Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hope Does Kill

This is the letter I sent to all my family and friends last year, after visiting J at Betty Ford and attending a week there to learn about his "disease".

I just got back from spending a week at "Family Week" at Betty Ford, where J has been for the last 50 days or so.

As some of you know, I wasn't sure about even going at first, and then had reservations even after I agreed to go. It seemed as though our marriage was in disrepair. When J came home for a visit several weeks ago though, I sensed that he was coming back to be the J that I knew and loved. And he has continued to grow and heal.

I can not begin to describe what this program has done for me. Growing up around alcoholism, I had many unresolved issues and wounds. And of course there were also many things to deal with in my marriage as well. Being in a room of people with similar experiences coming from all over the country was empowering and healing. I was in a group with a woman who I closely identified with almost to a "T". But I was also in group with a recovering alcoholic with a son who was an alcoholic - who reminded me a lot of my father-in-law. It was good to see and hear all the different angles. The disease of alcoholism is so isolating and shaming. This was a remarkable program because I was able to see how our stories are all so similar. Without going on and on, I can only say that I am so glad that I went. I feel that I have learned things and tools that I can use throughout the rest of my life. And I feel a lot of joy, peace and hope that I did not feel before.

I have an enormous amount of gratitude for the Betty Ford Center and to Betty Ford herself. I was thinking today about the courage it must have taken for her to come out - as a woman (with all the double standards towards women who are alcoholics) and being the Presidents wife. And yet, she did it. And it is really a tremendous place. I only hope that someday I can give back to her program in a profound way. Because I feel she and her center have touched my life - and so many other lives - profoundly.

I also wanted to say thank you.

So many of you have told me that you have been praying for me and J - and I appreciate that. Thank you for checking in on me - even when I isolated myself. Thank you for being there in my darkest hours. Thanks for listening.

Thanks to my mom and my sisters for watching the kids while I was away. Thank you for being wonderful, compassionate, loving friends and family. I love you all very much.


No comments:

Post a Comment