Is That Elephant Yours?

I used to write the checks that paid the bills. (That was back in the day before automatic drafts.) I controlled the income and the outgo. I did the shopping. I did the saving. I gave my addicted spouse a weekly allowance, which eventually turned into daily “lunch money” because he blew (or snorted) the weekly dollars with one trip to the dealer.

I worked very hard to keep us out of debt and in the black. Sometimes we still received the dreaded NSF (non-sufficient funds) on our bank statement, with overdraft fees attached. Those three letters (NSF) made me crazy! I would clamp down even tighter on a husband who could figure out a way to buy drugs no matter how hard I controlled the cash. I was like Wile E. Coyote, scrimping and scheming to keep my husband from killing himself. Rationalizing insanely like this: If he only gets a few dollars, then he can’t overdose or disappear for days. We can handle a high; we just can’t handle a binge.

The addicted “Road Runner,” on the other hand, figured out myriad ways to outsmart me, from pawning his own stuff to beating in his truck with a sledge hammer and collecting the insurance money. Can’t you just hear him saying, “Beep beep!” on his way to the dealer…again? And can you picture me, ultra control-freak freaking out…again?

Remember that childhood cartoon (I know, I’m dating myself here) where Wile E. Coyote is chasing after Road Runner and ends up going off a cliff? That was me. Eventually, I ended up just going off the deep end because trying to outsmart and out-chase and out-control an out-of-control person is exhausting… and damaging; especially to the ones who are trying to fix everything.

In her best-selling book Codependent No More, Melody Beattie says, “Most of us have been so busy responding to other people’s problems that we haven’t had time to identify, much less take care of, our own problems.”

Following are some quotes that came from spouses of alcoholics when their husbands were in treatment and when they got honest about who they really were and how they really felt:

  • “The bondage of codependency made me so crazy that all those around me suffered greatly.”
  • “I caught myself answering for my spouse in Family Program. I started to realize that I was a big part of the problem.”
  • “I wanted to be a victim. I continued to act like I did not have choices and that it was always everyone else’s fault in the family for how I felt and reacted.”
  • “I realized that although I was saying I wanted my spouse to get better, I was really afraid of getting better and looking at my own stuff. I kept adding pressure as a way of sabotaging.”
  • “I still wanted to control things while my spouse was in treatment, because, after all, I had always taken care of everything.” Codependent No More Workbook, p. 83

 I recently read this quote on Ann Voskamp’s blog:

“Unless you walk with Jesus every day will be driven hard by pride or fear.”

 My thoughts keep returning to those words like a tongue returns to that empty place where a tooth used to be. It’s so true.” Every day will be driven hard by pride or fear.” And that pride and fear drive us to control.

Why did I try to control every penny when I was married to a cocaine user? Because I was prideful. I wanted to make sure that everything about our lives continued to appear normal, even though normal was often far from our reality.

And what was I so afraid of anyway? Why was fear a driving force in my life? Well, I was afraid that he would kill himself or someone else. I was afraid he would go to jail, and at the same time afraid he wouldn’t go to jail. Afraid of what the good people in church would think if they knew what was really going on in our lives. Afraid that we would lose our home, our vehicles, our jobs. Afraid that I might lose my mind. Just afraid. Of lots of things.

I was so prideful and fearful and controlling that I was blinded to the “elephant in the room.” Oh, I kind of knew there was a large mammal with a long trunk that had taken up residency in our lives, but I thought it belonged to the real addict, surely not to me!

Upon closer inspection, one that required a good Christian counselor and some Al-anon principles, I realized that the elephant had my name on it. It was my pet. No one ever spoke of it. We all ignored it. But there it was, one day, bigger than life. Its name was Control. It stood firmly on four legs: pride, fear, shame, and secrecy.

Only when those legs began to buckle under the powerful daily application of God’s Word, did that beast begin to fall to its knees.

Is that your elephant?

Is that your elephant?

I dove into scriptures like Isaiah 41:10, which says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV) Proverbs 16:5, in the King James version reminded me that pride is an “abomination” to the Lord. The Living Bible puts it this way,“Pride disgusts the Lord. Take my word for it—proud men [and women] shall be punished.”

