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Archive for December, 2010

A PROMISE FOR 2011

My mom with Jeremy and Jeff

A mother wrote an email message to me. This is part of it: My son was addicted from age twelve to seventeen, and he is good today. He used LSD and marijuana laced with PCP and was in many rehabs. I started Al-Anon and stayed for eleven years. As the twelve steps teach us, in order to keep what we have, we need to give it away. I stayed in the program because I felt an obligation to give others hope when they were seemingly hopeless. The program and its principles never cease to help me through something at least once a day.

My personal reflection of the passage above offering my thoughts today: Al-Anon was a lifeline for me as it is for many of us. There aren’t many resources available for parents, but Al-Anon offers us a safe and anonymous environment where we know that we’re not alone and where we can learn from each other’s pain. The twelve steps are a model for good living and help us to face the addiction and find our spiritual awakening. The twelfth step teaches us about service, reaching out a hand to help another.

Today’s Promise to consider for all of us who love addicts: I will reach out my hand to another mother, father or loved one. Even though I’m in great pain, I will be there for someone. I will give what I’ve learned and try to help them, and in doing so help myself. As I start 2011, I promise to give back and help someone else.


CHRISTMAS 2005

This is part of a journal entry that I wrote five years ago on Christmas, 2005. Merry Christmas, Lib. Childless: neither son is home. This is the first Christmas that we have not all been together. Jeff is in California in another recovery institution. Jer is in Florida and said he had to work, but I think he just didn’t want to come home to this mess.

How often can a heart break? Even after I say I won’t hope and I won’t care, hope and care seep into my bones and I think that maybe he’ll make it this time.

What is the Lord trying to teach me? Am I to let go? Realize I have no control? What is happening in my life? Dear Lord, I am sad and beaten down.

My personal reflection on the passage above, offering my thoughts today: Jeff was exactly where he needed to be: in recovery. Jeremy didn’t want to come home and I can understand. I wish I had been able to trust that my sons were making the best decisions for themselves. Even though I was miserable and broken, they were doing what they needed to do to survive.

Christmas of 2005 taught me that I had to let go and trust; it taught me that I could not control Jeff’s or Jeremy’s actions. Christmas 2005 proved to be a turning point in our lives. Christmas 2006 brought both boys home, healthy and happy to be together.

Today’s promise to consider, for all of us who love addicts: Today I’ll trust that we are all exactly where we are meant to be. I don’t need to understand why.


NOT ALONE

My son wrote this to me about his first rehab center (he was nineteen years old): I was shocked that there were no secrets – no feelings that were uniquely mine. I still owned the details, but there was a community of other people across all ages that used drugs as I did and faced issues similar to mine. On some level, everyone was dealing with the same type of broken relationships, legal issues and personal shame. I remember being comforted by the commonalities, thinking that treatment would fix the addiction.

My personal reflection on the passage above offering my thoughts today: There are many commonalities among addictions and this is one reason why Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon work. Within the group, we see ourselves and hear our pain expressed by others. We learn that we’re not alone. My son found comfort in this, and so did I. In our trauma, we find ourselves in others. In our stories, we learn. I resisted attending Al-Anon meetings for several years, but it became my lifeline. It didn’t fix the addiction, but it helped me to fix myself.

Today’s Promise to consider for all of us who love addicts: I will acknowledge the addiction and allow myself to get help from others. I must give myself the gift of learning from other’s pain. I am not alone.


RECOVERY AND HOPE

A mother wrote an email message to me. This is part of it: My husband and I called the police and had our son arrested because he was talking about suicide while in a drug-induced state. I think the hospital was a real eye-opener for him and I’d like to think that he was even relieved that we stepped in. Now he has to see someone for his problems whether he likes it or not. I hope he will continue with the process. Sometimes all you really have is hope. It is the one thing that I cling to dearly and refuse ever to give up.

My personal reflection on the passage above, offering my thoughts today: We try to help our children by forcing them into rehab, offering and paying for a recovery facility, calling the police or throwing them out of the house. But like a boxer in the ring, addiction comes out of the corner, gloves raised as it glares at us with mockery. We throw up our fists and we want to fight, but addiction fights dirty. It takes our children.

Jeff once told some young people in recovery, “Some of you will get it and stop, some of you will have to get as sick as I was and then you’ll stop, but some of you will never get it and you’ll die. And that’s just the fact of the matter. You have to choose. No one can do it for you.”

Today’s Promise to consider for all of us who love addicts: I know that I can’t fight this fight for him; he has to do it for himself. I’ll love him and encourage him to get help. I’ll pray that he puts on his own boxing gloves and fights.


FAMILY

This is part of a journal entry that I wrote four years ago: My heart aches for my second son. I wish I could have been stronger for him so that he could have shared with me his pain and confusion during the years of Jeff’s active addiction. Instead, I badgered Jeremy with questions about Jeff’s actions and drug use – so wrong. Jeremy needs to be able to trust that I am here for him.

My personal reflection on the passage above, offering my thoughts today: While I was stuck in the place of worry for my addicted son, I somehow lost the power to focus my energy on my younger son. My love for him never wavered and my heart was always with him. The problem was that my energy was sucked down with worry and concern. I felt exhausted and splintered into pieces. Jeremy needed support through the trauma.

Today’s promise to consider, for all of us who love addicts: I will be present for my non-addicted child. He deserves my best. I will listen to him today: I will listen to his concerns, hopes and joys. I will let him know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how important he is to me and how much he is loved.


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