From my journal: Is it possible for a mother not to feel guilt, shame, and intense hurt? Maybe for some, but I’m not there. I doubt if I ever will be. For me, I think I will wear this like a skin. Maybe I’ll forget I have it on sometimes, but it will be forever part of my being – my eyes, my smile, my thoughts – like a breath that catches me short or my heart when it misses a beat. That’s it. My son is my heart murmur. I have allowed his aches and traumas to damage my heart and it is beyond repair.

Reflection: I washed myself in guilt for a long time. I beat myself up with questions: “How did I miss the clues of his drug use?” “Where was I?” Every part of every day, I reminded myself of all the mistakes that happened in his young life.

The intense hurt was real, but I learned that I had to let it go. I needed to give my pain to God. I needed to start to take care of myself so I could take care of my family. The guilt and self-bashing kept me stuck in a place of immobility.

Today’s Promise: I will let go of guilt. It doesn’t help anyone – not me, not my son and not my family. I will quit blaming myself. I will forgive him; I will forgive myself.


From my journal: So how do I feel? Like a failure of a mother. Everyone in the field of drug addiction says, “Don’t blame yourself, You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it; you didn’t make him a drug addict.” But look deeply into a mother’s eyes and tell her that her child is dying and it’s not her fault. Is it possible for a mother to do nothing to stop the pain, to alter its course?  Sure, it makes sense if the child is not your flesh and blood.

Reflection: I felt I had failed my son. He was a drug addict and I couldn’t stop it. Mothers protect their children, right? I wanted to blame the addiction on anyone, even myself, but certainly not my first born.

Today’s Promise: In time, I learned that trying to assign blame didn’t help anyone: not me, not my son, not my family. I learned to have faith in the Al-Anon saying: “You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, but you can contribute to it.” Wherever the addiction came from, I had to acknowledge it, accept it, and move forward in prayer and action. Feeling like a failure did no one any good.

I am not a failure as a mother. Addiction is a part of our lives. It is no one’s fault.