ADDICTION AND THE HOLIDAYS: “IT’S HARD TO CARRY ON”

A mom wrote to me: When people at work talk about their kids and grandkids, I feel myself die inside and hope they don’t ask me about mine because I feel such sadness, shame, and embarrassment. I know my husband and I can’t let our son’s choices dictate our happiness, but it’s so hard to carry on with everyday life when I’m screaming inside with sadness and worry. The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, but I feel despair. 

My reflection: Addiction is full of shame, secrets, stigma and silence. I remember praying that no one would ask me about Jeff because I didn’t know what to say. I remember lying, “He’s fine. He’s working in Florida,” when in truth he was struggling and in yet another halfway house. I remember trying to feel happiness, but finding it impossible.

Today’s Promise to consider:  Addiction wants to strangle our joy, especially during the holiday season, but we have a choice: We can allow it to rob us and our families, or we can go forward for the rest of our loved ones who gather together. For today, I accept that life can be difficult and I pray that tomorrow will be better. For today, I am grateful for what I have. For today, I will do my best for my family.

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Karen Baar
Karen Baar
2 years ago

Thanks Libby. I did just this for the rest of my family and I did enjoy. My son moved into yet another sober living house and is struggling. I caught up with him end of the day yesterday. Gave him a few gifts. So grateful he is alive but he was irritable I’m sure because he withdrawing from something again. Always difficult to see but I did focus on enjoying the other members of my family. God bless.

Alice
Alice
2 years ago

I can certainly identify with this mother’s comments. Addiction is so isolating. I kept away from friends and social settings because I didn’t want to have to talk about my son. It was always a reminder of his situation and so sad for me. I couldn’t handle it so I quit seeing friends.

Sharon
2 years ago

Thank you for posting this. I could have written it myself as I am sure many of us in this situation could have. I like all the time when asked about my son although I try to think of it as wishful thinking and manifesting what I really want for him…. Fake it till you make it….
Anyway, thank you for your message, it is very helpful to know I am not alone. Love to you xo

Pat Nichols
2 years ago

I eventually found my secret to establishing my personal long lasting peace during such times. My son spent twenty years living on the streets, homeless, jail, sober living homes and treatment programs. Libby’s blog and her book, “Stay Close” started a new direction for me and as I became acquainted with parent support groups, professional counseling and addiction education I found myself accepting my son’s addiction as a primary disease, a mental disorder. Then I focused on becoming closer to the God of my understanding and learning that I CAN fully trust God. I then began to see my child in a different light, I saw him as an innocent person who was held captive against his true self by the evil of Addiction and I realized that Addiction would eventually wear itself out and my son would be freed one day. I learned to walk beside my son making sure he always knew we were here for him, to support recovery, that he was loved and forgiven and welcomed back in the family when Addiction freed him to accept long term recovery. We are all so blessed to have Libby’s consistent dedication to helping parents who are struggling with their child’s disease. I am humbled by your love and commitment Libby.

Mindy Bartholomae
Mindy Bartholomae
2 years ago

I, too, was so deeply moved by your book, dear Libby, and having you “there” to walk this journey with me. It was when I hit MY bottom and began to put the focus on ME that I was able to trust in my Higher Power as well as my son’s. I was so lost in the fear that I could not have true understanding and compassion for my son. I also could not have compassion for 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, slowly the miracles began to unfold. Today he is with us for Christmas and we are feeling so blessed. He has a good job and slowly the fog seems to be lifting. But I say this with absolutely no sense of what his lifestyle choices are, or what tomorrow may bring, because his recovery is his own. Again, 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 life absolutely shifted when I finally dedicated myself to 12 Steps, AlAnon. I now have a home group that is my lifeline. Prayers to all during this most difficult of times in many ways, but also a time of great hope and faith, if we allow it into our lives.

B Y
B Y
2 years ago

I understand this Momma’s comments. I lied in front of my family to a friend who insisted on knowing the whereabouts and life situation of our troubled daughter. I find many “friends” demand to know any detail and will not accept evasiveness from me. Our son told me not to lie but to tell them this is a private, personal matter that I prefer not to discuss. I avoid the constant “so how are you really people” . What do they want to see me cry in the grocery store, church lobby, ball game? Will they really pray? Thank you Libby for understanding and writing.