Friday, August 12, 2011

Choose your poison

Forgiveness is a recurring theme…I guess that’s consistent with the famous instructions by Jesus to Peter to forgive his brother “not seven times but seventy-seven times.”

Earlier this week one of our patients completed the Freedom Plan; he has faithfully returned every 8 weeks for a naltrexone pellet for a year.

His life is going pretty well. The money he isn’t spending on drugs anymore is now being spent on some pretty (loud sounding to me) high tech music equipment and (loud sounding) water toys. He is spending high quality time with his beloved 5 year old son (who, in my opinion, will probably some day need hearing aids).

As we were wrapping up the procedure, he let me know some things that had gone on with him. Some pretty tough things to deal with involving his wife’s sleeping with his friend and another family member in order to get narcotics. All this happened while my patient was away at a treatment center.

He and his wife split up a couple years ago, and in many ways he has moved on. But it was clear this was still a major wound that hadn’t been dealt with.

Even though anyone with half a brain and a quarter of a heart knows that no one thinks: Boy, I hope I can grow up one day, be a drug addict and sleep with my husband’s friends so I can get high” it’s still a lot to swallow when it’s happening to you.

We talked about the idea that forgiveness is so much more a gift we give ourselves than anything it can possibly do for the other person. It frees up an awful lot of emotional space to release thosE resentments. As I’ve heard many people say: Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

I’d like to believe that the space he’s clearing out by choosing forgiveness is creating all kinds of room for more high quality (maybe loud, maybe quiet) relationships in his new life.

Joan R. Shepherd, NP

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