This is a rock my husband carries with him. It was given to him in rehab by a man who is 30 years clean. This man also has a rock that was given to him in early recovery by another recovering addict. He has kept the rock with with him through his 30 years of recovery. The rock is a thing. It is not worth much money. It is not about the rock itself you see, it’s the meaning of the rock. Meaning found in a gesture of giving from one recovering addict to another. Meaning born from a connection with a recovery community and support of peers. Rooted in tradition. In this way the rock becomes a symbol of humanity. It’s price tag undoubtedly low in terms of dollars.
I have often felt overwhelmed by the marketing and culture of consumerism that comes with Christmas. The crowds and the shopping, the advertising that inudates us, telling us the things we buy and receive can be equated with love and happiness. I have described this in the past as a robbery. Things leave something to be desired. It is our loved ones that leave our hearts feeling full. It is the meaning they give us, the meaning we find in a shared life’s journey.
I was recently describing my husband’s addiction to a friend as a robbery. His spending on drugs have placed a burden on our financial stability and left our bank accounts depleted. His drug use left me with an apparition, a ghost of a husband, emptying my heart, leaving in it’s place a deep void, a vacant soul, disconnection.
All I wanted for Christmas last year was my husband back. I remember thinking that listening to Mariah Carey’s song, “all I want for Christmas is you”. We don’t have much to spend for Christmas this year. Now the medical bills are arriving and the financial strain is stressful. But this is not a robbery. I have received the most beautiful Christmas gift this year, my husband’s sobriety. His life. I told him I was going to wrap him up and put him under the tree. During this season of giving, the most valuable gifts are not of the material world. I am gratefully receiving a gift of life and connection. It is endless, infinite, giving. It is life’s meaning. You can’t put a price on that.
I used to say to myself, “I will get through this”. More and more now I find myself saying “we will get through this”.
And I believe WE will.
I have received a priceless gift this Christmas. We must not hold onto what receive without giving something back in return. I hope to send my blessings into the universe moving into 2017. Happy Holidays everyone. Peace to you and your families.