This week, I came across a great little magnifying glass that might be used to check for elephants. You may want to prayerfully read it and begin turning some of those burdens you’ve been carrying over to the One who can truly handle them. It’s written by Cherilynn Veland:

Five Major Ways Addictions Can Affect Your Life, Even If You Are Not The Addict

If you are in a relationship with a problem drinker or problem substance abuser, or if you have a family member who is an addict, there are five major ways that this disease may affect you.

1. You can become more controlling.
It is normal for this disease to make a person feel anxious or overwhelmed. Because of this, the family member usually becomes more controlling of their environment. For example, if you are a boss at a company, and your spouse has a drinking problem, you might over-manage your employees. You could channel that control need into making  more and more rules and restrictions for your employees. If you are a parent, you may do this with your kids, managing their relationships or being overly restrictive.

2. You can become anxious and more easily overwhelmed.
You will worry more in general about everyone you care about. If you are a mom or a dad, you may be overly-focused on your child. You want to make them happy at all costs, and you become overly worried if something goes wrong for them at school. Work is more difficult. Everything gets harder.

3. You might think you can help when you can’t.
People who are in relationships with substance abusers will often try harder and harder to “make” the addict/alcoholic happy. They will work hard to do whatever it takes to “make them OK” so the drinker or user won’t need to drink. Sadly, this will not help. Addiction has nothing to do with someone’s environment. Even if a substance abuser likes to blame their difficult work or the messy house, these are just excuses.

4. You can become fixated on the other person’s behavior.
Wondering and worrying about things like, “Will ____ drink tonight?” or “What if they drive?” or “How will it be at home if ____happens?” These worries can become a fixation in your mind, leading to self-neglect. This cycle repeats over and over.

5. You can get blinded by denial.
If your loved one is a substance abuser, it is normal to go into denial. Remember the woman who killed her children and several other people after driving with 10 drinks in her system? Her family says they knew nothing about it. Denial is a powerful partner to the disease of substance abuse. Even loving parents will turn a blind eye. I see it all the time.

The takeaway: Even if you are just the friend of an addict, or you grew up with an addict who is in recovery, alcoholism and drug addiction have tentacles with deep impact. Anyone in any kind of a relationship with someone who is addicted has to be touched by this disease. Contact a counselor or a 12-step program such as Al-Anon if you are in this situation. Learn about codependency. Help is out there. (http://drnicolaswarner.com/five-major-ways-addictions-can-affect-life-even-if-not-addict/)

My students used to tell elephant jokes: Q: “What time is it when an elephant sits in a chair?” A: “Time to get a new chair.” Q: “What is the same size as an elephant, but weighs nothing?” A: “An elephant’s shadow.” Q: “How do you eat an elephant?” A: One bite at a time.” I guess that’s what I want to leave with you – the way to conquer the elephants in our lives is to first acknowledge that they actually might be ours. Then we make them disappear one bite at a time. And those bites are found in the first part of Ann’s quote, “Unless you walk with Jesus every day…”

Jesus, help me to walk with You, humbly, fearlessly, day by day, until every single bite of that elephant is swallowed up by Your grace and mercy. Amen.

P.S. Here’s the link to Ann Voskamp’s blog where I got the quote: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2014/04/15-keys-to-parenting-what-no-one-tells-you/

Shame and Vulnerability Unmasked

“Shame on you.” “Shame on him.” “Shame on me.” My mouth has formed those words many times in 43 years. My mama said them when I tried to sneak back into the house after a broken curfew. My Grandma ‘Dessa said them when “so-and-so’s husband stepped out on her and ran off with that little tramp.” My great-grandmother said them when she felt bad after burning her hand and swearing out loud in front of us kids. I grew up with shame.

In elementary school, I was ashamed that we lived in a mobile home on someone else’s property. In high school I was ashamed when my coach kind of joked that my fashionable “high tops” weren’t really basketball shoes at all. (They were all my single mama could afford.) In college, I was ashamed that my car had no paint and roared through campus in a not-so-cool way because the muffler had fallen off. When I got married at 24, I felt shame when I accepted a diamond ring that had been worn by my husband’s ex -wife. When I got divorced 13 years later, I carried the shame of a wasted womb to the courthouse.

