A mother wrote to me: My son walked out of his fourth rehab, and in November of last year my husband kicked him out of our house, again. I couldn’t help but mourn. I lay on my bed and didn’t move for two days. He’s presently in an outpatient methadone program. His addiction has claimed him for five years. Methadone is not the permanent answer for my son, but he is doing better. His drug addiction has had such a big impact on our lives. I want to see him whole and clean and well again. His bruises on his arms are fading.
My reflection: Addiction affects all of us. Parents argue, siblings are confused and angry, and the addict is in his own world, chasing his next fix. Mothers cry until we have no tears left, and fathers watch helplessly, powerless to protect their families in the face of addiction. The entire family is immersed in sadness and trauma.
Today’s Promise to consider: Addiction thrives on chaos and pain. Not only does the immediate family suffer, but addiction spirals out to affect extended family, coaches, teachers, friends, priests and ministers. Especially now, during these troubling times, let us not be defeated. As families, we are powerless to stop addiction, but we can remain faithful and compassionate, while maintaining boundaries to keep our family safe. Let us stay close to our support groups. Let us keep faith and hope alive.
My heart goes out to this mother, and all mothers. When my son’s addiction hit our
family, I was immobile. I cried myself to sleep (that rarely came), for months and on and off for years. The panic almost made me not want to even go on. I was inconsolable. A big part was in trying to accept it. He had (I thought) everything going for him. How did this happen? What did I do wrong? I searched my heart and soul blaming myself. My husband did the same, and suffered in his own horrible ways. My daughter suffered as well. This suddenly wasn’t the family it had always been. Acceptance was a huge mountain for me to climb. He is sober for 7 months now, but I’m afraid to let my guard down. Through al anon, support of family and friends, and lots of prayer, I am 75% better at accepting this. I love him so much it hurts. My fear that has paralyzed me over the years, I think is slowly being replaced by faith: faith in God, faith in myself, and faith in my son. I am in awe of him. He’s fighting the fight. His personality is back. We laugh and talk. A blessing beyond belief, especially since I was trying to prepare myself for so long, of him dying. Keep the faith, know that you’re not alone, and keep hope in your heart. A mother’s love can’t even be put into words. Thank you, Libby, for this safe place to share.
Your sentence, “This suddenly wasn’t the family it had always been” struck home with me. I know that feeling of turning around and seeing that everything has changed. Your son is seven months sober now – CONGRATS to you all. It takes great courage for him to mount his defenses against the ever-raging addiction and to learn how to live in the solution.
I once asked my son’s beloved addiction therapist, “When will I finally find peace? When will I quit looking for signs that the addiction has returned? When will I have faith?” He looked at me kindly and said, “You’ve been vigilant a long time. Be patient with yourself.” Time takes time.
For today, I celebrate with you the fact that your son has returned home to himself and you. It’s one day at a time. Tell him the he has courage.
In faith and love,
Thank you so much for sharing.
Well said Libby!
As always – Thanks, Pat, for staying close and sharing your wisdom.
Yes. Every word Libby, so wise, compassionate, so true. Thank you.
Tonight I pray for every crying mother
For every sister and brother
Who lost a sister or brother
For ever father
Who lost a son or daughter
For every uncle, aunt, friend
Who had to learn
The hard way
Death is often
I pray for every struggling soul
In the grips of this disease
For all of us
to never give up hope
to a loving GOD
show us the way
to keep close, keep loving
Let us see
there is always hope
that light appears
never give up
for it is a fight
to keep hope alive
but hoping on
is the only way
we who love
our struggling ones
My precious Joy, “…hoping is the only way we who love our struggling ones survive.” After reading your words, my eyes fill with with tears. My love to you.
My daughter has been an active addict for the past 4 years. She’s attended (physically) many different IOP and therapy sessions. This time she made the arrangements herself and went into detox for 7 days then 3 days IOP at a residential facility and then left. Relapsed now completed another 7 days detox and is saying she wants to come home. My husband and I said no, not until she completes at the very least a 30-day inpatient program. She immediately got angry I’ll leave out her harsh words. I feel so afraid to let any walls down and be hopeful because I’ve been so broken and feel I was starting to feel stronger and now I’m back to just wanting to go home and get in bed.
My dearest Trish, I understand. My son – and probably all those suffering from addiction – did the same thing. He’d get clean for a while, relapse, get clean for a while, and want to come home. I often went against by boundaries, and let him … until I learned to Stay Close, but out of the chaos. With Dr. MacAfee’s help, my son’s beloved addition therapist, I learned that boundaries are critical – for us and for our children. THEY need to make the decision to change their lives, and we need to keep ourselves safe while they are on their path. I’ll keep you and your daughter in my strong prayers for healing and peace.