Sometimes the disease of addiction can bring out the worst in us. We can feel angry that our partner keeps lying to us. Or depressed because they keep choosing drugs and alcohol over their marriage and family.
But if you take away all the dysfunction that addiction adds to the family, if you remove those layers, you will discover a gentle and loving woman with an open heart and thoughtfulness.
You will find grace.
Grace is one of my favorite words. Grace is not angry or powerful or loud. It’s soft and tender and done with an open heart. It’s an extension of forgiveness. Grace is being able to look someone in the eyes and feel them in your heart.
Grace is hugging the ones you love tightly during their meltdown.
My sweet, 10-year-old son was having a meltdown at bedtime the other night. He was yelling about his younger brother throwing his pillow on the floor, and as I stood in the doorway of his bedroom listening to this silly temper tantrum, my mommy instincts told me that the pillow-throwing really isn’t what he’s upset about. And rather than telling him his meltdown was silly and to get back to bed (because it was 30 minutes past bedtime), I saw his heart hurting.
So I walked over to his bed, put him in my lap, and told him I was so sorry he was having such a hard day. Then, I mentioned two things I loved about him.
I said, “Graham, I love that every time I come back from getting my hair done, you tell me I look beautiful.” Because he’s sweet like that. “And I also love how thoughtful you are. When we were walking through the mall last week, you offered to carry my overstuffed purse even though I could tell you may have been a little embarrassed.”
You know what happened? He stopped crying and the love from my heart filled up his.
He gave me a kiss on the cheek, curled up in bed, and went fast to sleep.
Grace means coming from a place of love when others can’t.
It’s reaching for my husband’s hand in a crowded place and giving it a squeeze to let him know I love him.
It’s choosing to look at the reason why someone is hurting you instead of getting stuck in the hurt.
Grace is giving our friends the benefit of the doubt.
My husband recently told me, “I love you when you’re being tender. I love when you’re being loving and compassionate to the kids or when we’re at dinner with another couple and you’re giving them a pep talk. I just sit back and watch. That’s when I fall in love with you all over again.”
I know the side of me he’s referring to. But most days, I am all drive and ambition – armed with my to-do list and sheer determination to get it done. We have to wear many hats (chef, housekeeper, nanny, chauffeur, manager, etc.), don’t we?
Sometimes the side that is tender and loving gets pushed aside or hidden because we get so hurt by the ones we love when we’re vulnerable enough to reveal it. This is especially true if you’re in a relationship with someone who drinks too much or uses drugs.
But, occasionally, let’s just take a moment to extend grace to others and ourselves.
Let’s put away the battle gear that addiction forces us to wear every day and be tender. And for no other reason, to remember we still have grace. And that is something this disease can never take away from us.
If you’re ready to make your healing as important as his sobriety – we are waiting for you. The programs are online, confidential and you have lifetime access – so you can do them at your own pace.