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Archive for September, 2010

HIGHER POWER

This is part of a journal entry that I wrote four years ago: My mind wanders continually to my addicted son – I’m so connected to him. I think I’ve trained my heart to think of him constantly because he’s had so many problems. My soul is tormented with worries about him and even in my quiet times, my mind settles on him. I need to feel some peace knowing that I have done all I can do. I wish and I pray that he becomes well.

My personal reflection on the passage above, offering my thoughts today: My life was suffocated with worry for my son. Every minute of every day was choked with thoughts of him: what he was doing, where he was or where he might be. I had to stop worrying. I was distracted, my work was becoming impossible and sleep was racked with bad dreams and demons. Because of despair and feelings of shame, I isolated myself and kept it a secret, which didn’t help my family or me. I wanted to control my heart, but it was impossible. Prayer gave me the serenity that I needed. With prayer, I didn’t feel so alone.

Today’s promise to consider, for all of us who love addicts: I will stop the constant worry. I will pray and find my peace. With God, all things are possible.


PROTECTING MYSELF/BOUNDARIES

This is part of a journal entry that I wrote four years ago: My son wants to come home for the summer and he says he’s clean. What do I do? The mom part says, “Be there for him. Trust him. Believe him. Open the door and allow him to come home.” The other part, the logical part, says, “He’s lying and he’ll just come home and get high. He’ll have too much time on his hands and trouble with follow. It always has.” Two extremes! What do I do?

My personal reflection on the passage above, offering my thoughts today: Addiction often threw me into extremes, and I swung between yes and no, give and take, punishments and gifts. These extremes didn’t help my son because my mixed messages led to added confusion and lack of boundaries. He needed boundaries that he could count on to keep him safe. As things spiraled out of control, my behavior became increasingly chaotic. I felt exhausted and I felt desperate. In turn I flipped between acting with kindness and dolling out punishments. I needed to protect myself and work toward stability.

Today’s promise to consider, for all of us who love addicts: I am not a puppet for addiction’s sake. I will seek help from experts and from those in Al-Anon. I need boundaries to keep myself safe – for my son, my family and myself.


CHOICES/DECISION MAKING

A mother wrote an email message to me. This is part of it: My son is an alcoholic. Today he is eight days sober. The guilt, the shame, the regrets, the questions won’t leave, but for today my chest doesn’t hurt. I listen to his words, the way he says them, and I also listen for the words that don’t get voiced. As a teacher, I feel like fraud. How can I help others or work with parents, when I can’t help my own son. My grandfather drank, my dad drank, my sister drank. I hope and pray and cry and bargain with God to help my son stay strong, but I know that the choice is his and he may choose death not sobriety.

My personal reflection on the passage above, offering my thoughts and considering my family’s struggle and pain: I wanted to know where addiction came from: was it a disease, was it moral failure? After a lot of reading, I’ve concluded that it is a disease. Just like my cancer was a disease, so is addiction. How do we fight the disease of addiction? By stopping the flow of drugs and working toward recovery. But just as I had to choose to fight my cancer, my son had to choose to fight his addiction.

Today’s promise to consider, for all of us who love addicts: I will stay close, but he must wage the war. Dear Lord, give my son the desire to fight for his own life. Help me to know how to help him and how not to enable the addiction.


BREAKING THE SILENCE

A recovering alcoholic writes: The illness of alcoholism thrives in the dark and isolating world of silence. Let the light in and the glimmer of hope be seen. We say in AA that ‘we are as sick as our secrets.” We are lucky to be able to talk freely to our fellow members and this helps us manage to keep the darkness at bay. I’ve found hope and inspiration in other literature like ‘The Road Less Travelled’ and ‘A New Pair of Glasses.’ In my opinion whatever works is a good thing!

Reflection: We have so much to learn about addiction and recovery from addicts, professionals and those who love the addict. Only by taking off the blinders and talking about addiction will we be able to fight it, in the open and in the light. When I was young, we didn’t talk about abortion or homosexuality or even breast cancer. Today we talk about these things and the conversations bring us closer to truth.

Today’s Promise: I will learn about addiction. I will go to Al-Anon meetings and I will talk with professionals. I will not allow the addiction to grow stronger in my silence.

“Only by bringing addiction out of the shadows and into the light can we hope to defeat it.” Dr. Patrick MacAfee

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