This post was inspired by the novel The Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan, about two estranged sisters who are forced to work together to uncover the hidden inheritance by their mother. Join From Left to Write on December 2nd as we discuss The Mill River Redemption and enter to win a copy of the novel. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.
Addiction and forgiveness can be, and often are, tied up in big ugly knots together. No matter which side you are on, whether you are the addict, or you are someone who cares about an addict, you are going to have to face up to forgiveness. You have to ask for it when you don't want to, or when you don't feel like you deserve it. You are going to be asked to forgive when you don't think you want to, or don't think you can.
Sisters have a wholly unique relationship: part best friend and secret keeper, part antagonist, part protector, sometimes even part mother and caretaker.
I have sisters (who are all of those things to me!) who are not addicts, and I have a very dear friend, almost like a sister, who is a recovering addict.
When my friend was sliding downhill toward her rock bottom, I watched helplessly, unable to think of or say the right words to make her stop and think about what she was doing. She told me later that I was really the only person who knew the truth about how bad it had gotten, before she really understood what the problem was, and sought help. She said some ugly things to me while in the grip of her drug of choice, things for which I eventually needed to extend forgiveness. Our friendship was fragile for awhile but it has regained solid footing as she has regained her equilibrium and is walking a healthier path.
My sisters....oh, my sisters. I love them and they drive me crazy. We lost our mother when we were all very young and we've all dealt with it in very different ways. Our lives have all traveled down various roads, parallel and intersecting all over the place. My oldest sister naturally took over the maternal role and in my case, she literally raised me, becoming my legal guardian when I was a teenager. I behaved as only a snotty teenage girl can, behavior for which I then had to beg forgiveness. My middle sister thought that mom's absence was hardest on her and sometimes still pouts about it, taking her loss out on everyone around her. She has a very difficult time with asking for forgiveness and that inability is tying up some knots in my family even today.
But what if your sister is the addict, and you need to forgive, but she hasn't asked and you don't want to? Oh, boy. Those are some industrial sized knots that are going to take time, and possibly divine intervention, to untie.
Forgiveness and reconciliation are not so much actions as they are a journey, with stops and starts, big strides and backward slides. The journey may sometimes look hopeless but ultimately it's worth the trip. They say that forgiveness isn't something you do for another person, it's a gift you give yourself. I wonder if the Di Santi sisters would agree?