If I had believed the enemy’s lies, they would go something like this: “You are unworthy to hang out with the kids who have their own swimming pools and whose parents drive Audis. You shouldn’t even play sports because you’re can’t afford the proper gear. Everyone is going to laugh at you and your stupid Balloon sneakers. And forget about trying to date any of the “cool” guys at college, they are WAY out of your league. And that ring, well, obviously you aren’t worth the trouble it would take to get a new diamond. Or at least one that your husband didn’t buy for someone else! And that wasted womb, well… that was your own choice. You made your bed. Now lie in it.”

Image Credit: www.polyvore.com/teal_blue_sneakers_vintage_1980s/thing?id=60963037

Image Credit: http://www.polyvore.com/teal_blue_sneakers_ vintage_1980s/thing?id=60963037

Okay, I did believe those lies. Maybe not consciously. But I made agreements with the enemy about who I was based on what kind of home I lived in, what clothing I could afford, and what car I drove. I suffered on the inside for making poor choices and pretending that I was okay with them. Shame and pride and fear created a nasty concoction within, yet I smiled on the outside. I never verbalized any of that. Just worked hard. Got good grades. Did my best to be a good crack-wife. Pretended to be okay. Slogged through the swamp of shame.

Dr. Brené Brown speaks eloquently (if you can forgive a few swear words) on shame in her Ted Talks piece, “Listening to Shame”. http://www.ted.com/talk /brene_brown_listening_to_shame In her talk, she says, “Shame is the swampland of the soul.” I get that. I’ve lived that.

Before Dr. Brown gets to the actual shame part of her talk on shame, though, she speaks a lot about vulnerability. (I also recommend her Vulnerability talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability ). It resonated with me when she said she had a, “Vulnerability Hangover.” I kind of felt that way after my previous post. I just wanted to hide. To lay low. I felt kind of naked. And the negative self-talk came, “So, was it worth it to put yourself out there like that?” I even began to second-guess some pieces that I was planning to put into my book. But then, one dear reader had the courage to make the following comment on my blog post, “Unashamed.” She said, “Beautifully written. Someday so many people will be able to tell you how much your honesty and transparency has helped them. Keep releasing the fear of what people think – What I thought while reading this is how awesome that you are sharing it and how it will resonate with so many more people than you can imagine!”

I actually wept. Just sat here dropping tears onto my lemony-patterned table cloth. Thank you, God. That someone sees. Is touched by what You and I are doing here. Thank You, for those words of encouragement.

Brené Brown goes on to say, “Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage.” And that it is the “birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” So, this is what I want to say today: If you feel stuck in a place of shame, take a step of courage and be vulnerable. Find a safe place to be real. Dr. Brown says that, “Vulnerability is the pathway back to each other.” Find a 12 Step group like Celebrate Recovery, where you can tell your story. Attend Al-anon. Risk a friendship. Just be real and give another person the opportunity to say two of the most powerful words in the universe, “Me, too.”

Isaiah 50:7 For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

Shortcake

P.S. The photo may appear unrelated to this post, but it sure looks yummy, right? Seriously, I made Strawberry Shortcake for my Honey and me after we found some fantastic strawberries at Costco on our date night last Monday. And I’m not ashamed to say that I ate every bite of the one in the above photograph, in sweet memory of my Grandma ‘Dessa. Loved her so much – wish I could share with her some of the things I’m learning about shame. I’m afraid that she lived and died in its ugly swampland.

Unashamed

“Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. Psalm 19:13-14”

That scripture was written by my own hand in my journal. The year was 2007, the year my upside-down life turned inside-out. That was the year the festering boil that was my marriage to a crack-addicted spouse burst and all that internal pain I’d kept bottled up for years oozed out for the world to see. That was the year God desperately sought to rescue me from myself as my own neediness nearly cost me my future.

