Jeremy asked me (May, 2009): “How will you end the story about Jeff?”
I admitted, “I don’t know, Jer. It’s not my story to end.”
His answer was clear, “But that’s the point. We don’t know what will happen to Jeff, but no one can ever take away our hope. You have to end the story in hope.”
And we did.
My reaction today: Jeremy was wise. In the midst of Jeff’s fight against his addiction, Jeremy, the younger brother, knew that we could never give up hope. He held tightly to this even when my resolve faltered. Jeremy helped me to be strong.
Today’s Promise to consider: Jeff is healthy today and our family is deeply grateful. We are humble as we continue to learn and grow each day. Jeremy taught me that hope is a powerful source of strength.
Don’t forget where he learned that from and who have gave him this invaluable lesson and advice on life..He saw you live this ideal, not only say it. We only recognize what we give and teach people when they turn around and give it back to us when we need it most. And this is one of the most beautiful experiences in life,a gift given typically during the darkest hours..the glimpse of light we need most.
I understand and do not disagree with the importance of hope.
However, I have another perspective. I am the father of a 35 year old chronically addicted child and over the course of my addiction journey with him I clung to my only means of survival, which was “hope.”
Unfortunately, I feel I used my “hope” in a destructive way. I would see the consequences of his actions and “hope” that this consequence would be the one that would change him. I would then intervene inappropriately to act on this “hope” and then my codependency tendencies would take over I would begin my path to helping him destroy himself.
I didn’t know I was in his way of recovery. I simply used my sense of “hope” to give myself justification for making myself feel better while, in fact, becoming a barrier to his recovery.
Very interesting insight. You gave me something really important to think about! Thank you
Dear Pat, I agree with Gina, very interesting insight. Because of what you wrote, I believe that I made the same mistake (my codependencies). It’s very difficult when emotions get in the way. We’re human and it’s almost impossible to “change” the way we feel inside.
Hope is a virtue that we all share and I thank God every day for all of you, especially Libby. I have found so much solace from the words of all who participate here. We are very special people. We’ve bonded in a way that a lot of people have never experienced.
I hope that we continue to share with each other. It’s been a life saving source for me.
With lots of love and prayers for all our children who live in the throes of addiction,
Hope. Yes mine too has faltered a lot recently. when we discussed this at an al anon meeting recently a fellow participant had a different perspective on hope. He said the hope was for us not our qualifiers. Hope forOurRecovery. I don’t really need hope for me though as I feel I am at a good place in my recovery.
Pat I really can relate to what you said. I’m finally learning how to get out of the way of his recovery. My husband is learning more slowly but he is improving slowly. It is god awfully hard. So very difficult when it is the parent child relationship
Love you all in a very special way
Hello to all above…For me, this message reminds me of how this disease affects the entire family. I am so grateful to my other two sons, who have (gently and respectfully) helped me NOT to lose hope, even in the face of multiple (ugly and frightening) relapses followed by devastating consequences. My other sons continue to offer unwavering support to my son who struggles with addiction. They are precious, they remain hopeful and they are gentle with me. In fact, they have taught me to be more gentle with myself.
As Libby states, there is no finish line with addiction. However, we can all stay together and offer support, encouragement and remain hopeful for our recovery and our loved ones.
I so needed to hear what you wrote. Hope is what I try to have, but sometimes my hope turns into helping. I struggle with my responses to my son who is now 25 years old and within the past 3 weeks trying to stay sober with one relapse (that I know of) in that short time. Almost 10 years total of the ups and downs. When he is on the verge of staying clean, it becomes a time of uneasy feelings…trying to be a family again, still not helping, but always thinking what if this is the time. Then I catch myself sooner or later knowing that the one thing I do or do not do will not be the deciding factor of him using again. Very draining at times.
Thanks so much for your time with this blog. It is very helpful and encouraging. I see the pictures you post of your family and then I can feel the hope again on those days where I lose sight of it. Reading everyones comments brings comfort.
Best to all, Katherine
Katherine we have all been there and are still there too. What we do or do not do,say or do not say ultimately is not the clincher to their sobriety. It must come from them. And yes it is draining for us which is why we have to try hard not to focus so much on them. Turn the focus on us. We need recovery too. Be well.
Even though my son died from addiction, I never gave up hope. I always hoped he would eventually want sobriety. At times, I really and truly think he did. Addiction is just that strong. It can be stronger than anyone’s will.
Yes, it is emotionally draining. It’s important to stay out of the way (like Libby always says). Jane has an important point. We all need to focus on our recovery. If we can help ourselves, we may just be able to help our loved ones who are addicts.
Dear Libby, hope everything is ok with you and yours, as we normally hear from you by this time each week. You and your family are in my prayers.
You are adorable and I thank you for thinking of me. I’ve been traveling and just arrived back in the States. I’ll be ‘home’ for two weeks before returning to Italy. Still adjusting to the time difference, I’m just now getting back to things.
Jeff and I speak in NY City (Long Island) this coming week to a high school with 3,000 students! We’re working hard on our presentation because we have one class period of 42 minutes with each group. Children are my life and I’ve spoken to hundreds of kids before, but I must admit that speaking about this story in front of 3,000 teenagers does give me pause :). Please keep Jeff and me in your good thoughts and prayers.
I thank everyone who is involved in this blog as we continue to learn together. Lots of honesty here and this leads to healing. Our comments are positive and helpful and I’m grateful.
I’m grateful to you, Barbara, for sharing your heart with us. You are very special to all of us.
Love to all,
Dear Libby, I wish you and Jeff best of luck with your trip to Long Island. You both will be in my thoughts and prayers this week. The Holy Spirit will be with you, and the words will just flow…..
Thank you for your very kind words.
Libby have a great trip..what part of Long Island?
Jane and Barbara,
Thank you for your encouraging words.
Jane, Jeff and I will be at the Patchogue School System in Long Island.
Katherine, You are correct that we can’t ‘make’ or ‘keep’ our loved ones sober. I once told Jeff, “I’m not leaving Maryland because I want to stay here and help you.” His response, “I’m going to do what I’m going to do whether you’re in Maryland or not.” And he did just that. He relapsed and it took another two years before HE made the decision to get clean. Every day, he must choose again. Every day, I pray.
Love to you all,
You are an angel, and I send you my love. You saw me as Jeff’s and Jeremy’s mom and now you are a mom :). Life goes on and we try to do our best for ourselves, but mostly for our children. Please know that you will always be tucked safely in my heart.
Love you, Laura, from Jeff, Jeremy and me.
If it wasn’t such a busyt week at work I’d drive there I’ m in Westchester county just 30 min north of NYC
Be safe and God be with you both as you speak to these kids!
Thanks, Jane. Our prayer is that we touch even one child, one parent. Keep us in your good thoughts and prayers.
EVERYONE’s words seem to “hit home”. You all may not realize how a few typed words can affect someone else, but belive me they do at least they HELP me to deal with my childs addiction. Pat has made me look at HOPE in a diffent sense. I too have used my “hope” unknowingly in a destructive way. Its so helpful getting some insight providing by every post here!
THANKING & SENDING BLESSINGS TO YOU ALL along with prayers for healing
Thanks for reaching out and writing. You are right that a few typed words can offer a new way of thinking. A few typed words can help us to see that we are not alone. You are not alone. We are all walking in the same shoes.
Blessings back to you.
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