Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our Journey Is Not Complete: It Begins Each Day, With Each Step And Absolutely Everyday Someone Finds Recovery!

English: Seal of the President of the United S...
 Seal of the President of the United States  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading our Twitter feed on January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013, was a Federal Holiday - Martin Luther King Day - and this year it was also the day that the United States celebrated the inauguration of our 44th President. Many of us had a day off from work, so we had the opportunity to watch live coverage of the day's events. It does not really matter your party affiliation, if any, Inauguration Day is "One Today," as inaugural poet Richard Blanco says, to celebrate our democracy.

You may wonder why we are writing today about this inaugural event...the simple answer is because recovery is a journey and if you watched closely you saw some on the bema /dais who have taken this journey as children of alcoholics and as addicts. And maybe, just maybe, when President Obama repeatedly said "our journey is not complete," he was speaking to those of us who are on that journey of recovery.

As we watched yesterday's events, we also kept an eye on our twitter feed and the following two tweets appeared:
Children of addicted parents are more likely to have repeated a grade in school and to be disciplined for truancy and other misbehavior.  (Tweeted at 10:15AM January 21, 2013)

In general, children of alcoholic parents do less well on academic measures, and are more likely to have frequent absenteeism... (Tweeted at 3:15PM January 21, 2013)
These two tweets made us think about the journey of recovery, the miracles that take place and that recovery is possible. Of course, the operative phrases in these two tweets are more likely and in general, but it occurred to us that a few on the bema beat the odds and have survived to be successful and contribute to our greater humanity.

David Maraniss wrote Barack Obama: The Story 

On June 19, 2012, David Maraniis published his book Barack Obama: The Story. The Miami Herald's Frida Ghitis points out when reviewing David Maraniss' new book Barack Obama: The Story...

In the background of all but one American president in the last 30 years, alcoholism has figured prominently, usually as the poisonous potion that helped destroy father-son bonds. Perhaps it worked by creating effort to replace those missing bonds, or maybe to impress the ghost of the absent father. Or maybe it was the product of strong maternal figures that helped raise confident young men who then grew up with the belief and the emotional strength to take the top job in the world’s most powerful nation.
  • Obama’s father, Barack Obama Sr., the Kenyan student who traveled to Hawaii and met Stanley Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, promptly disappeared from his son’s life and eventually destroyed his own, dying in a car crash in a haze of alcoholism.
  • Bill Clinton’s father, William Jefferson Blythe, also died after a crash three months before his son was born. The young Bill inherited his first and middle name, but took the last name of the man his mother later married, another alcoholic who abused Bill’s mother.
  • Ronald Reagan’s father, Jack, as his mother Nelled explained to him as a child, had a “sickness,” Reagan wrote, that’s “why my father sometimes disappeared.” That sickness was “an addiction to alcohol.”

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Also on the dais yesterday was Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor. She was honored to swear in Vice-President Joseph R. Biden. While you probably know a great deal about Sonia Sotomayor, you may not know that she has recently published a memoir of her early life My Beloved World.

Yesterday, The New York Times' Michiko Kakutani wrote in a review of My Beloved World:

...[her] sense of discipline and perseverance stemmed partly from her determination to manage her diabetes (she started giving herself insulin shots at 7 because her parents seemed unable to deal with the procedure); partly from her awareness, as a child, of the precariousness of existence, slammed home by her father’s drinking and her mother’s angry response to his alcoholism (which took the form of working nights and weekends to avoid being at home). It was the love and protection of her grandmother Abuelita, says Justice Sotomayor, that gave her “a refuge from the chaos at home” and allowed her “to imagine the most improbable of possibilities for my life.”

One today with many thoughts...

Watching yesterday's events brought thoughts about our First Families over the centuries. The truth is we cherish them, again no matter what party, because they are first and foremost families. And they deal with  everything that we deal with in our own families. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt lost her own father to the disease of alcoholism when she was about 10 years old, it is reported she suffered from depression. President Gerald Ford was the son of an alcoholic and First Lady Betty Ford suffered from alcoholism and worked tirelessly till the time of her death helping others find the miracle of recovery at the Betty Ford Center. President Jimmy Carter, lost his only brother Billy to pancreatic cancer following many years of heavy drinking. President Clinton's often expresses his appreciation for those in the recovery field who have worked with his half-brother, Roger. The real life stories go on...

If we needed any more evidence about the long view of disease of addiction and the miracle of recovery, perhaps listening yesterday as James Taylor sang "America the Beautiful" said all we need to know about the journey that so many of us take as alcoholics, addicts, parents of addicts, and children of alcoholics.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

The journey is not complete...it begins each day, with each step and absolutely everyday someone finds recovery. 
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