Last week I went off the grid to work on some of the last chapters in this memoir that has been somewhat like birthing a child – both painful and joyous. I spent the time at my friend Nancy’s house, where she graciously allowed me to keep ungodly hours, typing away on my manuscript as I sat at her table wearing the same comfy sweats night after day. I won’t tell you how many times I didn’t shower, but by Thursday, sweet Nancy was sitting slightly further away when she chatted to me than she had earlier in the week. I thought my husband was being so gracious when he offered to “let me go away so I could write without distraction,” but I wonder if he was secretly saving himself from having to live with me while I was in “writer’s mode.”

It was a tough, yet productive week. I plowed through the events leading up to the ultimate disintegration of my marriage. Those were definitely some painful memories. But the thing that brought me the most distress was recognizing how clearly God spoke to me and how blindly I went in the opposite direction during the months immediately following my divorce. I was almost too afraid to write about it for fear of what people will think of me.

God sought to rein me in so many different ways. One was through a sermon I heard when I visited a distant church one weekend. Here are some of the notes I took in my journal:

  • Everything has its effect. Our own mistakes are the first source of wisdom.
  • “Failure is failure only if we fail to learn” (John Maxwell)
  • Learn from the mistakes (life experiences) of others. Who are the ‘wise’ people in your life? Listen to them.
  • Are you ready to humble your heart enough to trust God?

 As I recently read the thoughts, prayers, and events surrounding those sermon notes in my 2007 journal, I could almost see the pull between who God was calling me to be and the voice of my own selfish desires. Here’s a paragraph from Chapter 13 of my manuscript:

“I honestly thought I was humble and ready to trust God. But early on in life I had developed a dangerous pattern of going from relationship to relationship without any space between. My marriage was simply part of that pattern. Now that it was ended, I defaulted to my faulty wiring, which was a result of deep insecurity and childhood wounding. I was desperately in need of time to heal.”

I did not give myself that much-needed time. Jumping from the proverbial frying pan into the fire, I got burned and hurt on top of the hurt I was already going through. The enemy knew my vulnerabilities and prepared a perfect snare for my wounded heart. I fell right for it.

As I sat at Nancy’s table this week, reading my personal journal from seven years ago, I felt so ashamed that I had missed God’s warnings to me. He really was being the loving heavenly Father He says He is. But I wasn’t allowing Him to be. I was like that headstrong teenaged daughter who slams her bedroom door in her Dad’s face saying, “Leave me alone! You just wouldn’t understand,” as he tries to warn her about the kinds of boys she’s attracted to. “Forgive me, Lord,” I prayed, as hindsight’s understanding flooded my mind, “For not listening to You. Forgive me for numbing my pain with another relationship and causing myself additional heartache, when all You wanted to do was to help me heal.”

What I want to say to each of us is this: When we run to a person, an addiction, or a numbing behavior to satisfy a longing inside of us, rather than running to the One who created us and truly understands what we need, we are only hurting ourselves further and prolonging our ultimate healing.

 In my 12 Step group, we began Step 1 last October by taking a look at the following addiction cycle:

 The Addiction Cycle:

  1. Pain, distress, boredom
  2. Reaching out to an addictive agent, such as work, food, sex, alcohol, or dependent relationships to salve our pain
  3. Temporary anesthesia
  4. Negative consequences
  5. Shame and guilt, which result in more pain or low self-esteem, starting the cycle all over again

We’re now on Step 6, but we are continually reminded to check where the cycle is showing up in our lives. If we see ourselves anywhere in this cycle, there is hope for us. God longs to be the only God in our lives. He’s the Dad, knocking on the door of our hearts saying, “Open up. I see you. I love you. I really do know what’s best for you. Let me show you. Let me help you. Will you trust me?”

If we can just choose to rely on Him in our times of suffering, whatever they may be, rather than on ourselves or our self-defeating ways of numbing, He will redeem everything we thought was lost. I had to learn that the hard way. Am still learning that…but I AM learning. And He is redeeming. All of those things I thought were lost.messy tulips

When I came home from Nancy’s on Friday evening, I was greeted by a vase of yellow tulips on my table and a loving husband washing dishes in my kitchen. As he embraced me and told me how proud he was of what I was doing and how excited he will be when my book is published and my story begins to help others, I released the fear of “what will people think” and embraced the truth found in Titus 2:11-14, that says it is God’s amazing grace that teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions.

