We on the other hand have chosen gratitude – thankfulness for all that we experienced. And we have pondered some of the experiences in our mother’s life that could be viewed as contributing factors to her lack of gratitude and her constant run from recovery.
If you were to do her inventory (a practice frowned upon by those in twelve step programs) you would find several major life-changing events that would be challenging:
- Her mother’s death when she was a child
- Her dad’s unwillingness to parent
- Mary’s being in charge of two younger siblings
- Having a baby born out of wedlock that she put up for adoption
- Problems with depression, exacerbated by alcohol and medication.
Mary found rejection a way of life and instead of stopping it, she continued the pattern.
We understand that in twelve step programs of recovery, the practice of taking another person’s inventory is rightly discouraged. However, we have taken our own inventories first and acknowledged the issues and faults within ourselves. Now, in looking back and considering the past, we look at the factors and circumstances that resulted in Mary’s behaviors and attitudes.
We now try to remain thankful and have gratitude for all of life, including the wonderful father we had and also including the mother we had. This attitude of gratitude serves us well and helps us cope with the past while being neither victims nor unrealistic Pollyannas.
Praise the Lord for our Dad who also had difficult challenges as a young boy, but did not allow them to define who he was. He taught us that same lesson. He would say, “Things aren’t that bad.” And encourage us to put it behind us and take responsibility for ourselves.
We never wallowed in self-pity but chose instead to make the best of it. This does not mean we were never hurt or upset by some of the craziness. But we never used it as an excuse to give up.
Abby and I choose to laugh at many of the experiences and understand that there is a time limit on using your past for your inability to do the right thing today. You see, we also bless Mary everyday for bringing us the best Dad ever. Without him who knows? We might be sipping whiskey-spiked sweet tea, putting on bogus southern accents, and smoking Pall Mall cigarettes by the carton!