if you "say" that someone has a disorder, you think that the person's identity has changed. Perhaps you want to see that person as "flawless" and if they have a addiction... dependency... disorder... perhaps they are less than perfect?? Perhaps a parent would feel like they were part of the problem? Perhaps a person decides that success only looks one way and one cannot be successful if they have these "problems". Well, in the scheme of things, the more important thing is not what we call it or if we want to deny it, but that the loved one gets the support and help needed. In our particular case, a diagnosis was made based on significant, verifiable physiological facts. What do we want for those who we love? Really... stop and ask, "What do I want for this person?" I want this person to be whole, healthy, confident... I want this person to wake up secure in our relationship... I want this person to know that not matter what, I am here to guide and love. I want this person to have hope for a great future. I want this person to wake up and grasp hold of life with enthusiasm and LIVE!!!!

Not only do we have a medical team working with us, but there are several staff at the local school who really, truly care. What a blessing! Truly, the sky is bluer and spring all the more glorious because this burden is being shared by such an amazing team.

I would love to talk about the challenges more openly, but, this will have to do. When I blog I prefer to have great photos and share exciting, happy or beautiful events in life. But, I also have to be true to my "Seven Steps Up' purpose... and that is to sit and ponder about life and what it is teaching me.

I have been learning to hold my tongue when I want to judge my loved one. I have learned some techniques for dealing with dependency issues and eating disorders. I will share more about those techniques soon.

For now, Blessings!


Tiffany said...

It sounds like some hard times have been surrounding you and your loved ones lately. It sounds trite, but the greatest healer in many cases is love. And it's often the only one we are capable of providing. Loving support. Loving prayers. Loving acceptance despite failures.

I'll be praying for you and your loved ones.

Savannah McQueen said...

Betty Marie, I agree with Tiffany. And you are such a loving person...sounds like you are offering all that you can. I've been where you are. It is hard. It is exhausting. Take care of yourself...I'll be praying.

Jennifer Southern said...

Betty Marie,
I will be praying for you and your loved one. I can relate very much to a lot of what you are going through. It is very similar, although, not exactly, when my oldest was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Our life completely changed that day. Well, changed from what I had planned. God knew.. but through it all.. my son, was still my son, he was not his diagnosis. I would do anything to help him be well. And I think that is what you want for your loved one.
I will pray that you have grace during the hard times, and the you will be built up with strength as you work to support your loved one!

Carlie @ So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler? said...

((HUGS)) to you Betty Marie. I grew up in a house with two parents who were drug dealers, one was a drug user, and the other a severe alcoholic that was physically abusive. It is never easy to see the ones you love suffer. Praying for you, dear friend, as you walk through these difficult times. Rest assured in knowing that this too shall pass!