A mother wrote to me: Today I went to my first Al-Anon meeting or at least that is what I thought I was going to. Instead it was the Narc meeting for the users. So instead of hearing from family members about their loved one’s addictions, I heard from the addicts themselves. It was very eye opening and humbling to be there and to hear their struggles.
My reflection: During the many years that Jeff was swallowed by addiction, I never realized the pain that he felt. Dr. MacAfee told me that it was impossible for me to imagine how poorly my son saw himself, that living inside his skin was more than Jeff could bear at times. The heaviness of his reality, combined with all the lies he struggled to maintain, was soul crushing.
Today’s Promise to consider: It’s so very hard not to make our loved one’s addiction about us, not to take their continued missteps personally. Once I told my son, “You have a lot of courage to try to get well again.” He responded quietly, “Courage. That’s a word rarely used with addicts. Yeah, it takes courage.” As a mom, my pain is huge, but I must understand that I will never truly grasp what he is going through. Today, I will pray for strength and compassion.
Going from anger and resentment about my son’s addiction to compassion and respect for his struggle and the courage it takes him to try to stay sober every day, was a game changer for me.
I have the utmost respect and admiration for every person out there who struggles with this disease. It is not their choice and they would prefer not to have this disease.
Thank you for your continued words of wisdom.
The irony of todays subject is not lost on me. I had signed up to lead my NarAnon meeting last night and chose this same topic. It was amazing how many family members felt NONE and still felt anger. I think that is the reason we have to work on ourselves. Addiction IS a family disease and yes, we are angry; but we need to have compassion for the addict and for ourselves….we too suffer along with the addict.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your blog….its weekly message helps me.
my heart ached while reading this, remembering my daughter’s pain and sense of hopelessness.
It took lots of work to get past the anger. Not sure my other family members have done that. Compassion sunk in little by little and times anger seeped back in. It was not a straight line. It is such hard work and a lot of digging to get out from under the pile of mess he created from years of addiction. I have compassion for his struggle and feel sorry that he was saddled with this illnesss.
Many years ago he hugged me during a moment when I was crying through the pain of this and asked the question “what did I do?” He responded quietly, ” it’s not about you mom” that stuck with me.
Compassion for us too
I also developed my compassion by attending open AA meetings to hear from the addicts who recovered. That helped me develop compassion too
While reading this I am crying the whole time. I am struggling with my daughters addiction. I see now that I have not be compassionate with her struggle with addiction, however to this day she still says she doesn’t have an addiction, but has admitted to trying everything out there and she drinks everyday. I don’t have the anger so much anymore with her. I just feel kinda numb to anything she says. Recently she got in trouble with the law. I’m hoping for a good outcome and rehab has been talked about if she doesn’t go I’m asking the court to order it. She says she’s going to go to NA meetings but it has been a week and she still hasn’t gone. Thanks – I see her tmro and will try to be compassionate toward her.
I always like going to the NA meetings. I always felt such love and compassion for the members there no matter what they had done or were going through. It was as good reminder for me to find compassion and understanding in myself.
Sometimes I go when I need to be connected to my daughter, which probably sounds crazy, but it’s a place that can give me some hope. A place that can help me understand her struggles.