Saturday, July 3, 2010

The U-turns In Life

Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns! ~Allison Gappa Bottke

Yesterday, I was drinking some coffee, driving down the freeway heading to a morning job.  I had a lot on my mind, as I often do, and when I was about to take my exit, I realized that I was taking the wrong one.  I had long since passed mine, and was heading to another highway that I often take.  When I realized what I had done, I deliberated finding another way to get where I was going.  The more I tried to figure a good route, the more my brain got foggy.  So I finally decided the best course of action was to simply turn around and go back the way I came until I got to my exit again.  As I was heading back, I started thinking about how this happens to us so much in life.   We get caught up in the daily grind of survival mode. Working, shopping, cleaning, trying to take care of our families, and somewhere along the way we get off track.  I currently have been going through some major changes in my life.  This last year has been a rough one for me and my family.  My son had gone through a major drug addiction, and now is getting help and going through the AA and NA program.  It has been a blessing to see the transformation, that is nothing less than a miracle, but the process that got him to that point was devastating for me.  It has made me have to take a deeper look at myself, and things that I have been avoiding dealing with.  Ultimately, I am at a "crossroad" in my life and I am having to make some big decisions about what I want for myself, not just for now, but where do I want to be 10 years from now.  I have been going to counseling, and have joined a wonderful church in Splendora, Tx.  I am trying to take my time, and really think about the decisions that I make.  It took me 40 years to get to the point in the road I am in now, so I know that it is going to be a slow healing process for me to get to a healthier place than where I am now.  Basically, I am going to have to make a complete U-turn in the road.  I am preparing myself for it, taking it slow, and thinking things through.  It is going to be a painful process, but I know that I can do it.  Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.  Please pray that I will go the right dirrection in my life, and for strength to do so.

So many others have inspired me with sharing their life's struggles...What U-turns have you made in your life?


Bluebonnets said...

You are a beautiful person inside and out. Let God lead the way, and you are sure to choose the right highway! God Bless you!

Carrie Burtt said...

Thank you Bluebonnets,I feel the same way about you. I will follow your advice...:-)

sheri said...

oh, my dearest carrie! i've enjoyed every single minute of reading this blog all the way back to it's beginnings. every word, each idea and feeling was me such a good glimpse into you and the heart from which such beauty flow!
i'm so sorry to hear about your son and the addiction but it blesses me to hear that he's in the program and doing quite well in his venture to experience his life one day at a time. the program requires that you think about your life, not just live it by the seat of your pants ;) i'm anxious to hear more about his progress!
my friend, you are a beautiful lady!! thank you so much for all your encouragement these past few weeks as i've dealt with some personal difficulties. you've always been compassionate and kind, leaving words that give hope and heal.
sending you my (((hugs))) and wanting you to know that you are very much loved!

Carrie Burtt said...

Sheri it means so much to me the time you have spent reading my blog and your sincere concern. i know that you have been going through a rough time as well, and it is nice to be encouraging to one another. I will keep you informed on my son's progress. I hope that you have had a nice weekend. Thank you for your friendship. It is a true blessing. :-)
God bless you.
Hugs to you...:-)

Eileen T O'Neill - Written Words said...

I just loved the idea that God allows us to make U-turns in life. I think that is a wonderful way to explain his care and forgiveness.
It also takes a great deal of courage from you, to relate your personal journey.
Thank you for sharing it and remember there will be lots of people who will keep you in their thoughts.
I am one of them!
Best wishes,

Carrie Burtt said...

Thank you Eileen for thinking of me, and sharing your encouraging words. I appreciate it very much.

Stafford Ray said...

Having fought for many years to 'save' an addicted son, I finally had to admit 'defeat' in that I recognised that he was more comfortable in the drug culture than out. Amazingly, he is still alive, still addicted and living on the streets and we are in constant contact by phone. But despite having two adult daughters and now a grandson, he has never found the motivation to stay 'clean' for long and now he has a social life among the hobos.

The decision to let him go was made against my natural instincts but as he would not succumb to any imposed discipline of rehab, I was advised that he would not change until he was made to be responsible for his own actions. Lately, about thirty five years after starting on heroin, he is making the right noises so we'll see.

So, my heart goes out to you and I hope your strategies work. But remember please, the decision to start was his and his decisions to change. I do mean that in the plural because he will have some false starts. In the end it is his life and it may help to think about those points in your own life when decisions you made set you up for the future, for better or worse and imagine where some of those decisions you did not take could have led!

