A mom wrote: I was the woman on the couch who cried and felt lost. I walked from room to room without purpose. I felt like a shell. I tried to fix my son over and over again. I don’t give up easily, but my interventions did not work. He got worse the more I tried.
I stopped trying in a bold way. I started to let go and started working on me. I started to accept more and to fret less. I can only change me. My son is getting better little by little. I don’t know if he will ever be the kid I thought I had. But I am healing.
My thoughts: This mom’s words reminded me of my journey. I, too, was the mom on the couch who felt lost. I was also the mom who worked relentlessly, afraid to stop for fear of being on the couch again. I wrote in my journal and prayed for wisdom. In time, I started to let go and reach out for help, especially to those in Al-Anon. I made a conscious decision to stop feeling powerless to change my son and, instead, focused on my power to change me.
Today’s Promise to consider: Courage can be as simple as getting out of bed in the morning or as they say in AA to “suit up and show up” even when our world is falling apart. For me, courage is based on faith. Today, I will pray for the courage to choose to make my health and serenity a priority and to allow my son the space he needs to choose sobriety for himself. Courage truly is fear that has said its prayers.
I think that anyone dealing with a loved one with addiction tries to fill that void, that hole, which addiction eats away, painfully and slowly. And it isn’t until the pain is almost unbearable, that we even realize the hole is there. It is when we can’t eat, sleep or think straight, because of fear. Fear of losing someone we love or worse yet, watching them wither away to nothing until they are left with only a shell of what they once were. But it is the fear that paralyzes us. The sleepless nights of crying, and gut wrenching fear of what will become of our loved one. We delve into anything that can consume us, more than the addiction. Sometimes work, sometimes sitting on a couch in a deep depression or panic. Sometimes all it takes, as Libby has said, to let go. But at the same time to stay close. It is a very hard thing to learn. But I truly believe that that is the way. It has worked for me and I pray each day to give my son the courage to make one good choice at a time. I tried the hovering and trying to cut him off at the pass. Be one step ahead of him before he falters. But what I wasn’t understanding is that it is really his choice to stay sober. But I have my choices too. It didn’t work well for me , his first go around. The hovering and constant doubting sent him right back to detox. But the second go around was different. I set my rules for me and although it has been a difficult journey at times, he is starting to come back a little at a time. It has only been a month and a half, but he has made more progress in that month and a half than he has in 5 years!
Libby said, “I will pray for the courage to choose to make my health and serenity a priority……” I never seen it said so succinctly, yet so powerful of a statement expressing the freedom from our child’s addiction that awaits all parents who believe.
Beware, as courage may be the outward face of denial. One must look behind the courage one feels and if one finds themselves paralyzed by fear and feeling helpless then to free ourselves we must confront the enemy that still holds us captive. That does take courage!
Yes to faith! The willingness to accept our own defeat and then turn our complete trust to God is the courage that Libby speaks of and it is that belief and willingness that allows us to move toward to peace and serenity.
We move back to the life we were deigned for, free from the bondage that addiction has had on us.
I pray that the tears we shed for our loved ones will be turned into a sea of courage and may God have mercy on us all.
I started reading this blog as I tried to understand why my child was experimenting with weed and I was so afraid that she would go on to the next level of drug. I tried so hard to make her see the bad effects of weed, but no matter what I did, she refused to see it. But one thing I learned in my journey is that no matter what we say or do for them to see the ill effects of drugs, if they don’t see it the way we do, or if they do not make the choice to stay away from the drugs, there is nothing we can do. It is just like anything else in our life — the choice has to be made by the person himself. No amount of hovering and crying and screaming and education can change a person unless that person makes that choice. And Libby, I like what you said about giving that person the “space to choose for himself.”
I heal and have the willingness to move forward when I give it over to God and focus on my recovery I cannot fix anyone but me. I’ve been the sad depressed woman on the couch. A shell of a person so empty ……and I do not ever want to feel that emptiness again.
Thank you Libby for your inspiration and courage and for all who come here and find courage to share. Our paths might be different, but we are all travelling on journeys of healing. Wherever we are along that road, it has surprising twists and turns. This is a wonderful community and I so appreciate others’ wisdom and experience. Community matters. I’ll keep trying to live grateful as I can and accept what is and cherish love I see here.
What I’ve discovered is regardless of my son’s actions or inactions, I can be “at peace”— but it’s fragile. Holding that peace is not a done deal. Some days, it is harder work than others. Faith falters. What I think stay close can also mean is stay close to the truth in our own hearts. That will guide us always. Even if we make a “mistake” — we’ve been true to ourselves. Every time I hear from my son and he says thank you for not giving up on me and that is all he wants –no money, no hassle, just contact in love — I think my prayers have been answered. Today, he is not clean and has no intention of being clean, but still alive. To me that is a mix of sad and good. But Mary, right, as Libby said, space for what he chooses . I do not have to live a depressed life or be encompassed by sadness nor do I have to pretend I am okay with his choice. We are where we are. Pat is right — just not denying that takes courage. And we go forth. Into the uncertainty but not the chaos. It’s possible.
Courage…it can be undefinable yet so definable. It’s something that I had to find after my son died of his overdose. Libby said that courage can be “just getting out of bed in the morning”. I’ve been there. It’s so awful. It took a huge amount of courage for me to get out of bed, and it takes courage to get out of bed tomorrow, the next day, and the next day. I Thank God for that each and every day.
Pat, I really liked what you wrote. I felt it in my heart. I appreciate your wisdom.
Jane, you are truly a courageous woman. You have found courage and have found some peace for yourself.
Hope, cherish your son’s calls. I wish I had stayed just a little closer to my son. It was a phone call – the last time I heard his voice. I had company and I kept the call short. But, I have learned through this forum, not to beat myself up. That took lots of courage.
God bless you all,
Barbara, the courage to face what is honestly and yet not let in the guilt and regrets or bitterness and resentment or despair in and NOT beat up and batter ourselves for what has happened in the past or what is now– yes, being here, getting out of bed, noticing beauty, offering love– is an act of courage. I kepe trying to remember that quote, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Those words makes so much sense to me these days. We can feel pain and weep for our lost children without that sadness totally defining our life. You are so right It takes much courage -to “choose” to forgive ourselves and others. To reach out in love, regardless– and still know boundaries and knowhow to take care of ourselves. It is a SUCH a spiritual test. It;s easy to love when it’s easy to love. How do we love when it’s difficult . I think the whole world needs Libby’s book. It is a great lesson in faith and holding fast to love but letting go of darkness and chaos, too. Thank you, Barbara, for reminding me as always– cherish is a good word.
Dear Hope, you’re so right. We can weep for our lost children without it defining our life. I learned that in the most difficult way. It was difficult to let go. To let go of the guilt which was all too consuming.
How do we love when it’s difficult? Well, I really pondered that question. Sometimes, I think I loved my son to death. There are so many questions and so little answers. But, as Libby has always said….We can hold hands and support one another. Something I also cherish.