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 that I don’t need to give instant answers. I can take time to breathe, keep my wits about me, and 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: 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 the trauma of addiction. Through my son’s fourteen-year struggle, my biggest breakthrough arrived in two words: Stay Close. For me this meant that I didn’t have to jump every time he called with a problem, and I didn’t have to provide answers every time he demanded one, but I could stay close and out of the chaos of his life. Today, I use this Stay Close mantra with all my loved ones.4619
Thank you Libby. ♥️
Pam, Thanks for your compassion and support. Love wins. xoxo
Stay Close. Words I tried to live and did, the best I could and felt so validated when I read your words and book, Libby. A Godsend. You telling your story meant I was not alone in the love I had for my son even as I was terrified and for so so long thought I could do something to fix him Not sure I ever really got that in my head and heart.When he was little and struggled so much, I always seemed to be able to make it better. But Addiction is not like that. The hard part for me was not staying close but staying out of the chaos. And because the chaos of this disease is crazy making for those who love the addict or alcoholic, it is so hard at times to not get sick oneself from worry and fear. Depressed. Worn down. Giving in and giving money– which could have killed him. Such a fine line at times to walk. I am glad I chose Group support, therapy, kept love upfront and staying close priority, even when it was ugly. So so hard. But… I saw a son in active recovery and happy and healthy to an extent — before he died, of pneumonia. He had done a lot damage. We had good recent memories, but many parents do not get those. I also learned boundaries– not perfectly, but I went deeper in my faith and because I understand this life as a spiritual journey the lessons along this hard way, lessons in resilience and compassion, now seem like gifts of seeing, through eyes of Divine, Learning about self-preservation and boundaries so very hard. It is not natural to put oneself before a child no matter how old, but there is no other way if you want to be there for them in recovery, Fear based decisions are usually not the good ones for anyone. That took me a long time to learn. Saying I love you as you say no to giving money when a child threatens to kill themself is hardest thing I have ever had to do and one of the longest nights I ever endured. But I know that combination of love and courage is what brought my child back before he left and not clear sailing, but we even learned to stay close in relapse. So tonight, I pray for all the parents who might come here who right now are getting caught in the chaos, who are angry because they are really so devastated by relapse, so hurt because they might have to learn that to stay close means digging for that love when love is hard to find and they feel nothing like love still always love first, love even if that means no and love means sometimes staying away. Stay close to me means loving always, yes, but also, always staying open… in hope. Libby forgive my wordiness but tonight I felt compelled to come here and pray for all the parents who may be pulled down by chaos, pray they take care of themselves so they can be healthy and able to support when their child chooses recovery.To keep hope for that. I still stay close to my son even if he is no longer here. I had practice how to do that andI can tell you ,if you love and stay close no matter, the love never dies and it is love that matters. Every time. Love wins over chaos. No ,not tough love— wise fearless endless love for your child, love for yourself.Love of the God of your understanding. God can’t fix either, but weeps with us. And answers prayers in He/r way. Yes the words. Stay close means LOVE first but Stay out of the chaos and take care of yourself, loving, tired, parents. I send deepest prayers.
So very sorry for your loss Joy,
Thank you so much Pat. Your words helped me so often over the years. He died travelling towards the light knowing he was loved.That means everything.
My dearest, dearest Joy, Your message is powerful, filled with truth, and deep with wisdom. You’ve given me permission before, so I’ll try my best to put your words into a Thursday Meditation. As Joan said, your journey speaks volumes. Thanks so much for continuing to share here. You are making a difference, and we are all deeply grateful. My sincere thanks.
I am here because of you ,because of Jeff and Jeremy, because of Barbara who kept coming even after having lost a son and grandson to addiction. If I can give to this community in any way, and offer even little compared to what Barbara and all of you have given to me, something heals my heart in sharing. Thank you for still welcoming me. I still feel you are my community. I also know my son wants me to be happy and healthy. This takes work and support. My love.
Precious Joy, Your words, your experience, and your love permeate everything you share. Yes, you are important part of this community. Healing does take work and support. We’re here for you. Thanks for being here for us. With love and respect, my friend.
Libby as always , thank you for helping us all remember to stay close
Joy thank you for sharing , your journey speaks volumns to me and today I need to stay close with love , as I watch my yourngest son ( sober today ) making plans for his future that I dont feel are in his best interest. I pray for serenity to stay out of his chaos and Stay Close with love and today I especially want to heel hope
Thank you both
Dear Joan, Joy and I will stay close in love and prayer. Let’s all join together in prayer for serenity for you as your youngest, precious son makes his way through life. I know how hard it is to watch our children make decisions that we don’t agree with. My love to you.
I am so glad these words reached you. love and prayers.