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Archive for October, 2013

TWO PARENTS: ONE STORY, PART 5

1396046_10151983467212640_1412872372_nFinal in the series: Gratitude for the Journey of Addiction 

A mom wrote, My son has been sober for almost two years. We are grateful for this victory, but I am also grateful for the difficult journey. I know this sounds crazy, but I would not have the relationship with my son that I have today if we had not traveled that long and challenging road together. It was not easy. At times, I thought I would fade away.

I am beginning to reclaim my life. And so is my son. It is not easy. For me, it means confronting a lot of grief, but I know I must go through this to be whole again.

Our son began his freshman year of college in August. So far so good. He is proclaiming his recovery in a mighty way. I know that the bumps may come, and I struggle with this; however, I am learning to let him live his own life.

A mom wrote, I remember the first time I was able to say honestly in an Al-Anon meeting that I was grateful for my son’s addiction, and I still today believe it with my whole heart. Although at times I am tempted to wish the dreams I had for my son (in this order: college, good job, marriage, children) had happened, I know that I wouldn’t trade the young man he is today for any “normal” 23 year old, who followed the “expected” path.

Today’s Promise to Consider: Thank you to all who share their stories of hope and strength. We join hands to bring addiction out of the darkness and into the light. We’ll keep reaching out to help another. We’ll stay in gratitude.


ONE PARENT: ONE STORY, PART 4

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Her son sent this photo during his morning shift at work

One Mother’s Story:  An Angel in the Making

A treasured friend once said, “Addicts are angels in the making.”  Six years ago I never would have believed that. Today I am watching a miracle unfold.

When my son was a senior in high school, I shrugged off his failing interest in class to senioritis. After all, he had been accepted into a major university honors program for that fall. So why worry?

Then one evening his favorite teacher phoned. My son’s friends were worried he was in the wrong crowd and smoking marijuana.

And so, the spiral began. An “innocent” experiment with marijuana erupted into a full blown addiction to prescription painkillers, heroin and other drugs. Freshman year he failed college and moved home. Working part-time and attending our local community college barely masked his growing sickness. Finally, faced with the choice of inpatient rehab or our turning him out on the streets, (where we got the courage to take that stand I’ll never know) he agreed to inpatient rehab.

Thirteen days into the program he was kicked out for using. Clearly, he wasn’t ready to stop. He agreed to another facility where he learned some coping skills. Next stop: a halfway house in Florida. It took another full year and a fresh, 105-day program before sobriety and recovery took hold.

As we know, addiction is a family disease. Once our son entered his first rehab program, a family therapist asked me, “Your son is getting treatment.  What are you going to do for yourselves?” Al-Anon became our answer. I soon found a group with parents suffering the same anguish. My husband attended with me and we quickly became regulars.

Al Anon saved our lives – just as the 12-step program and his own spiritual awakening saved our son. Today, he’s been clean 21 months – a miracle considering where he was. Each day is cause for celebration. There are mornings I ooze gratitude. Our son is not just “clean.” He’s rebuilding his life. Active in his own home group, attending meetings regularly, he also sponsors others. He works two jobs and this semester is trying school again at a local community college.

But what’s best is having him back in our lives. We talk about addiction. We swap stories about our groups and our shared progress. He offers encouragement – to us!!  And he offers to talk with anyone who is suffering.

Today, I am so grateful. And today is all we have.

Sometimes, when my son works the morning shift at his hotel, he texts me a picture of the sunrise over the ocean. I cry for the beauty he sees and for the man he is becoming. An angel in the making.

Today’s Promise to Consider: This is one mother’s story. We join together to share our experience, strength and hope. We bring addiction out of the darkness and share our truths.

 

 

 


ONE PARENT: ONE STORY, Part 3

keren-su-man-rowing-his-bamboo-boat-in-a-snow-storm-shaoxing-chinaOne mother’s story: The Chaos of Addiction

My sons are sober today and everyday I am grateful, but I remember well where my family was just four years ago. Both my sons were using heroin daily, the older one had just lost his job due to drug use and the younger one was on the verge of losing his. I was literally trying to keep everyone alive and out of jail. I had spent thousands of dollars on inpatient and outpatient treatments, hospitalizations, property damages, lawyers, therapists, “new starts,” apartments and cars.

At that time, our lives were never ending drug chaos. I was working full time and every day one or the other son was out of money, no gas to get to work or had left their uniform somewhere so they couldn’t go to work, not answering their phone which led me to believe they might have overdosed, lying all the time, screaming outbursts and calling me horrible names, pounding their fists on my car, trashing apartments with their drug buddies, getting arrested, pawn shops, creditors and lying some more.  

At one point, my older son went into a local facility to detox, but had someone bring heroin to the facility. The mental health counselor told my son flat out, “I have been treating junkies for many years and you can’t beat this on your own.” Hearing him use that word was horrifying, but it was exactly what both my sons had become. 

Life was one chaotic day after another. Looking back I don’t know how we survived. They both needed long-term treatment. When they were forced to face the consequences of their addiction, that’s what finally happened. I helped them find places to go, negotiate the paperwork and transportation and did whatever it took to get them there. Fortunately, they finally chose to change their lives. And they did. 

Today’s Promise to Consider: This is one mother’s story. We join together to share our experience, strength and hope. We bring addiction out of the darkness and share our truths.


ONE PARENT: ONE STORY, Part 2

1381585_10202140116127387_2060205373_nOne mother’s story:

It’s been a very rough week, but we’ve been down this road before – one too many times. We asked our son to move out. Two days ago he did. His disease is showing signs of progressing and it is damaging to others in this house. He is causing damage to my other son and I cannot stand by and watch this while he continues not to work a program we all feel he needs. We have given him so much support over the past decade and now it is time to say enough. I told him I loved him, but not the behaviors we have become aware of – a direct result of not truly working a program of RECOVERY. At twenty-eight, he needs to stand on his own. He needs to feel “The Gift of Desperation.” When nothing changes, nothing changes. That was the basis for our action. 

I doubt myself at times There are no easy answers with this disease. We need to back off, detach with love, and let him be the captain of whatever kind of ship he wants to sail. I am not adjusting my sails anymore. I have my life vest on and I will not sink.  He can choose his own course from this point.  I am not going to be his GPS or map. 

This disease forces us to make such difficult decisions, but I would be unable to do it without the support of my program of recovery. I always remember the saying not to deny an addict his pain. 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. 

Today’s Promise to Consider: This is one mother’s story. We join together to share our experience, strength and hope. We bring addiction out of the darkness and share our truths.

 

 

 

 

 

 


ONE PARENT: ONE STORY, Part I

DSC02891 3*Part I of a series where, each week, one mother or father will share a personal story about addiction.

Sharing my thoughts: The Big Book of AA talks about sharing our “experience, strength and hope.” And that is what Jeff, Jeremy and I strive to do. Our family made many mistakes, but we believe that through the sharing of our experience, we all benefit. I have talked with enough parents and spouses of alcoholics and addicts to know that we can learn from each other. In our pain, we begin to understand; in our collective stories, we listen to find hope; in our love, we continue to believe.

My reflection: I remain humble in the face of addiction and always try to avoid giving advice. Addiction is confounding and I have only one story to tell – my own. But I also live every day in a space of gratitude that Jeff is good today. He is sober and living a productive life. It is through sharing our personal narratives that we learn.

Today’s Promise to Consider: I’m one mother with one story. I don’t have the answers to solving addiction, but I will tell my story of experience, strength and hope. I will share my truths.


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