A mom wrote to me: My cousin’s son is 22 and battling alcoholism. She just visited and, even though she didn’t want to talk about it, I could see the pain she was going through. As a mother of sons, I am grateful that my sons have never had a problem with alcohol or drugs, but I know that it is the luck of the draw. Addiction can happen to anyone. It’s everywhere and it affects families in every walk of life.
My reflection: This mother’s words brought back a difficult memory for me. In Stay Close, I wrote, Grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, no one knew what to do. During the Christmas of 2006, when neither son came home for our large Italian family gatherings, my brothers didn’t know what to say. They didn’t even know whether to invite me to the festivities. The cousins were confused; could they ask about Jeff or would it be kinder to leave him out of the conversation?
Today’s Promise to consider: Research says that for every one addict at least four others are affected. Addiction’s consequences are far-reaching and destructive. Those who love us see our pain, even without us saying a word. They don’t know whether to talk with us about the problem or to stay silent. Addiction is confusing and suffocating. Today, I’ll be communicative and compassionate with my family and friends as we stumble together down this road.2762
My son is in rehab right now. He was in critical care from withdrawing from heroin, he had aspiration pneumonia from inhaling his vomit. Ive been living a nightmare. No one understands how I feel. I’m his mother. Im not his brother, is friend, his sister-in-law, or his step dad. He’s my first born baby, he’ll always be my baby. It is a pain no one but parents with drug addicted children understand.
Hi, Good post. From my experience around 20+ people are effected when you take into consideration distant friends and work relationships.
This post reminds me of my first visit to a support group for parents of addicted children. The moment I entered the room people looked at me and smiled, they came up and welcomed me and began a discussion. Nowhere have I ever made closer friends so quickly. I felt comfortable in sharing my most inner conflicts and emotional struggles; as I shared I looked around the room and I would see other parents nodding their head in understanding or smiling in appreciation and compassion. No where else did I ever find this kind of understanding and support.
As I worked my own recovery program I found that it was not my responsibility to educate others. I learned not to pass judgement or be resentful to others who made hurtful statements or raised eyebrows if the subject of addiction came up. I learned not to be involved in such conversation as it weaken my recovery.
I think this has been one of the hardest things for me to understand. Even though I have told my friends I want to talk about my daughter they are still afraid to bring her up. They don’t know what to do or say especially if I cry. So I find I have a very different relationship with them now. I understand how hard it is for them so I leave out any fears, anxiety, worries to maintain the status quo. It seems so superficial and that saddens me even more but the alternative is to loose them all together.
Deep down I know they are hurting and confused too. I hope with time and patience we will be able to rebuild the relationships we once had but if not we will build new and different ones.