Dancing with Dementia – Episode 161

AcceptanceHow is living with alcoholism like living with dementia? Can I use what I have learned in one, with the other?

The sermon was titled “Dancing with Dementia”. “What perfect timing!” I thought, as I was sitting down. This week I will be visiting my parents, who may or not have diagnosed dementia, but who are definitely becoming less engaged in life, and it hurts.

My brother, my sister, and I have decided to try to have “the talk” with them about aging, about whether they need help in daily living, and about whether they might consider starting to think about moving into an assisted living situation. It won’t be easy.

I also reflected on how my feelings and reactions in this situation parallel my feelings and reactions to active alcoholism, when that was happening in my life. Which brings me to the question, how can I use these tools in this new situation?

The keys seem to be these:

  • Dementia is a disease, just as alcoholism is a disease.
  • I can meet them where they are.
  • I can live in the moment.
  • I can find compassion for my loved ones.
  • I can recognize and feel my grief, and have compassion for myself.

An upcoming topic is the “gift of Al-Anon” that says “Courage and fellowship will replace fear. We will be able to risk failure to develop new hidden talents.” How do you see this coming true in your recovery? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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life is – a meditation

 

life is a garden,
not a road

we enter and exit
through the same gate

wandering,
where we go matters less
than what we notice

Bokonon — Life Is…

A friend posted this to Facebook recently. I have heard many times that “life is about the journey, not the destination”. Which says to me that if I focus on where I think I am going, I often miss the beauty and the wonders along the way. And my life experience is that the destination I think I am working towards is often not where I end up, nor is it where I really want to be.

This little poem takes that idea a step further, by saying that there is not really a destination at all. I remember visiting Monet’s garden at Giverny, where he painted many of his later masterpieces. I wanted to revisit the scene of this painting and that painting. I wanted a photograph of the weeping willows over the pond, and one of the arched bridge behind the water lilies. But if I had gone, head down, to just those scenes, I would have missed so much beauty and left poorer rather than richer. Monet spent years in that same garden and did not exhaust its riches. I spent an afternoon, and while I enjoyed seeing the “famous” scenes, the garden was full of beauty, large and small, for me to notice as I wandered.

And so it can be with the garden of my life. My program helps me to notice the things that are in my life today. The practices of daily inventory, prayer, and meditation slow me down in my headlong dash into the future, and enable me to look at what I have, at what is around me, right here, right now.

A meditation for October 14, 2013.

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