A mom wrote to me: When I hit MY bottom, began to put the focus on ME, and trust my Higher Power, I was finally able to release myself from fear and find true understanding and compassion for my son and myself. When I let go of trying to change and control him, when I granted him the dignity to face his disease on his own terms, it was then – slowly – the miracles began to unfold. Today he has a good job and the fog seems to be lifting, but I have absolutely no sense of what his lifestyle choices are or what tomorrow might bring. His recovery is his own. I cannot live my life based on him, how he looks, how he “seems.” We try to love him as is, right where he is.
My reflection: When I finally surrendered to my son’s addiction, when I finally let go of trying to fix the consequences of his chaos, and when I finally took my hands off the steering wheel of his life, Jeff made the decision to change.
Today’s Promise to consider: There is room for only one person in each addiction – and I am not that person. Today, I’ll concentrate on my own recovery. I’ll start this New Year by trusting my Higher Power, attending Al-Anon or family group meetings, renewing my commitment to working with a sponsor, and prioritizing my physical health. I’ll trust that a miracle will happen if I stay close, but get out of the way.4290
Very good devotion, and I can relate to every word! Encouraging for those moms in the grip of active addiction. Miracles do happen when we stop interfering!
Dearest Kim, Yes, miracles happen. I’ll stay close in love and prayer. xo
Grateful for the comments and hopeful that miracles may yet make their appearance in my family – for a son q addiction and mental health issues . However, I lose faith and become fearful when thinking of my dear friend who lost her son to a fatal overdose. So, how do i view letting go and miracles with the very real possibility of death hanging in the air?
Letting go and letting God, must have no strings attached, that is, any expectations of outcomes. Death is a very real outcome in our stories. I remember in the early days of our son’s descent into addiction a friend confronting me with the very real notion of such a result. Yes, it is terrifying, and I lived in fear and worry for many years, often reacting in unhealthy ways, trying to fix and control.
When I realized nothing I did made his situation any different and in fact often made things worse, I hit my bottom. I had to save myself. This did not mean I turned my back on my son. I talked to him often but I stopped trying to asses if he was sober, or using. And with time, he has gotten his life back on track. We have helped him a bit financially, but less so these days.
It did sometimes feel like helplessness and hopelessness. But I am powerless over another human being, no matter what the situation! The Serenity Prayer reminds my of this. I can only change myself.
Dearest Mindy, There is so much wisdom in your message. Thank you for writing.
You’re right that death is a very real outcome, and that possibility kept me enabling my son for fourteen years. When I realized that I was powerless to change or ‘fix’ the addiction or my son — when I hit my bottom – I changed. When I learned to stay close, but out of the chaos of his addiction, my son changed. We don’t turn our backs on our children, but we do quit trying to control them.
Thanks for writing. I join you in the Serenity Prayer, hope, and faith. My love to you.
Dear June, You’re right. Death is a frightening, excruciating possibility – but it is a possibility. We each need to make decisions that we can carry. Do what you think is best for your family and your son. Mental health issues make is all the more complicated.
For the mother who wrote to me, she had to let go. So did I, but it took me fourteen years to make that choice. I thank God everyday that my son is alive. It could have gone the other way.
Al-Anon meetings were a saving grace for me. Other family groups are great helps. Pray. Talk with an addiction counselor or other recovering addicts. This is your walk with your son, and only you know best.
My love to you. I’ll stay close in prayer.
This is so true altho i have not perfected all of it. I still have a tendency to think my way is the right way
Dear Judy, Staying close, but out of the chaos of my son’s addiction worked for us. We need to educate ourselves and decide what’s best for our children. It took me fourteen years to learn how to walk the boundary of loving, but not rescuing. There is nothing easy with addiction. My love to you.
After twelve years of enabling our addicted son I sat my wife down at our dinning room table and told her we could no longer be involved in our son’s addiction. She looked at me with a look of shock and disbelief. I told her that if our son were to die due to addiction we would have to hold ourselves accountable for our involvement. If he does die we do not want to be at his funeral and live with the pain of believing we played a part in his death due to our enabling, do we? No response from my wife but her face was turning red and I could see the tears swelling up in her eyes. We have done all we can do and now is the time to focus on what our counselor has advised and to seek a parent support group so we can become a part of his recovery in an appropriate manner. My wife is crying now and I remain quite. She reaches across the table and touches my hand then looks up and shakes her head approvingly. This was the beginning of our own recovery and as difficult as it was we remained close to our son emotionally while maintaining appropriate boundaries. It would be another nine years but he would eventually accept long term recovery. He has been clean for six years and is an electrician now. We are so blessed to have a loving and strong relationship. I give Libby credit for helping my family through her Blog and book, “Stay Close.” Miracles do happen, never give up.
Dearest Pat, Your story hits home for me and holds so much truth. Boundaries are extremely difficult to maintain when our children are suffering, but as you explain, we need to work on our own recovery just as our loved ones have to work on theirs.
Yes, remaining close while maintaining boundaries made the difference for my son, too.
You and I have walked together for many years, and we’ve learned from each other.
Thanks for staying close to me, for helping with these questions, and for offering your wisdom and heart to all of us. You make a difference, and I’m grateful.
My son is 15. He has been introduced to marijuana. I dont believe at this age I can’t let go and allow him to do what he wants. I dont know if he has an addiction. I do know I dont want any of this for him. How do I stop this now??? I pray and pray, pray for strength, pray for guidance, pray to just get through until tomorrow. Maybe I’m just overreacting but I see how drugs ruin people. Can I stop this now?
It is suggested for adolescents to intervene early and often. You might want to first seek guidance from an alcohol/drug counselor for you and your husband then the counselor will do an assessment on your son in the next session followed by a family session. This is the initial beginning but one that will hopefully give you a proper direction.
I agree with everything Pat wrote. When my son was thirteen, he started to use marijuana and drink beer. I ignored the signs because I thought it was ‘normal’ behavior. What a mistake I made!
Not all kids who smoke marijuana become addicts, but I kept my head in the sand for way too long. Marijuana soon became ketamine, ecstasy, cocaine, and finally heroin.
Talk with your son, address your concerns, discuss the repercussions. I wish I had talked more and punished less. My son needed to understand the consequences, but my reactions were typically anger-filled.
I also wish I had educated myself more. There is so much information available now. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is a good resource.
Thanks for reaching out. We’ll stay close in love and prayer.
I have not posted in quite some time but I do read the blogs often. This blog touched me at a time I needed it. I am fortunate to have a daughter who is 4 years clean but I still find myself looking at her, trying to determine if she is using again or on the verge. I am getting better as the years go by but still those old fears wake me up at night and can easily consume me if I let them. I have often wondered when these worries will leave me at peace and for the most part they do but today is one of those days. I guess reading your blog I realized I am not alone in this worry and these brief lapses in my recovery. I guess i realize this is something I will have to work on the rest of my life and hopefully my choice to strengthen myself will help my daughter on her journey as well.
Dearest Sue, I understand and feel the same way. My son has been living a sober life for thirteen years, yet I still fall back into fear. It so easy for this to happen because we were all so traumatized by the addiction.
I once asked Dr. MacAfee, Jeff’s addiction counselor, when my feelings of concern would stop, and he said, “You’ve been vigilant a long time. Be patient with yourself.” This is the advice I lean into when my old fears rush up and threaten to consume me.
My love to you, and my prayers for your daughter’s continued good health.