FAMILY MATTERS

A mother wrote an email message to me: I called a woman I met in Nar-Anon and told her I was feeling complete despair. She told me that her addicted daughter was currently in prison, but she was taking care of her two-year-old grandson. “Look what I would have missed,” she said. “My daughter needs my support and this child needs my love.” Her words reminded me that I need to be present for my other children. They have their own journeys to make.

My reflection on the passage above: I got so enmeshed in my son’s addiction that I sometimes lost sight of my responsibility to myself and my family. Al-Anon helped me to find my balance. Prayer helped me to find peace. Through communication and honesty, we are healing.

Today’s Promise: I will not feel guilt for what I didn’t do or what I couldn’t do. I did my best. Today I’m doing a better job of taking care of myself and my family. I am grateful for our growth.

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Barbara Leonard
Barbara Leonard
11 years ago

Dear Libby, yesterday’s meditation really hit home for me. I struggle with guilt every day and blame myself for my son’s addiction and death. I’m currently reading Dr. Mate’s book “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts”. I’m half way through it. Every word, each page, is an invaluable learning tool on addiction. I think it will help me fully understand addiction so I may not feel the guilt that plagues me every day. I will promise you, that I will try not to feel the guilt because I did the best I could.

Hope you are enjoying Italy. I don’t think I’ve ever told you, my mother was born in Bologna, Italy and it is my heritage, too.

Thanks again for your weekly messages. You are truly an inspiration for me.

With love and prayers,
Barbara

Jane
Jane
11 years ago

Hello Barbara and Libby
I too felt like I was to blame for my son’s addiction until I entered the rooms of Al Anon and started to absorb the reality that I did not cause his illness. Barbara, I struggled with reading Dr Mate’s book because he focused so much on lack of attachment in infancy as a cause for addiction as well as dysfunctional family life and I know that was not the case for us. I was extremely bonded with my children and our family life was good….happy marriage, two kids, dog, cat, comfortable home etc and lots of love. Maybe I will pick it up again and read some more….
I became so enmeshed with my son too Libby. There was no balance. It was me trying to fix and make everything right. Al Anon helped me achieve balance, stability and understanding. It helped me to look at my co-dependency issues and to rectify them slowly. A work in progress.
Barbara I will pray that you can release your feelings of guilt. We are so powerless over this disease that insideously invades our lives and steals our family members from us. We are held hostage and no matter what kind of ransom we pay…..it is not in our power or control. Bless you all and I keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you Libby for this blog. It is healing to be in touch with others in a similar situation.
Fondly,
Jane

Barbara
Barbara
11 years ago

Dear Jane, I don’t know if I will ever be able to release the guilt that I bear every day. Maybe, in time, I pray that I can. Do you think al-anon would help me? Even though my son has passed? I’m considering going to a meeting.

Libby, Jane is so right about this blog. I find it healing for me as well.

Thank you all for your input. It helps me so much.

Love to you, and always know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Barbara

Victoria Derby
Victoria Derby
11 years ago

Hi Libby,
My son relapsed Tuesday, one of the guys in the program from The Healing Place called me to let me know that Joe had not returned Tuesday evening. I was devastated! Over the last 6 months, I have remained “causiously proud”, or so I thought. I guess I did get comfortable with his sobriety. When I got off the phone, I freaked out!!! I was alone in my house and I started screaming. I was screaming prayers to God, Please save him, please keep him safe, please watch over him. When I calmed down, I remember feeling starangly thankful for the previous 6 months. I pulled myself together and proceeded to go to retrieve Joe’s belongings from the rehab. I got in my car, still crying and worried and I did the best thing, I called my Al-Anon sponser. She asked me why I was going to pick up Joe’s things??? How old is he??? 23 yrs! She reminded me, “If we keep cleaning up their messes, they will never be able to do it for themselves!” “They will think they can’t do it.” I fell into my old ways as soon as my son relapsed. I turned my car around and went home, it was so hard! I had a wonderful dinner with my family. Then I received a wonderful gift, an answered prayer, Joe called. He said he was confused and scared, I encouraged him to go back and he did, he is in detox and willing to start over. I am proud of my son for going back, I am proud of myself for calling my sponser, she saved me from making a terrible mistake that would have hurt my son and myself. Al-Anon has been a God send for me, and their are loved ones of deceased that find help in Al-Anon.
Love to you Libby and all of the suffering parents,
Victoria

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Dear Barbara and Jane,

Thanks for reaching out here. Jane, I agree 100% with you, “We are so powerless over this disease that insideously invades our lives and steals our family members from us. We are held hostage, no matter what kind of ransom we pay.” This disease is confounding: We want to help our children, but often our help is counterintuitive.

Barbara, My heart is heavy for you with the loss of your son. Please know that we are here for you. Yes, I think an Al-Anon meeting would be great for you and for others. I learned much in the halls of Al-Anon and I’m sure you could help others as they help you. That is what it is all about – reaching out a hand for another. I found healing with others who knew my pain – they didn’t judge me and only walked with me. My hope is that an Al-Anon meeting would be a place for you to find compassion and healing and for the others to find wisdom and love in your journey. We help each other – that’s all we have.

Love to you both!

Libby

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Dear Victoria,

Relapse is part of the disease, but I never understood that. Jeff relapsed many, many times and each time I felt betrayed, angry, confused and I hated addiction more and more. I’m sorry for your pain.

Joe called!! He was scared and confused. Jeff explained this to me – beginning on page 263 of Stay Close, Jeff talks about a boy named Will and his relapse. Not until I heard Jeff explain the process did I begin to understand the torment of the addict during relapse.

God bless you that Joe felt safe calling you. You stayed close — you loved him by didn’t get immeshed in the disease, in his problems. Brava!!!!! We learn always with this disease and we learn to stay humble. Let’s continue to keep our sons in our prayers.

Love to you,

Libby