Recently, I was faced with a family issue that had nothing to do with addiction, but had everything to do with what I had learned through my son’s fourteen-year struggle with heroin. All the suffering and confusion of those addicted years taught me – in the end – to keep my wits about me, to breathe, and to stay close. Problems can be opportunities for learning, and I learned in spades that answers aren’t as important as love and hope.
My reflection: Before and during the early years of Jeff’s addiction, my typical response was frustration, blame and anger. It took me years to accept that I was powerless to control his behavior, but what I could manage was my response.
Today’s Promise to consider: We can learn many valuable lessons from any trauma. Through my son’s fourteen-year addiction, my biggest breakthrough arrived in two words: Stay Close. For me this meant to love Jeff unflinchingly, but stay out of the chaos of his life. Today, I use that mantra with all of my loved ones.3988
Libby, I needed this today. My son is almost 5 months clean after many relapses. He turned 25 last week and got a job he is excited about. He really hit rock bottom this past summer and lost everything. My mom has been determined to pick him up for work and get him back home. I’m not so into “ helping”. This job is good for his self esteem and has future potential. The alanoner in me wants him to figure it out on his own. He could take a bus from the city and walk or ride his bike from there ( it’s a hike ). My fam keeps saying “ he trying “. I know from letting him live with me for a very traumatic year that he was “ trying”
then too. I made him leave and took him to Community Services Board that got him into rehab. Rough road. I was not “ helping “
by letting him stay at my house.
I’m struggling with how involved to get as far as rides and my heart isn’t in it even though he’s very appreciative. We had plans the other night and he “ forgot”. Said he went to a meeting. I fell
apart after hours of not hearing from him. Just beginning to get a handle on this PTSD ( per my counselor). I would love your thoughts
Dear Karen, I understand. I once asked Dr MacAfee, “When will I quit worrying? When will I quit looking in his eyes to see how alert he is?” The good doctor said, “Be patient with yourself. You’ve been vigilant a long time.” Your reaction when you didn’t hear from him came from a place of deep fear. I know that place.
What to do? How much to do for him? Follow your instincts and don’t let anyone make you feel less than. You have done TONS for your son. You know him and you love him, but it’s important to give him the dignity of helping himself. At least for Jeff, that’s where the real learning came — when he realized that he and his God could rise UP!
My love to you.
My adult son’s recovery depended on him and him alone. For example, he was given a bicycle at a shelter he was staying at. He peddled his way to his AA meetings, his job etc. He rode his bike in the rain and snow. With each peddle his recovery became stronger. He knew his parents loved him and supported him in his recovery but he also learned he would not be able to maintain long term recovery by depending on others. Just my experience.
Dear Pat, Thanks for sharing your experience. I join you in prayer for all those suffering. It’s one day at a time.
What an accurate statement, “Staying close to your love one.” I am parent in his 15th year of my daughter’s addiction to a variety of drugs and alcohol. I am not in the chaos of her life. I lived daily the three “C’s.” I did not cause it, I cannot control it. I cannot cure it. My daughter is currently working through another relapse. My prayers are with her.
Dear Al, We all join with you in prayer and hope for your daughter. My son’s addiction lasted fourteen years, and I know that suffering. I’ll bombard the heavens for her.
Libby while my heart is full of joy and love for you and your son’s recovery it also feels sadness that my son did not survive his addiction. Every time I hear of continuing recovery it fills me with great hope for those who are still suffering. God bless.
My dearest Carollyn, You’ve suffered the greatest loss of all, and my heart aches for you. Life isn’t fair, and I’m deeply sorry that you’ve lost your precious son to addiction. I join you in hope for all those still suffering. Thank you for reaching out here. I’ll stay close to you in love and prayer
Thank you for sharing. I sure needed this today. Although I am not dealing with a child with addiction I am dealing with a husband with addiction. I love him but I cannot sit by and watch him throw his life away. He has chirrosis and is currently in the hospital for the Varices in his esophagus bleeding. This is his second hospital visit in 2 weeks for the same reason. I am just heart broken and lost but I can’t be part of his chaos. So thank you for taking the time and writing this. Your words have touched me and given me strength when I need some!
Dearest Kerry, I’m so sorry. You love him and your love is powerful, but HE has to decide to change. You might find comfort in the video that Jeff and I made — the second tab on our website, the first video. If you watch it, listen to Jeff’s words, especially when he says that he needed to change his life all the while knowing that he could come home WHEN he got clean. Jeff is healthy today after a fourteen-year addiction, and he has wisdom learned through his journey. I’ll stay close in love and prayer.