This is part of a journal entry that I wrote in April 2003: The sun is trying to bake the sadness right out of me. Work your magic, Sun. Bake me thoroughly so that I am happy – like blue and yellow instead of gray and the color of mud.
I struggle with knowing how to be a good mother to my son. I struggle with knowing how to let him go and to keep him close at the same time. I know I need to let him go, but how? I try to extricate myself, to free myself, but I remain staunchly enmeshed. I’m his mother.
My personal reflection on the passage above offering my thoughts today: I reread my words and hear my own suffering. How do we as parents let go of our children? I lived with the continual fear that my son might die.
But finally I understood that I had no control over his life or his choices. I could love him, give him compassion and verbal support, but I couldn’t make him do anything. He needed to feel the consequences of his addiction and I needed to get out of the way. Sometimes I think that I impeded his recovery by rescuing him continually. He told me many times, “Never deny an addict his pain.” I heard his words, but I never ‘heard’ his message.
Last year, I asked several recovering addicts, “What brought you to recovery?” All of them said the same thing, “I couldn’t live with the consequences of my addiction. I had to stop. I was sick of being sick, of all the madness. I had to do it for myself.”
Today’s promise to consider: I’ll stay close to my addicted loved one, but I’ll acknowledge that I can’t force him to change. He needs to decide. I need to give him the dignity of his own choice.397