Decision Making: The Gift of Time

This is part of a journal entry that I wrote seven years ago: I don’t have the energy to deal with this: my son’s addiction and the chaos that comes with it. Where do I end and where does he begin? How much of a safe haven do I provide? Do I allow him to come home, again? I’m confused and I need time to think.

My personal reflection on the passage above offering my thoughts today: When I allowed Jeff’s addiction to be in control of my life, I lived in fear that if I didn’t take action immediately and decisively that my son would go onto the streets and something worse would happen. I allowed fear to rule my behavior and I gave up my will to the addiction.

I’ve learned that I don’t have to decide at that moment. When my son called me in times of crisis and demanded an immediate answer, I didn’t have to give it. The addiction was hungry and wanted my life as well as his. I gave myself the gift of time. When I allowed myself time to think, I could breathe again.

Today’s Promise to consider for all of us who love addicts: No one can force me to make a decision and very few decisions have to be made immediately. With time to think, my decision will be better. I will give myself this gift of time.

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Nanci
Nanci
11 years ago

Hi Libby,
Its as if you are reading my mind. One of the alcoholics/addicts in my life, relapsed last week. This person made several attempts to suck me back into the chaos of the disease…however, the attempts failed on every level. I have Al-anon (and the slogans) to thank for helping me draw the line in the sand and say, “No more.” What a priceless gift; to find peace and serenity in what was once, a life of chaos.
As always, thank you for your personal and gentle (yet firm) reflections.

Victoria
Victoria
11 years ago

making decisions in haste …it’s like going to the grocery store without a list! Every time I go without a list I get crap I don’t need. When I make snap decisions I also get crap! Sometimes, as a Mother, it is difficult to stop and think first, we want to run in that burning building, but if we do then we too get burned. I am going to make a conscious effort to stop and think before I make decisions. Thanks Libby:)

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Dear Nanci,

You are so right! Addiction drags us in and wants us to ‘jump’ immediately to its call while it sucks us into the trauma and chaos. Peace and serenity are priceless gifts. God bless all of us in Al-Anon for helping each other through the quicksand. Love to you!

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Dear Victoria,

Yes! We mothers want to save our kids and loved ones. We are willing to run into the burning building and burn up with them, but we need to take the time and figure out our route before running. I made a conscious decision several years ago that I would take 24 hours before making a decision. This has helped me and Jeff. Love to you!!

Cathy
11 years ago

I completely agree with giving yourself time. When our kids call, our heartstrings are pulled. Our mothering instincts want to take over, but that is not always the right decision. It is never easy and detaching with love is a constant challenge. There are no right or easy answers. Thank you!

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Dear Cathy,

I agree, “When our kids call….our mothering instincts want to take over.” There is a saying in Italian, “La mamma e’ sempre la mamma” – the mother is always the mother. When the addiction is in charge, it wants immediate answers and immediate help. What a confounding disease! Love to you.

Julie
Julie
11 years ago

Reflecting on the past and thankful those days are gone, one evening when I wouldn’t let my son take the car and meet up with his friend, he said he was going to bed. Later that night when I went to bed, I noticed the car was gone and so was he. He had jumped from his bedroom window (second floor) because of his drug addiction. When he came home the next day which was my birthday, I had to take him to the emergency room because he broke his arm when he jumped from the window. He also broke his eye glasses. I’m so grateful he has recovered from his drug addiction and I survived. While my comment isn’t directly related to the gift of time, your email this week reminded me of what life used to be like.

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Dear Julie, What a great story that highlights the chaos that is addiction. All this and on your birthday – that’s the way addiction works. Insanity! Jeff once told me, “I’d do anything to get what I wanted and I wanted drugs. You were the only thing stopping me. I’d tell you that you were a bad mother, that I was going to someone’s house to study – anything – so that I could do what I wanted. Like they say in AA, for me it was ‘self will run riot.'”

So glad that your life isn’t like that anymore and these stories can give hope to those who are still suffering. Love to you!

L