Whether you believe in divine guidance or not, it helps to get support which I am glad to read you are doing both through your church and through counselling. However, and you are probably doing this, admit to your boy that you are 'lost' in this and look to him to tell you what he thinks he needs to do. It is extremely important that you are careful not to be critical of his thoughts. He has to 'own' his decisions, make mistakes and adjust. If he asks your opinion (all my other children still do this with me) You can carefully offer alternatives but be sure to stress that your suggestions are just that and encourage him to criticise your ideas, continually bringing him back to the point that all decisions are his and you are OK with that, no matter how impractical you might think they are. (His admission of helplessness, as expressed by attending AA and NA is very positive.)

You see I had a second child who started down that track but by then I was ready for 'tough love'. I had learned much more and like your tortoise, I took my time, thought it through and in the end, threw it right back at her. She pulled back immediately and is now my hero, has two degrees and is a senior teacher in high school with her two girls at university, one almost through her second degree.

I apologise that this is so long, but I feel where you are. I laughed out loud when I read you drove right past your exit! That is so me and had its symbolism that applies here. I missed the signs in my son's life in my harried young life of mortgages and establishing a career.

Have a look at the quote on your side bar about the chalkboard. That’s life too.

Good luck, and all us 'babes in the woods' need a bit of that, but my main message is that you must not give him the message that you are in control here because you aren't. He is, and that realisation is your strongest tool in encouraging his own U-turn. I found the most powerful game changer was to shut up and listen.
Ideally, he will start talking and when he does, listening must take precedence over everything, including other responsibilities. You must not be 'too busy'. But if he doesn't start talking for whatever reason (usually a well established family tradition of who takes whatever position in any 'discussion') you will need to start the ball rolling by asking questions in an unloaded way, "What's the plan, Stan?" And listen with mouth closed.

Last word. Never take responsibility for the outcome. You are merely his advisor and supporter. All you can do in the end is to make decisions for yourself and that can come down to how much you can tolerate and where you draw the line to protect yourself and others in your care!

Stafford Ray said...

There is a gap there where I had to edit the epistle down to fit. I am confident you will make the jump! Cheers.

Carrie Burtt said...

Stafford my heart breaks to hear what you have gone through over the years with your son. I have not had to go through that for so long, but I know that what I have gone through has been extremely hard. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me about him, and give me such wonderful advice on what to do. So many people try to give you advice, but they don't really know what it is like. They cannot understand the inner pain that it causes for a parent. No one ever holds a little one in their arms and hopes that they will be a drug addict when they grow up. We always have so many wonderful hopes for our children. That they will have happy and productive lives, and when that does not happen we tend to blame ourselves. I know there are so many things that I could have done differently. I can't go back and change any of that now, but I certainly am going to take all your precious advice and use it as best I can. It really helps to be able to talk with someone who has been through the same thing.
Thank you again. I truly value your oppinion, and will let you know how things are going. Please let me know with your son as well.
HUGS :-)

Stafford Ray said...

Carrie, it is hard and a 'disinterested' ear can be useful, so if you want to discuss anything in 'private' my e-mail address is

Carrie Burtt said...

Thank you Stafford I will e-mail you soon. :-)

Carrie Burtt said...

Gabriela I am so sorry to hear about what you have gone through in your family. Thank you for your encouraging words. They are appreciated very much.

Anonymous said...

Carrie - I visited you after you posted a comment about my Tomato Blog (Magpie Tales)
Its been a tough year for me too - I was married for 28 years and earlier this year I made the decision to leave, when I could no longer cope with his alcohol addiction. I could no longer bear to watch his wanton self-destruction, sadly he died at the end of April of complications bought on by liver failure. My kids and I are still coming to terms with his death, its early days yet. I hope and pray that your son comes through, its a long rocky road I'm afraid.

Carrie Burtt said...

I am so sorry that you had to go through all of that. It seems there are so many that have major struggles to deal with. I wish you and your kids peace in your future. God bless you all. :-)


O, i just loved the starting line of this post... indeed, so true.... you nailed it in here...!!!:)

God Bless!!!:)


Carrie Burtt said...

Thank you Kelvin for taking the time to read it.
God Bess you. :-)

rallentanda said...

I only ever read a few blogs but something made me come over to this one . I am so sorry to hear of your situation. It is good that Stafford can help you with his experience and advice.I found it very helpful that he reinforces the fact that parents can't keep blaming themselves for everything. I have been spared your situation but I do not say that smugly. I think it can happen to anyone. I was feeling sorry for myself this week and now I feel ashamed because some people are doing it a lot tougher. It must be very hard for both you and Stafford and I wish you all the best.