When we can truly say, “God sees me in my helpless state, hears my deepest heart cries, is able to satisfy my every desire, and His son, my brother, Jesus Christ, is not ashamed of me,” then we can stop the addiction cycles in our lives. Will anyone choose with me to believe that today?

At Nancy's Table

At Nancy’s Table

Titus 2:11-14 (NIV)

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Redeeming The Past

With the pure innocence of a sleeping child, she lay at his feet…waiting. Her life’s journey to that dark place on the threshing floor had been exhausting and overflowing with loss. She had lost her husband, and with his death, her dreams of becoming a mother. Her family, friends and culture had all been lost when her love for her mother-in-law and the God she served called her to another country. But Ruth chose not to allow what was lost to consume her. She chose hope. She chose to believe in a God who redeemed the things she thought were lost.

Innocence

Innocence

I was just reading from Isaiah 54 in the Life Recovery Bible (New Living Translation). The chapter begins:

“Sing, O childless woman,
you who have never given birth!
Break into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem,
you who have never been in labor.
For the desolate woman now has more children
than the woman who lives with her husband,”
says the Lord.
“Enlarge your house; build an addition.
Spread out your home, and spare no expense!
For you will soon be bursting at the seams.

The commentary on this passage is incredibly beautiful. It says, “Each one of us comes to God with a past. In turning our life over to Him, we give Him our entire self, including our past losses and shame. We hand over to Him every moment of disgrace, every tear we have ever cried, every word we wish we could take back, all the broken promises, the loneliness, all the dreams that died, the dashed hopes, the broken relationships, our successes and failures – all of our yesterdays and the scars they have left in our life.

Under Old Testament laws, if someone lost freedom, property, or spouse because of a disaster or a debt, the next of kin was looked to as “redeemer.” If property had been lost because of inability to pay, the redeemer would pay for it and return it to the original owner. If a woman lost her husband, the redeemer would marry her, providing her with protection and love. God tells us:

4Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.
Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you.
You will no longer remember the shame of your youth
and the sorrows of widowhood.
For your Creator will be your husband;
the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
the God of all the earth.
For the Lord has called you back from your grief—
as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,”
says your God.
“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great compassion I will take you back.
In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while.
But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord, your Redeemer. NLT

 God is our Redeemer, the restorer of our losses. He is Lord of all, even of our days and dreams in the past. When we give God the past, he can make up for all we have lost. He can rid us of the shame and fill the empty places in our heart.” (Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop, The Life Recovery Bible, Colorado Springs, CO: Alive Communications, 1998 p. 861.)

Ruth chose to follow her mother-in-law Naomi’s suggestion to humbly present herself to Boaz, a close relative who had the means to provide for their future.  As Boaz lay down beside a heap of grain on the threshing floor and went to sleep, he had no idea that he would awake during the night to find Ruth innocently curled at his feet.

Ruth 3:7-10 says, “Then Ruth came quietly, uncovered his feet, and lay down. Around midnight Boaz suddenly woke up and turned over. He was surprised to find a woman lying at his feet! “Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she replied. “Spread the corner of your covering over me, for you are my family redeemer.”

10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter!” Boaz exclaimed. “You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before, for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor.” NLT

Taking godly risks with our pain can feel terrifying at times. But when we are obedient to His call, He pulls us from our pasts and redeems us with a future more fulfilling than we could ever imagine. Through the lineage of Boaz and Ruth came King David and Jesus Christ. We can never underestimate the power of God to redeem the things we thought were lost!

Lines in the Sand

People who love addicts learn to draw lines in the sand. Christians who love addicts may have a difficult time knowing whether their “line” is godly “tough love” or sheer anger and self-protection. We reason, “God loves us unconditionally, shouldn’t I love others that way, too?” Yes. But unconditionally sometimes mean taking a difficult stance in order to truly do the right thing. It also means loving and caring for ourselves.

