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Holly,

Your words made a beeline straight to my heart this morning. I could actually say they made my heart ache, but not that I would change reading a single word. One doesn't need to have a child in rehab to be able to relate to your feelings/thoughts/misgivings/doubts about parenting. My children are 31 and 33 and I can still obsess about their hurdles. Becoming a parent is likely one of the most vulnerable things we can do in life, also one of the most rewarding. I'm happy that you are sharing your journey for others; but what I love most is that you are creating this supportive space for you and your son. That he is willing to share his journey says a great deal about him, and you. Keep up the great work! 💕

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"Becoming a parent is likely one of the most vulnerable things we can do in life, also one of the most rewarding." You are absolutely right, Sue, and I know I'll have these thoughts/doubts for years and years to come. It's all part of the experience.

I don't take for granted the gift I have been given each time Jonah and I have a deep conversation now about his recovery journey. Each time I see him, he takes my phone (he still has no phone or internet privileges) and reads anything I've written that mentions him. He loves it. He loves that his story can help others, and I'd like to think he got something besides breaking rules from me. :)

Thanks for sharing. This is exactly why I write. So we all feel a little less alone in this thing called life.

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Likely why most of us write, to connect with others. Trust me, Holly, reading just this one post tells me that the least important thing your son learned from you was breaking the rules. Well, actually, let me rephrase that. Maybe the most important thing he learned was about breaking the rules. It's that strength he will use as he finishes this phase, and moves on to what he's really here to do. That face in those pictures says it all. 💕

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This is fantastic and so moving. Repentance without regret is an amazing concept--and so critical because coming to terms with past and then sharing it with others is maybe the thing that will help another addict or alcoholic to find their way out. Your son is lucky to have a rule-breaking, bad-ass Mom!

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Thanks, Randall! Sharing the story is key. Some people can't understand how I write from such a vulnerable place, but the deep is where the connection forms.

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Life teaches us wisdom and gives us perspective, which you've captured here.

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Thanks, Michael. You know how the writing process goes...there are those hours when you feel like you've written a bunch of gibberish that surely no one will relate to. And then someone (you) perfectly summarizes what you hoped to convey.

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Thank you for sharing this very personal account with us, Holly, i was really moved.

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I'm so glad it resonated with you, Jo. Thanks for reading.

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A lot to think about in this piece. I think it will take me a few days to completely digest everything - especially some of the emotions it brought up in me. I don't have any children, so I can't relate to this piece from a mother's perspective. But I am (or was) a child not so dissimilar to your son Jonah. My addictions were perhaps different...my self-absorbed actions earlier in life were also perhaps a bit different. But both were destructive in their own way...and I never really looked at from my mother's perspective. I know I was difficult. I know I caused my parents a lot of distress...I just never thought about all the emotions and thoughts that perhaps went through their mind. So thanks for revealing a parent's perspective...

Regret is a strange emotion. I know I have always said, "the one thing I don't want to feel at the end of my life is regret." As I grow older, I am realizing regret is something I will never be able to avoid. Have I learned from my past regressions? Absolutely...so perhaps the fear of regret led to some sort of learning, growth, recognition... Now I think, regret - like death - is inevitable. The question for me is...how will I react when regret flows into my life?

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Oh, Jack--here's what you should know. I am Jonah's mom, but I was Jonah, too. I think when we recognize our mistakes and grow from them, we can release the sorrow and guilt. When my kids began to hit the teenage years, I pulled out some old diaries from my own adolescence. And then promptly wrote my parents a letter of apology. I remember one line said: "I don't know how you even stood me because I can't stand myself reading those diaries."

I've tried to recognize in myself bad choices, attitudes, and behavior; acknowledge their destructiveness; and do better moving forward. And in seeing those things in myself, I am better able to forgive someone else who struggles with the plight (or perhaps blessing) of humanity--imperfection.

Also, one thing I can tell you about being a parent is this: no matter how much distress our children cause us, we are able to love and forgive and rejoice when we see our kids come out of the painful seasons.

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Definitely feel that parental struggle wondering if I could have done/not done something differently to change the outcome. ♥️

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Sep 4, 2022Liked by Holly Rabalais

I love that your son gave you permission to write about him. That tells me a LOT.

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Holly, your posts are so thoughtful, so human, so real. I really enjoy your writing. Jonah is, and you are - and you AND Jonah are - on a journey, on journeyS, and it's wonderful to read your thoughts on how you both got to where you are. You're doing a marvellous job. And goodness me, so is he.

I love what you said here: "I wouldn’t pick another page in this choose-your-own-adventure experience because those mistakes are part of my essence now. And I rather like who I’ve become."

Everything we've ever been through, any of us, is what makes us the people we are today. And the things we haven't gone through, too, they're important in the way that the lack of them may shape us.

For instance, I'm not a mother. That's okay. I love mothers. Mothers are AWESOME. I have a wonderful, wonderful one. I've just had a long chat on the phone with her just now, actually. And if I'd had any choice in the parents I had I would still have chosen THEM. xxx

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Thanks, Rebecca, for such kind words. I’m glad this small piece of my world struck a chord for you. And I’m so happy you have awesome parents that you’d choose above all others!

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You might be a "rule breaker," but your son is lucky to have you as he works through his recovery. It sounds like he is well on his way, and I'm cheering for him from up here.

P.S. IMO, knowing when to lift the proverbial yellow tape and when to stay on the right side is a critical life skill.

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Thanks, Kevin. I've always felt like there is a time to be a rule breaker, and I've actually taught my kids that. I was the child who was afraid to color outside the lines. So glad I grew out of that!

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I can't imagine what it's been like for both of you. He's lucky to have you in his life and I hope he knows this, Holly.

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Thank you, Mark. I feel pretty lucky to have been given the opportunity to walk through life with some really great "kids." They grow me.

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