AM I ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM?

A mom wrote to me: My son is two years sober, has his own place, has been at his same job for almost two years, and is managing his own money. His best friend, with whom he spends lots of time, just had surgery and has been given pain pills. Unfortunately this brings me to an old, scared place. I wonder if the pain pills tempt him? Do I ask him or just calm my inner self and thoughts? I never really know if talking or even asking would make him upset or be helpful? Am I allowed to ask about the elephant in the room or will that not be healthy for him? The fear is always there, isn’t it Libby?

My reflection: I know this place of fear, this ‘elephant in the room.’ 

Today’s Promise to consider: Maybe the fear of relapse is always in the back of our parent mind. I wonder if it’s in the back of our recovering loved ones’ minds, too? No matter how justified, our worry can’t be laid at the feet of our sons and daughters, who are working hard to stay the course, to live a good life, and to manage their own anxieties. It’s normal to be concerned about ‘what will be,’ but all we have is today. Let us stay close and trust our children. Sure, this is tough, and continued recovery isn’t guaranteed. We’ve been vigilant a long time, but maybe it’s time to put our fears aside and enjoy the present.

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ramona setherley
ramona setherley
17 days ago

Thanks, something I constantly have to remind myself. Just enjoy today.

Caitlin H
Caitlin H
17 days ago

Today’s reflection really hit home, with my son 1 year into his recovery, but the comment “our worry can’t be laid at the feet of our sons and daughters” is a mantra to repeat daily, and not just where recovery and relapse is concerned. As a parent of a young adult, I need to constantly remember this. They don’t always make the best desicions, do they? In this respect, our loved ones are no different from other people trying to make it in this world.Thank you, Libby, for these weekly snippets of comfort and wisdom.

Laurie
Laurie
17 days ago

Omg, that’s a huge ongoing issue for me. Should I “warn” him of this or that. Should I “mention” this or that. And if I do, will it cause him stress and anxiety. And will it cause a relapse. I’ve been living with that same dilemma for years. And when I try to think about it objectively, I realize that I don’t think I have the mental strength, and the spiritual energy it would take if I decided to relive my own behavior of extreme vigilance and fear regarding my son. It’s just too much, because there will always be something that pops up to worry about. My wise daughter, his sister, has said to me, “mom, if he’s going to relapse over THAT, then he’s not ready”. That has helped me. Easier said than done, but also, It never made any difference anyways, because HE is the one who has to be vigilant, not me. A truly hard thing to grasp, as a mother. Libby’s response gave me comfort. Thank you for bringing up this topic, and thank you, Libby, for coming into my inbox every Thursday. We’re not alone!

Trish Costa
Trish Costa
17 days ago

I am sooo looking forward to enjoying the present! God Bless and prayers for all!

Jan Keim
Jan Keim
17 days ago

This really hit home with me & my husband also! Our daughter has 2 years of sobriety also & thru a local support group for families & loved ones of addicts we’ve learned to live one day at a time & be grateful for each day. Reading your book too Libby, it’s been so helpful.
Prayers for all!

Lee
Lee
17 days ago

Hi I wanted to jump in and offer a short insight on the topic, and praying that it helps the folks that have a loved one in addiction. I am a recovering addict, that struggled with heroin addiction for over 25 years. My Mother, family, and friends tried everything to help. I went thru 13 Rehab programs, from the most expensive, to county detoxes because I was broke and homeless with no insurance. I eventually got clean in county jail, and this June will celebrate (8) years of complete sobriety, Praise God. I am 51 years old, married for 21 years to an amazing woman, and the father of 2 amazing children. My daughter Lexi is a sophomore at Liberty University, and my son Trey a freshman at UNC.
I gave you a brief overview, to let you know, as an addict in recovery, when my wife, or Mother, or close friends ask me questions after seeing a Dr for something, or having a tooth pulled, or a friend may have had surgery and they know there will be pain pills around, I NEVER take offense. They have earned the privilege to be able to ask me anything about drugs or alcohol, or relapse, or why I’m late, or who was I with, or why are you going there? They are allowed to ask these questions FOREVER. Because the truth is I lied, manipulated, conned, stole, cheated, so much to them that it is super hard for them to not ask, or offer their advice. IF I am truly working my recovery, and step work then I will see it for what it is, CONCERN for me. They aren’t asking these questions because they want to, but only for my benefit. And a lot of times, the folks closest to me and my walk, see things that I may not see. Please, please, please don’t tip toe around those questions for fear of making your loved one angry. They don’t have that right. And God forbid you don’t say anything, and it does lead to relapse or overdose or death and possibly it could have been prevented.
Anyways, thought I could offer a perspective from “the other side”, God Bless You and I pray your loved one continues on the path of recovery.
Blessings,

lee Flach

Pat Nichols
Pat Nichols
17 days ago

Excellent advice Libby!