A mother wrote to me: Today I am struggling with Staying Close as I fear my son’s addiction is taking hold of him again. Part of me wants to say Stay Away and say, “I don’t want to be your mother anymore. I don’t want to deal with your addiction anymore.”
My personal reflection on the above passage: I know this feeling of wanting to run away from all the chaos that is addiction. I asked Dr. MacAfee, our addiction specialist, and he told me, “Of course, ‘I don’t want to be your mother’ is not the same as ‘I don’t want to deal with your addiction.’ Parents cannot obliterate relationships in hope that they’ll obliterate addiction. I know that parents want the pain to stop, but rejection of and disowning their child does not alleviate the pain.
“In addition, punishing the addict won’t help either. Good, solid and meaningful boundaries can help best. Every parent needs to say what she means and mean what she says.”
Today’s Promise to Consider: I will stay close to my loved one. I will tell him what I can and cannot do and I will mean it and follow through. I will respect my boundaries for his sake. I will stay close and pray that he chooses a different life.
Dear Libby, this week’s meditation has got to be my absolute favorite message you’ve ever written. Every word is so true.
I like what you said “rejection and disowning your child, doesn’t alleviate the pain”.
Boundaries are so difficult to set. It’s like walking a tightrope. At one end, you want to run off the rope, and at the other end, you want to hang on for dear life…..It’s somewhere in the middle that we find the balance and the boundaries.
Thanks again for such a meaningful message.
Addiction is a primary disease, a brain disease and it’s only motivation is to transform us into accepting the disease on it’s terms. If that proves unsuccessful, the disease moves on and maintaining a “healthy relationship” with an actively using child is impossible.
This is just my personal opinion and experience with my child(age 35)and his chronic disease of addiction.
I no longer have contact with my son but he knows he is loved, forgiven and welcomed back into the family when he chooses to be in recovery.
Blessings and continued prayers for all our children.
Dear Pat, I agree that it’s impossible to have a healthy relationship when your child is in active addiction. When my son was in active addiction, I never heard from him unless he wanted something (money, a ride somewhere, etc.) I pretty much gave up on our relationship when he reached the age of 28. My son, as yours, also knew he was loved and welcomed back into our lives. He chose to continue his destructive life until 41 years old.
I feel your anquish.
You and your son are in my prayers…..
Thank you for your comment. You are one of the very small minority that truly understand my situation.
In prayer for all the children and their families.
You are a blessing to all of us. Thanks for reaching out and providing compassion and love after all that you’ve experienced. Pat is correct that you are one of the very small minority that truly understands his situation. With love and respect. Thanks for staying close.
With the holidays upon us, our family’s fight for one child struggling with addiction is upmost on my mind. Thanksgiving = Trying day for me yet Thankful to be able to spend with family however the missing presence of my addicted child weighed heavily as I put on a face & struggled thru the day of our family tradition. My family is a wonderful, caring family trying to cope with the addict in our life. My father (mid 70’s) has decided my addicted child can no longer be part of our family gatherings. I worry about Christmas and how my child will handle being shunned from the traditional family gathering. I plan to permit a visit between my child & 3 yr old grandchild at my home, but I worry the effect of not being able to partcipiate in the yearly family Christmas ritutail at the family home & the effect it will have. I realize Boundaries are necessary & I’ve been working on setting and abiding by mine, yet something in the back of my mind keeps nagging at me, What If…???? Wish us luck…
I thank you Pat, Barbara & Libby for your powerful words above which seem to hit home. My child is 26 and active addict for the last 5 years. This is the first year I’ve set Boundaries I pray I can abide by them but most of all I pray for my child and ALL those suffering any type of addiction. My prayers to the family & friends as well because its never limited to “one person” …. many are affected. God Bless You for this site Libby & God Bless those brave enough to post in order to possibly help others in similiar situtations.
Dear Rickie, I can remember many family gatherings which I had to fight for my son to be with us because he couldn’t be trusted. He couldn’t be in the same room/rooms with people who had purses, etc. He found a way to steal anything he could. He was such a good liar, too. He would look you right in the eye and tell you he was innocent. Addiction steals the addict’s soul.
I hope and pray your son will soon realize that he needs rehab and recovery. I pray for you to have the strength to continue with the boundaries you’ve set this year.
With much respect and love,
Dear Libby and Pat, thank you so much for your kind words….
have read this one particular boundaries blog a few times now… it reminds me of a meeting… each one you go to you hear the message you needed to hear. My addict is back home, holidays here, the long line of failed programs hes walked out of (its not me its them) the practical muggings that go on in our own home. My own lack of patience, kindness & love combined with the the fear in my heart that his next run will be his last, because Im not sure he can go further down without death looking back at him. My faith is beginning to fail me, 5 years, of every which way, prayers, no pray, rehabs, no rehab, jail, no jail, home, no home… Im so tired. Another Christmas, doing it all again.
Im sorry, sometimes I just want to whine and kick and cry and scream and type until my fingers bleed, just want to check out for a few weeks with a nice straight jacket… then I remember my friend Terri and how she held her son, her baby boy, in her arms as he died.
…..I’ll try to be grateful today. Sometimes I find when I pray for all of you and yours, mine gets lighter.
I join you in prayer during this holiday season and in the New Year. Thanks for Staying Close. I think we all wonder, “What if…” You are not alone.
My love to you,
Another Christmas – “doing it all again.” I get it. Yes, sometimes we want to scream, cry and rail against addiction and sometimes we should if it helps us to stay close. I understand what you write about ‘sometimes mine gets lighter’ if you pray for others. Whenever I go to an Al-Anon meeting, I walk away feeling lighter knowing that my problems are tough, but others have it worse. Those other people provided a strong role model for me.
You provide a strong role model, too. With love,
Libby…I could not put your book down. Many times throughout; it brought me to tears because only a mother could feel your pain and admire your strength and never giving up on Jeff. I shall pray for him that he will continue with his sobriety and realize that there is so much more to life than drugs and alcohol.
May God Bless you and yours….
Thanks for your prayers and support for Jeff. Please keep us in you prayers as we enter 2012. I remain humble and grateful.
Love to you,