Yesterday I mentioned a story that was told by a mother son team from two different viewpoints. The son was in recovery and filled with optimism and gratitude; mom was still struggling with the effects of ten years of trauma associated with her son’s active addiction. Both are perfectly acceptable and normal responses, one does not diminish the other. I noticed that the son and mom had been given two different levels of support along the journey. The son had intensive treatment, long term. He had daily meetings. He had a therapist. He had a group of recovery buddies.
Mom had spent her retirement funds to make this happen. She was working one full-time and two part-time side jobs to stay afloat. I admire her commitment to finding resources for her boy. And she was so happy to do so. But her schedule only permitted her to attend one Al-anon meeting a week. She didn’t feel that she had the finances to go to therapy. Is it any wonder that her own path to recovery was (perhaps) taking a bit longer? She’s getting there, her pace is just a bit different from her son’s. (And to be clear – she is doing an amazing job of supporting his recovery. She’s doing great work in spite of a paucity of resources.)
One skill she talked about that I think has been extremely helpful to her is the resource of online recovery resources and phone contact with supportive friends. She needed and found a way to have someone to talk consistently to, for a limited amount of time. She says she intentionally sets a time limit on these kind of calls; she cut herself off from the ruminating after a few minutes of venting. She even went so far as to schedule her time for expressing self-pity. Storing and stuffing is not helpful but neither is repetitive rumination. She learned how to maintain a balance.
I suspect this skill set is serving her well. Can you perhaps find a way to incorporate that kind of limitation on self-pity?