No matter how many times she expresses how deeply God has cleansed her heart, how she’s reached an epiphany, how much she feels changed, or how walking away from the bottle has come easy, I encourage her. What I think or believe in the matter of another person’s transformation is none of their concern, nor should I make it visible as a place of doubt.
I said it before and I’ll say it again – alcoholism isn’t a thing to take personally, nor is it something anyone can walk away from without supportive reinforcement, in whatever manner support might look like to them. Love doesn’t start with the bottle, so it shouldn’t end there either. Don’t become an enabler, don’t become a doormat, but also, don’t close your heart to a battle you feel to be someone else’s, cause by nature it’s yours too.
Whenever someone we love is in battle, both are at war.
Out of the blue my son asked, “Hey mom, if you could fight in any war in history, which one would you choose?”
“Vietnam,” I answered without hesitation.
He looked at me like I was crazy and asked why, but instead of answering I asked why he asked.
“Wouldn’t you want to pick a war with the least casualties?” he replied.
“Most war casualties don’t happen on the battle field, or at the time when folks think war is active,” I answered.
“Oh my god Mom! Can’t you just answer one question with a simple yes or no? Why are you making it philosophical? Geez, now we’re always at war…” he started mumbling as he walked outside ending the discussion.
I smiled sadly, because the battles in our homes are where pow’s live without the ability to declare victory. The greatest camouflage of pain I’ve ever witnessed is the man who believes to be fighting alone while carrying the weight of other battles on his shoulders. I picked Vietnam because it was the most truthful. Those boys came home disillusioned, traumatized, misunderstood, poisoned, and treated like lepers. They lived and died before before eyes that didn’t blink in the stoic indignation of self-righteousness. The only thing that can end a war for a man like that is love that’s unafraid of chaining itself to whatever limbs he hasn’t sacrificed, and fighting with him to the death, that the remainder of his life be worth living.