FINDING BALANCE

A mother wrote to me: Finding balance has been perhaps the most difficult part of my learning process. So much was dependent on my own self-discovery and this was really intense for me, both as a mom and as an individual. But I know, now, that I would not trade one scary, treacherous mile. I can embrace with full-on joy that God, in His unfailing love and wisdom, has helped me hang in there and grow right alongside of my precious son.

My reflection on the above passage: Finding balance through any tragedy is difficult and I struggled with finding mine through Jeff’s addiction. Was I doing too much; was I not doing enough? For me, the answer came in the Italian alcoholic’s admonition to Stay Close: Jeff needed to feel the consequences of his addiction and I had to get out of the way yet keep my love and emotional support close at the same time.

Today’s Promise to Consider: Finding our balance takes time and hard work. I will remember to breathe, pray and learn. I will be compassionate with myself and my loved one.


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Barbara
Barbara
11 years ago

I can certainly relate to this week’s meditation. I was a gymnast growing up. Addiction is like a gymnast on a 2X4 balance beam. If she moves her body just a fraction of an inch, she will fall off.

I found balancing the most difficult thing to manage when my son was addicted. I still struggle with that every day. Could I have done anything differently? Did I stay too far away and not stay close enough?

Thanks to you, Libby, I promised myself (today) to quit beating myself up.

I will pray for all of us to obtain God’s guidance through the balancing act.

With love and respect,
Barbara

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
11 years ago

Dear Barbara,

I love your sentence, “I promised myself (today) to quit beating myself up.” I’ll join you on this one. It’s so hard and it’s hard to let go of all the self doubts and questions.

With love and respect to you. Thanks for staying close.

L

Cathy | Treatment Talk
11 years ago

Hi Libby,

All parents walk a fine line when their kids are addicted. We have been programed to help and make everything better and with addiction, there are no easy answers. It takes time to find the balance in each person’s situation. Hopefully at some point we find what works for us. I also work at it everyday. Thank you.

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
11 years ago

Dear Cathy,

Thanks for taking the time to respond. With your wonderful blog http://treatmenttalk.org/ I know how busy you are. Your words ring true for me, “With addiction, there are no easy answers. It takes time.” As Jeff once told me, “Time heals all wounds, but time takes time.” With gratitude for all you do.
L

Sunny
Sunny
11 years ago

HI Libby,
I am currently reading your book. My son is 27 years old, my baby. He has been involved with drugs since he was 14 years old, and a full blown heroin addict for at least 7 years. I have read literally hundreds of books, spoken with counselors, people at Al-Anon, etc. etc. I have never connected more with anyone, any book, and any resource more than I have connected with you and Jeff and Jeremy. I am on page 251, it is 12.13.05 in your story and while I am reading this book we are going through yet another episode with our son. He has racked up a lengthy police record and legal issues, all surrounding drug use, thefts to support the drug use, and traffic issues all brought on by drug use. For several days now he is “going into treatment”, however of course there are issues every day that caused him to not be able to enter the facility. We didn’t assist with this latest attempt to get “help”. We told him he had to find a place on his own that would take him in at no charge. At last count (and I know we missed some) he has been in 27 “programs” which include treatment facilities (in-patient, out-patient), hospitals, detox units, etc. WE are totally broke, and so deep in debt trying to save his life by paying for so many programs, hospital bills, counselors, etc. that we will never get it all paid off before we die. I wake up with our son on my heart and begin to pray, and I go to sleep with our son on my heart and in prayer for him. Our oldest son is healthy and successful. He has been hurt and devastated by his brother’s drug addiction. Our youngest son is killing himself. His health is so bad. He has HepC, and a damaged liver and heart due to cocaine use and a drug overdose which included 300 Tylenol. He has almost died 6 times that we are aware of and we know that the actual incidents of near death are too numerous to count. If our son doesn’t enter treatment today, we know deep in our hearts that he will soon die. We do not live close and it is impossible to keep track of what he is doing. We have not contact names or numbers of anyone in his life at this time. As parents we feel helpless. I have enabled him to continue this destructive life, my husband can see through his lies and deceit and manipulation but I cave in, all the time. I pray every day for strength to recover from my addiction to our son. I don’t even know how your book ends yet. I will finish reading it tonight. I did notice on your Bio that Jeff is now 29 and living in recovery. Praise God. Thank you for sharing your inner most thoughts and feelings so that others in a similar situation can also have hope. I was so scared because I have prayed for 14 years to never give up hope on our son. I am just so devastated, heartbroken, exhausted that I feel that I am giving up hope. I do believe that God has the plan for our son, and all things are possible with God.
If you read this today, please pray for our son and for our family.
Sunny

Jane
Jane
11 years ago

I am so humbled by everyone’s story . We all share a common bond of pain, love, struggle, devastation, hope, despair etc. Libby’s book was the one that really spoke to me too. Thank you Libby Jeff and Jeremy. Your sharing helped us all. Sunny, you and your family are in my prayers tonight because that is something we all can do-Pray and turn it over to God. Your son has to heal himself as you need to start to heal yourself. Our children may never recover. I have accepted in some way that my son is not who he was prior to addiction, the same way that I am forever changed by his addiction. He is sober but I do not think he is actively working a program. It is not my choice but I have to accept his choices for his life. I chose my way for my journey. When there are unacceptable behaviors in my house I address them. It is very hard but it is one day at a time and each day is a new beginning. Stay close is so helpful to remember. Thanks for the reminders tonight.
Love to all of you and hugs as well. We all need eachother
Jane

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Dear Sunny and Jane,

Everything you both write hits me intensely. Sunny, yes, you are devastated, heartbroken, exhausted and financially depleted. Your words that you ‘cave in, all the time’ also ring true to me. I did the same thing.

My experience parallels your story and Jane’s thoughts. We have no control over their addiction. A story: Jeff and I were speaking in front of a large group of people when a man asked, “Jeff, if your mom had quit being ‘The Bank of America’ and funding your mistakes, would your addiction have been lessened or shorter?” Jeff, “Addicts need money and we will find money wherever we can, but my mother made it a whole lot easier.”

At that moment, I knew Jeff was telling the truth. Only when I got out of the way and allowed him to feel the consequences of his addiction did HE pick up his cross and carry it. Might he have died? Yes. Did I have to accept this? Yes. I had to because I couldn’t save him. I tried and I failed. Addiction is too strong and Jeff had to fight for himself.

This video that Jeff and I made might help. His words are powerful about staying close, but out of the way. A dichotomy to be sure, but it helped us, helped him. http://www.youtube.com/youarenotalone

Jane, you’re right – we all need each other. I need my God and other people who know my pain. Sunny, we are here for you. You are not alone. That doesn’t ease your pain, I know, but we’ll hold your hand and pray with you.

With love and respect,

L

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Sunny,

My heart bleeds for you. My experience with my son parallels your story just like Libbby, Jane, etc.

I know how helpless you feel when you can’t be in control of your son’s life. My son was in and out of prison because of his drug addiction. I never gave up on him. He gave up on himself when he died of an overdose at 41 years old.

I pray that your son finally gets into treatment (on his own) and finally realizes that he is powerless over his addiction.

I hope you watch Libby’s video. It’s so real…so positive.

I will say a “special” rosary tonight for you (and your family).

God Bless you and keep you in his care.

With love and respect,
Barbara

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Barbara,

Thanks for staying close to all of us. You are so right: We are powerless. It’s something a mom never wants to be, but it’s the fact of the matter. Please keep us in your prayers and we’ll keep you in ours.

Love you,

L