A mother wrote to me: I am a mother of a 25-year-old son, who lives with us. He is a compulsive gambler. It isn’t heroin, crystal meth or alcohol, but it is the same thing. Any addiction robs you of your life, your joy, and the natural and innate endeavor to survive and thrive. My son has boundless gifts – he is charming, handsome, an athlete – but now those qualities and God’s gifts to him are buried. He is almost unrecognizable. He is full of shame. He is anxious, lonely, in debt and he says he hates himself.
My reflection: There are many kinds of addictions: drugs, alcohol, food, sex, shopping, smoking, gambling and more. They all take our loved ones and our families to the same desperate place.
Today’s Promise to consider: Addictions range from heroin to gambling, and from marijuana to shopping. Addicts of every type live a tortured existence. So do we, who love them. There are times we need to take off our blinders and see our loved one’s behavior for what it is: an addiction. Only in honesty can we find a place of commonality and healing.2979
My son was living in a crack house! I was desperate and knew he was going to die. So I did the Sherlock Holmes routine and here’s what happened. I was told my son would meet me at a gas station but I had to pay $300.00 to my contact before that would happen. “No problem,” I replied. I went to my mechanic and had my van rigged so the back door would automatically lock preventing any escape. I had a friend ride with me and yes, he brought a gun. My contact showed up and I gave him the money. He made a phone call and within 15 minutes I saw my son approach the van. He was so thin, so sickly looking that I thought I should take him to the nearest ER. I greeted him and open the van door, he got in. I shut the door and was thrilled by my success. I told him I was taking him home and we would find him another treatment program. He became violent and began banging on the side of the van. He screamed, “let me out now” over and over. I knew then that I had made a huge mistake and I agreed to take him wherever he asked. We arrived at an apartment complex and I open the back door to the van and he stepped out. He stood there looking at me then he smiled and said, “I love you Dad.” I began to cry and said back, “I love you too son.” We then hugged and he disappeared into the apartment complex. This was my moment of clarity. I realized the son I once knew was gone. This realization was so painful but it pushed me to my own recovery. So, as Libby mentioned it was time to take off my blinders. I did and began working with a counselor and joined a 12 step program and worked the steps with a sponsor. I regained my peace and serenity back and 12 years later my son found his own recovery. God is good!
Thank you PAT. I needed this reminder about clarity and focusing my own recovery. I am afraid I relapse when my son does. The longer he is clean the harder it is to stay strong stay close when his “recovery” goes off the rails into active addiction again. We had almost two years in. Or so I hoped Wanted to believe. Decided to trust that instead of waiting for shoe to drop. He is in a bad bad place, and hurting and so are all of us who love him. Send prayers please.
Thanks. That is felt alI and needed.
Prayers for your family Joy. Relapses are so difficult. I think when I came to grips with the realization that I was powerless over his journey but not powerless over mine life started to improve. I realized that I had to find a way to go on in case he chose not to, or if the unthinkable happened. I grieved as you are. I used my support groups, and professional help. The psychiatrist who I spoke to was very frank. He told me my entire family was circling the drain. He said we had a choice about whether we wanted to go down the drain. His journey is not my journey today. I can only try to love him and be supportive.
Thanks Jane– you prayers are felt. Ah, yes, this time I feel a bit like been here done that, realized that, doing that ..like so many times before. This time seems different. I guess I’m stronger. My mantra is no matter what, everything is manageable. The difference after 17 years is my heart shatters and I go down the drain a day or two..not weeks or months and- this is big — do not try to rescue. Or advise. Then we pick ourselves off, dust ourselves off, proceed “as if” we are not waiting for that phone call. Our family has learned. So yes, I’m up in the middle of the night. I lay in the dark and prayed — thought it feel like I have a shot of novacaine– dentist freeze– around my heart to protect it. Must be the prayers. All of yours. I am grateful for this space and all of you. I am grateful for my life. Tonight I sent my son I message. “I love you. I have always loved you. I will always love you. I know there is nothing I can do for you.Addiction is your demon. I am praying. I love you.” I think acceptance of now is more healthy for me than even holding hope for his tomorrows- though I will always pray for another chance for a sober life for him.
Pat your share is so powerful for others to read. It reminded me of another book compiled by Christopher Kennedy Lawson titled Moments of Clarity. Our moments of clarity are just as life altering for us and hopefully for others too. I had a few moments of clarity in my own situation along the way of dealing with my son’s addiction. It was when my blinder came off too and some of my reactions to him changed.
Thanks for book title Jane. Clarity. Seeing clearly. Accepting what one sees clearly is my journey. Especially when the actions of addicted one affects innocent others. Addiction has such tragic heart breaking consequences. I love the Serenity prayer. It is cross stitched and at my front door. I see that I react less and accept more with each passing year. I pray do not be afraid many many times a day. Then I “forget” and live my life out of his chaos. Thanks to Libby and my support circle. Addiction “wins” when it takes the whole family. But I refuse to be in a battle that is not mine. That takes up too much precious life energy. Prayer is my salvation.Love is my guide.