I’m still reading David Sheff’s Beautiful Boy. I have to take it in small doses. It’s painfully reminiscent of the life I used to live loving an addicted spouse. Although David’s story is from a parent’s perspective, anyone who has lived the hell of waiting for a loved one who has disappeared on a binge to resurface can connect. Here’s what he realizes in chapter 17:

“I have learned to live with tormenting contradictions, such as the knowledge that an addict may not be responsible for his condition and yet he is the only one responsible. I also have accepted that I have a problem for which there is no cure and there may be no resolution. I know that I must draw a line in the sand – what I will take, what I will do, what I can’t take, what I can no longer do – and yet I must also be flexible enough to erase it and draw a new line. And now, with Nic in the hospital, I learn that I love him more, and more compassionately, than ever.”

Later, on p. 228 he writes, “Through Al-Anon…we understand the ways that our lives have become unmanageable, too. Mine has. My well-being has become dependent on Nic’s. When he us using, I’m in turmoil; when he’s not, I’m OK, but the relief is tenuous. The therapist says that parents of kids on drugs often get a form of posttraumatic stress syndrome made worse by the recurring nature of the addiction. For soldiers back from battle, the sniper fire and bombs are in their heads. For parents [or spouses] of an addict, a new barrage can come at any moment We try to guard against it. We pretend that everything is all right. But we live with a time bomb. It is debilitating to be dependent on another’s moods and decisions and actions. I bristle when I hear the word codependent, because it’s such a cliché of self-help books, but I have become codependent with Nic – codependent on his well-being for mine. How can a parent not be codependent on a child’s health or lack of it? But there must be an alternative, because this is no way to live. I have come to learn that my worry about Nic doesn’t help him, and it harms…me.”

I can completely relate. I became codependent with my addicted spouse. I built my life around his binges, his relapses, his lies. My emotions were constantly on a yo-yo as we lived the shame of being a Christian family with a double life. I hid in busyness and work. I smiled when I was crushed on the inside. I felt guilty that our money was supporting the illegal drug trade rather than advancing the kingdom of God. I fell into patterns of sin and hiding in order to cope with his sin and hiding. Ours was far from the abundant life that God longs for His children to live.

When I read the following selection from Touchstones Daily Meditations for Men, Aug. 13 in preparation for our church’s 12 Step group, the part about believing our shame is greater than that of others resonated with me. That’s what I used to believe. I thought ours was the only marriage in church being destroyed by addiction. For a long time I was too ashamed to talk about it, even with close family and friends. Especially with close family and friends. Statistics have proved me wrong. There are nearly as many Christians dealing with an addicted loved one or suffering from addiction themselves as those who are in the world. Here’s the whole quote:

“We cannot hang on to feelings of shame and guilt and still hope to become better people. How did these feelings begin? If we were treated badly by people, we need to be honest about what happened so we can resolve it and move on. Have we perpetuated our feelings by acting disrespectfully ourselves? Then we need to take a thorough inventory of our wrongdoings, admit them, make repairs, and let them go.

We may wallow in shame because facing it feels too frightening. Often, we believe our shame is greater than that of others. This belief is usually untrue and grandiose. It’s part of how we isolate ourselves. We don’t have to face it alone. We have the help of other men and women who can listen to our pain and tell us about their experiences.”

If you are wearing a cloak of shame for any reason, let me encourage you today to throw it off. Speak the truth in love to yourself or your addicted loved one. Set healthy boundaries. Find a healthy supportive group/place where you can be real – I recommend Al-Anon or Celebrate Recovery for starters. You are not alone in your suffering. It really helps to know that. When we hear the stories of others,  they begin to sound so familiar, so similar to our own. We can find solace in the experience of others and be encouraged by their journey to wholeness. Addiction breaks people. God heals the broken. And He does that, accNo Shameording to Dr. Larry Crabb, in community. Not in isolation. Finding a community for our own healing and growth is an important way that we can care for ourselves so that we can care for our loved ones. Within the context of that community, we can learn to draw healthy lines in the sand.