A 12 Step Program For The Special Needs Family- Part 2

In the previous blog, I had presented the first 2 of 12 steps that have helped me daily in my journey as a special needs Mom. These 12 Steps are modeled after those  founded in  the Alanon Program, but they can really be applied to a myriad of life challenges. I have learned the importance of having a “toolbox” that can be used when the going gets tough both in the short term and for the long haul. Some days, these steps are all I have left to cling to.  So, let’s continue….

Step 3 

Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand him.

This is a conscious and daily decision for me. It does not come easily! I am used to taking charge and managing all aspects of Brian’s life, aka, being an advocate for my son. I make numerous decisions for him regarding his physical, educational, and social well-being. It is a lifelong venture that is relentless,  sometimes exhilarating , and often exhausting. I am depending upon a lot of people to help me help Brian. It really does take a village  to raise our kids! In the process,  I can get easily overwhelmed and most certainly have over the past 14 years. It does not get easier as our kids get older, as there are always additional challenges and concerns. I have sometimes been literally on my knees asking God for help when it all becomes too much. I believe, but was not really trusting my Higher Power. My faith needs to be strengthened to know that somehow, everything will be OK, even when at the time of crisis, things appear  so hopeless. I often think about Brian’s future when my husband and I are gone and become paralyzed by fear. I try not to do that and just live one day at a time, but it’s not always possible. This is where the conscious decision to trust God and turn my will, and all of my concerns, over to His care comes into play- even when I don’t feel like it or believe, but realize I am at the end of myself… If I do my best, He will provide the rest, whatever I need, not  just for Brian, but for me too, in all areas of my life. These things don’t happen according to my timetable of course, lol, but I have learned and have seen over and over again in my life and in Brian’s, that God is faithful and trustworthy in His provisions of the people and resources that are needed, whether for Brian or  for myself. .It’s good to know that we don’t have to carry our burdens alone- I am really relieved quite frankly!

Step 4

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves 

I find this Step to be quite intimidating because it requires me to be totally honest about my motivations when I do things for Brian. Is it always in his best interest or am I just doing something to make me feel better? It’s an ongoing struggle.. One area in particular that I found difficult to reconcile for the longest time was Brian’s academic abilities. I was never under any grand illusions that Brian would be star student, but I assumed he would at least know his letters, numbers, be able to read and write, etc. I thought he just needed extra time, a better teacher, a new learning approach etc. I pushed very hard in every way imaginable to make this happen for a long time… However, every Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) over the past 11 years has shown only minimal improvement in “academics”overall-ouch-that’s been very painful to read and accept- but only for me- not for my son, and THAT is what really matters! I realize my background as a teacher and a Mother’s heart are the reasons for my disappointment, however, it doesn’t mean that Brian has not learned some of these basics and will continue to- he has! 😊 He has also shown a stronger aptitude towards vocational education and is doing well and is learning! I have learned (and continue to learn) to adjust my expectations and  to focus more on Brian’s strengths, as it should be. The same holds true for community activities, sports, etc. I want Brian to be exposed to various things and to try them, but I look at MY motivation first now  before doing so- is this in Brian’s best interest? Is it worth it? How important is it really?  Will it ultimately make a difference in his life or make him happy? Often we need time and practice to do new things for a while in order to answer these questions and if I pay very close attention to Brian, he will often tell me very clearly  himself what he wants to do! 😊👍🏻

Time for a Blog Break! 👍🏻 Four Steps down and 8 more to go. Thanks for reading up to this point- many blessings on you, until we meet again. 😊

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