A mom wrote to me: I wrote to you a few years ago about my son’s addiction. As every parent, we barely functioned for almost three years. After his marriage of two years ended, he went to rehab and a halfway house for some time. Today, he has a good job, met a great girl and seems to be doing well. He just announced his engagement and even though things seem better, I worry. I know I should have a positive outlook, but the past haunts me. How do you ever begin to trust and live without fear?
My reflection: I once asked Dr MacAfee this same question, “How do I learn to trust again? The past trauma is hard to forget, and I worry what might happen in the future.” The good doctor answered, “Your feelings are normal. You’ve been vigilant a long time. Be patient with yourself.”
Today’s Promise to consider: Trusting that a recovering loved one will stay well and not return to the chaos of addiction is difficult. Most of us have been deeply scarred by years of turbulence. Today, I’ll be gentle with myself. I’ll breathe, acknowledge my fear, and move toward releasing my worry. In doing so, I learn to live in the present. My loved one deserves this effort. So do I.4638
Thank you, I needed this today, my son seems to be doing well. I just need to be positive
Praying for you and him. Yes, keep the light of hope around you both.
Dear Laurie, I understand. I join you in trying to stay positive and grateful for every good day. xoxo
Libby, how do you move toward releasing your worry? Is it a matter of releasing it purposely as it arises and have you found a way that resonates with you if that is what you do? Much gratitude to you ~
I have found that when I find myself worrying, I actively make myself do the following: 1) acknowledge that worry is a useless expenditure of precious energy, 2) it is my loved one’s job to worry about their life, 3) I actively say a prayer for my loved one, and 4) I refocus my attention on me. I am a big and excellent worrier, but this process is working for mento change that.
Cindy has offered some great ideas (Thank you, Cindy). For me, it took time. Little by little, through prayer and stopping my ‘monkey mind,’ the fear lessened. I also talked about it at Al-Anon meetings and with other parents who understood. Somehow, getting the words out of my heart and into the air helped to clear things for me. The Buddhist thought of accepting the fear, acknowledging its presence, and not fighting it helped me, too. The Buddhist practitioner Tara Brach has several talks on fear that I found really helpful. https://www.tarabrach.com/talks-audio-video/ As Dr MacAfee told me, “Be patient with yourself. You’ve been vigilant a long time.” His words gave me the greatest comfort. My love to you. L
For those of us with a loved one now in recovery after years of active addiction, today’s Meditation is so very true. One day at a time to learn to trust the recovery, the person in recovery, and our own recovery. Thank you.
Dear Cindy, You’re SO right — it’s one day at a time for our recovering loved ones and for us. It took me a long time to trust again, but your second idea that you offered to Pamela helped me. I had to accept that my son had to live his life and I had to get out of the way. My sincere thanks to you for your help and wisdom. xo
When I was younger, I had an older woman friend whose alcoholic husband cheated on her, said it was a mistake and professed his endless love for her and yes, he was a good man and did love her, He would work on sobriety and she took him back. I asked her once how she could ever ever forgive and trust him. She looked at me and smiled. “How could I not? Trust is a choice I make every day. For myself. Not for him. I love him. He loves me. But I will not live a life of torture .And I give it over to God. ( she had deep faith.) I trust myself. I know I can handle whatever happens. And.. I still work on forgiveness.” He never drank again. He never strayed. The child his mistress had became part of their family every Sunday and is now grown. My friend loves her. I know. I know. Amazing story. I cold never .. and no it does not always end like that . But at the time, I never knew how that wisdom would come to help me with my son. “I do not want to live tortured.” it was so powerful.I did not want to either but it one felt like that. Self -care. But even more, that the idea of trusting someone was a conscious choice for oneself — and no,nothing was guaranteed, was something I found to be profoundly true .That she trusted herself to handle what might come! Well, that took effort for me but I worked on that too,and am glad I did. It takes courage and great love. And faith. It means choosing over and over to stay close, no matter what— as you have taught us, Libby. Trust. It is so hard and the erosion of trust in our relationships with addicted ones is heart breaking,-for ALL — but the TRYING is so very necessary for healing. How to be Fragile and vulnerable and brave and loving and honest and patient. Whew. No time left over to worry. (: Prayers for all in pain and worry right now and for all trying to find way back to family, building new bridges of hope, Love.
Precious Joy, Your story about the older woman, who through grace and faith was able to trust and love, moved me. What an extraordinary woman. Your words are so very wise, “I don’t want to live a tortured life.” What this says to me is that we all have a choice of how to live every day. We can CHOOSE to be happy, to trust, or to bemoan our lives. Yes, it takes effort to retrain the brain and to live in the solution. I think of our suffering children. If it’s this hard for me to change my behavior and my thinking, how difficult it must have been for Jeff to change. Wow — this brings tears to my eyes. As you write – the TRYING is so very necessary for healing. My love to you for sharing. Your words hit me hard, and I’m grateful.
Very good advice Libby. My son has been clean for seven years now and my trust still has not fully returned.
Dear Pat, It takes so much time. I join you in the journey.