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.160
Thank you Libby, Jeff and Jeremy. I’ve been reading your book this week. You have captured the experience of the family disease of addiction so accurately. I feel that I’ve been looking in a mirror at our experiences, thoughts and struggle for life. My son is 31 and an alcoholic/addict, too. Our stories are very similar. I have felt the despair of failure and shame, too. You’re right, it’s not productive even if it is predictable and understandable. I am so glad you have written about the importance of “staying close.” I’m glad you had professionals guiding you in that direction. “Tough love” can be heartless. It is very difficult to avoid crossing over into enabling, however. This has been the most challenging and exhausting thing I’ve faced in my life. Thanks for sharing your story. I don’t feel as alone. I have Families Anonymous, thankfully, but I think we have a long way to go to find more compassionate ways to deal with this disease.
Thanks – this helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you for your information.
I just finished your book. I couldn’t put it down. Thank you and your sons for letting us into your family with this book. So many times in reading your book I found myself saying wow this is my life. The story is very much the same for our family, some small differences, I have daughters, my middle daughter is 29 and has been an addict for 9 years (not in recovery), she has a 9 year old daughter whom I now have custody of because the state took her away from my daughter due to drugs. My daughter did 6 years ago go to rehab for 9 months, and was clean for almost 3 years, today she is not clean and has not been for almost 3 years.
I have and do go threw all the same as you stated in your book. I have tried everything under the sun tuff love, begging and pleading. I have also tried the stay close…its so hard to do as my daughter is so very abusive mostly verbal when she doesn’t get what she wants from me like money. Her words cut my heart with a dull knife.
My 9 year old grand-daughter loves her mommy so much, her little heart is broken drugs took her mommy away. I carry my pain each day but I also carry a little girls pain as well. Drugs hold us all HOSTAGE!
I would give anything to have my daughter my real daughter back, my grand-daughter would give the world to have her mommy back….not on drugs she is the most wonderful person in the world…best way to put it is when she is clean she is my best friend.
Our family lives with all the same fears and you have/do,
Each and every day I ask God to help her. There is a rehab that will take her for one year, but she says no, a year is to long, bla bla bla. So she is on the streets using, homeless, does have a car, was raped by druggies. Its all so very painful…I am her mom I should be able to make a difference, but I cant, the drugs have her and wont give her up, and taunt me with that. Maybe today just maybe I will hear ENOUGH the time is NOW.
Again that you for your book, with hope, Cindy
sorry typo,,, Again thank you for your book, with hope, Cindy
P.S. I am ever so happy for your family that Jeff made it into recovery… and super happy for Jeff!!!
Your words mean the world to me and I’m so grateful that our book touched you. Your story and our story match in many ways. Addiction suffocates all of us.
Your granddaughter loves her mom and you are trying to hold everything together. I’m so very sorry. I’m not sure if your daughter would consider San Patrignano (they require a three- to five-year commitment), but take a look at their website. When I visited, I saw many young mothers with their children and I wept at the love and new life. San Pan gives mothers and their children a way to find health and healing. They have a specific village just for moms and their babies – so very moving. http://www.sanpatrignano.org/?q=en
My love to you. Let’s keep our children in our prayers.
I wish San Patrignano would be an option, but the Children’s protective service took my grand-daughter away from my daughter, they gave her 18 months to pull it together to get her daughter back, she Failed. So now my Grand-daughter cant live with her. My grand-daughter lives with me now.
I have a small one bedroom cottage behind my house. My daughter has lived there many times.
Yesterday, I received a phone call from my daughter…I took the call (stay close right) she was begging for help not money, but wanted to come home, move back into the cottage, said she will go to meetings, do outpatient rehab, said she wants to get her life right. I keep saying I love you I support you getting clean, you need rehab, she kept saying I need you mom over and over. I gave in…why did I give in? my fear of death for her is why…I also spoke to her sponsor who has set up a plan for my daughter, my daughter has agreed to me doing drug test, as well as all my other terms…I told her this is the last chance if this does not work you have to go to long term rehab. As I cant keep doing this…so hard on me…my head says one thing my heart says another…not sure they will ever come together.
do I think this will work this time…all indications point to NO in my head. My heart says maybe this just maybe this time it will work.
God grant me the strengh please.
God bless you Libby, yes lets hold our child up in prayer.
Libby your book came to me at a time when I so desperately needed it. I thank you for sharing your story and opening up this subject because unfortunately there are soooo many of us out there. I know my husband always asks himself what he could have done better and thinks he should have spent more time with our son when he was young, should have done more sports, etc.. but I agree, we didn’t cause it. There are many kids out there that didn’t do alot of sports and they didn’t turn to drugs. But I think as parents we always question ourselves. I am so happy that Jeff is doing well, that gives me so much hope!! God bless you and your family Libby and thanks for the blog invite!!
Libby, thank you for your inspiration, your book, and this blog. I hope Jeff is still doing so well, it seems like he is. He has his intellect and college degree goingbfor him, and that appears to be the common denominator for success in recovery.
My daughter has a dual diagnosis (bipolar) and has quit university at least five times without graduating. She is now 28, homeless, jobless, and totaled her car while driving drunk last week. The hospitalization in psych unit precipitated her losing her job.
She is hostile and blames us for everything thatbhasngone wrong since her diagnosis and subsequent prescription pill addiction (ADD meds and anti-anxiety). She has hit bottom and alienated everyone.
We believe from what we have seen that San Pan would be good. However, the website link does not work. I nave tried every which way. http://Www.sanpatrignano.org gets an error message everyntime.
Is there another link or phone number we could call to tour the place and see if she is angood fit. Imassume they take addicts from USA? Do they take dual diagnosis people?
I never responded to you, and I’m sorry. Not sure what happened. You are correct that the line between enabling and staying close is hard to find, but everything is hard with addiction. Dr. MacAfee distilled the meaning into this, “Stay close, but out of the way of the chaos.” The recovering alcoholic at San Patrignano said it another way, “Stay close, but don’t give him money.” I started with the second definition and moved to a better understanding of the first.
My love to you and my prayers for you and your family,
Thank you for writing. San Patrignano is an amazing place of healing with a 83% recovery rate after three years. I don’t know if they take people with dual-diagnosis. The website is working for me. The home page in English:
The ‘How to be Admitted’ page: http://www.sanpatrignano.org/node/4200
The contacts page shows:
When calling from the States, you call: 011.39 before the numbers above, e.g. 011.39.0541.362.111
Let me know if this helps? Sending prayers,