Friday, November 14, 2008

Don't Go to the Hardware Store for Milk

"Don’t Go to the Hardware Store to Buy Milk." This slogan is not original with me but one I have borrowed from Al-anon. In that context we talk about accepting that we cannot get love or understanding from people who are unable to give it, and it reminds us to stop trying. Often in families with addiction it takes repeated trips to the “hardware store” before we realize that they don't sell milk there.

Today I talked to John’s family. They are concerned about him but when I talk about this being hard they say, “He’s fine; there is no problem.” I find myself wanting to say, “but I know some things and I am worried." Each time the subject is changed and I am told firmly, “It's all going to be fine.”

Today I realized this is what they have to believe. Unfortunately for me this means they can’t support me, they can’t allow themselves to accept that this may be hard for him or for me so therefore they cannot accept that our life is anything but normal except for a few extra doctor’s appointments.

When I got off the phone I was mad and sad. I want someone to see what I see. But then I remembered: “Don’t go to the hardware store for milk.” I can’t ask these people to be who they are not. But I can go to my friends and those who have been where I am. I don’t have to go without just don’t go where it’s not.

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