A mom wrote to me: My son is new to recovery, and I’m wondering if I can ask him all the questions that I have? Sometime I feel like I can’t say how I have been hurt, or how I feel, or how his addiction has affected our family. I don’t’ want to drive him away or make him feel more ashamed than he already feels.
My reflection: When Jeff read a draft of Stay Close, his response was, “You stripped me naked in this book.” I said, “But why didn’t you stop? Why did you continue to hurt all of us?” His eyes filled with tears and he said, “You wrote an entire book about addiction and you still don’t understand. I never wanted to hurt you. I tried to keep you to the side and out of the way. You’re my mom and I love you, but I’m an addict, Mom. I’m an addict.”
Today’s Promise to consider: With my son, a recovering heroin addict, HOW I asked the question was more important than what and when I asked. He was already beaten-up by the addiction and felt guilt and shame, so I needed to be gentle. Today, when we talk about the stormy years of his addiction, I ask questions calmly, without judgment, and in love.3874
I am a parent of an addict and alcoholic. My daughter has battled this disease for nearly 14 years. As her father, the journey has been tough. I do not know how long this ordeal will last. I am seeing the physical, emotional, and psychological impact, the addiction is having on my daughter and on me. Currently, she is in another rehab program, hearing the same information, hopefully, this time the planted seeds will take harvest.
Dear Al, I understand. My son was addicted for 14 years, and addiction takes its toll on all of us. It’s a family disease and we all suffer. I don’t know if it would help or not, but my son and I wrote a book called “Stay Close.” It might be of some comfort to you. At the end of his addiction, I learned to stay close, but out of the chaos. When I finally surrendered, he made the decision to change his life. Also — on the Stay Close website is a video that Jeff and I made – the first one on the page. His words are wise. I’ll stay close in prayer and faith. I’ll bombard the heavens for your daughter.
Thank you beyond words for your book & your courage Libby. Your book was like water in the desert to me – it began my journey in finding a life for myself amidst the turmoil.
God bless you, Pennie, for beginning your journey in taking care of yourself. It’s so important. Stay strong, and I’ll stay close.
Thankful for your response, Al
Hi Al, I’m the father of a son in recovery from drugs. Our journey lasted over twenty years. I highly recommend Libby’s book ‘Stay Close.” What I found that worked best for me was educating myself “fully” on the disease of addiction, working with a properly credentialed and experienced alcohol drug counselor, working with a sponsor in a 12 step program (familiesanonymous.org) and drawing closer to the God of my understanding. Recovery is a lifestyle change for not only the addicted child but the whole family. You and your daughter are on my daily prayer list. Blessings, Pat
Pat, I was hoping you’d respond to Al, father-to-father. Thanks for reaching out. xo
Dear Libby and Jeff,
Thank you for this meditation today. Libby, your ‘reflection’ brought tears to my eyes, instantaneously. When Jeff said, “You wrote an entire book about addiction and you still don’t understand” reminded me of (multiple) conversations I had with my son about this disease. I never understood why/how he continued to ‘do this to me.’
What I know now is that all of us are beaten up by this disease and it has no boundaries. Very scary, daunting and so very isolating.
Al, I strongly recommend Libby’s book ‘Stay Close.’ A parent at an Alanon meeting several years ago recommended Libby’s book to me when she saw how I was struggling (as you state…physically, emotionally, spiritually). I have read her book several times and recommended it to numerous people, all of whom have gained tremendous strength, knowledge, wisdom, courage to face the reality of this disease but MOST important…hope.
We are all in this together…God Bless Libby and Jeff for this forum and for Staying Close for all of these years.
My dearest Nanci, Your sentence is perfect, “What I know now is that all of us are beaten up by this disease and it has no boundaries.” I never thought about addiction having no boundaries, but you are so right. Addiction rolls over top of us and seeps into every crack in our beings. We have to have boundaries because it doesn’t. Yes, so very isolating.
Thanks for your wise and compassionate comments. We walk together and learn together. Here’s to continued hope.
My love to you, always. Thanks for staying close all these years.