HOPE IN THE FACE OF DESPAIR

A mother wrote to me: I enjoy your weekly emails, but recently have begun to feel resentful and jealous of these inspirational stories. I guess that’s because after all these years, I feel powerless and hopeless. My hope has turned to fear and my love is turning to hate. I am financially and emotionally drained. My son has been to seven different rehabs and is currently in detox. He was sober for eighteen months while being monitored in a drug-court program, but started using again after he completed the program. I have no strength to go on. I am desperately seeking help, but no longer know where to turn. 

My reaction: I thank this mother for writing because I, too, know this feeling of pain and resentment. I have felt my hope turning to fear and my love on the verge of despair. I have wondered why another family seemed to be doing well and mine didn’t. Why do some kids achieve and succeed while others don’t? Why is my son an addict when many of his friends are not? I’ve learned there are no answers. And when I stopped searching for them, I found peace.

Today’s Promise to consider: Bad things happen to good people. This is a hard, but undeniable fact of life. I acknowledge that my loved one and my family are in pain; however, even when faced with hardship, I’ll work hard to maintain hope. I’ll reach out my hand for support to Al-Anon and in prayer. As long as there is life, there is hope.

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Hope
Hope
9 years ago

Thank you Libby. I can sympathize with the mother. When the search lead me to know I cannot heal the one I love most –I thought I might not go on — that truth and reality paralyzed me. I mean physically too. I stopped wlaing and exrcising– things I loved before. It was grief took up residency in every cell in my body. Facing the rage and despair and fear and bitterness was like seeing the beast within I never knew was there. It felt/sometimes –still feels– soul swallowing. I am not at peace — but I am trying with everything I have to do “pain management” for now and keep on keeping on. Your book and your blog have taught me much and reminded me of one important thing — whether a child is in active addiction or in recovery— their healing is a journey not a destination. The prayers here and the new connections in the real world , working from book one day at a time– life saving. I know I want another beautiful Libby book —like Strategies for Survival for Families of Addicts. Maybe your version of Chicken Soup books. Just sayin’. More Like Cataldi’s Healing Soup. I am ever hopeful. Thank you for words of salvation and prayers from all who gather here. Blessings to us all.

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

Thank you Libby, for this weeks’ meditation. Many of us have been where the mother (who wrote to you) has been. But what hit me the hardest was her statement that her love is turning to hate. I know what that feels like, and it’s the most horrible feeling of hopelessness and despair. I used to question how I could have a son who is an addict and a daughter who is successful with two beautiful daughters. I came to realize (with the help of many many support groups, doctors, etc.) that each and every one’s brain is “wired” differently and the brain is one of the most complex machines in our world. Even the most intelligent neurosurgeons do not know why or how our brains work. Therefore, when Libby says “there are no answers” – there really are no answers. And, because of this, we feel hopeless. But, because we “feel” hopeless, doesn’t mean there is no hope.

As difficult as it is to cope, I found that what keeps me grounded is prayer (of course) and lots and lots of support. But, I had to go out and find it. I found books, support groups, psychologists, social workers, etc. And, I learned new and different things from each and every one of them. I use the knowledge in my every day life, now.

It’s hard work. But, as Libby says, as long as there is life, there is hope. We can’t give up. If we give up, then hope will die. Try to do something every day to keep your hope alive. Call or text your loved one for no reason at all,just to say “hi”. (I regret not doing this enough, while my son was alive.)

Let’s hold hands and face the coming days together. Together we can make a difference. The difference may just be what our loved ones need to get up and face their day without drugs.

With much love to all the parents who have addicted children.

Barbara

Hope
Hope
9 years ago

Amen Barbara. Takes a lot of work and people to get us though. The hate and anger can turn to love and compassion Prayer is essentiial. “He was able to love them again, but he loved them now in a wiser way, –” Last night I dreamt I got the phone call ( the one I fear) and the person on tho other end was my late father telling me my son was dead. The pain was unbearable. I woke up sobbing.) BUt in my dream I said to my father, maybe he will finally be at peace. These thoughts pass through us. But the pain was unbearable and I woke up knowing I still want him alive no matter how harsh his life and even if he is dead to me. It was clear and I am glad because I have so wrestled with finding relief from pain and felt guilty about my thinking. Thought of all here who have wrestled with so many emotions and those who’ve lost their children and how much you give to us. This is the second dream in two weeks with my father and my son.I think this is a strong message to me to let go and let God. There are angels in human form. Yes, let;s keep finding each other.

Pat Nichols
Pat Nichols
9 years ago

I just wanted to share how much I appreciate Hope and Barbara’s posts.

So many truths.

Continued prayers for all of us.

Pat

Libby
Libby
9 years ago

Dear Barbara and Hope,

I join Pat in thanking you for your wisdom and for sharing it with us. Barbara, you have such strength and courage, earned through unbearable pain. Thank you for being here and for offering your support to us. I learn from you. Hope, thank you for your unflinching honesty. Your dreams tell a story. As my Jungian psychologist friend once told me when I dreamed of my father, “You need to honor your dream.” God bless you.

My love to you both,

L

Beverly
Beverly
9 years ago

I’ve just joined the blog at the suggestion of dear, wise Libby. I am sitting here in tears, because like both of you, I’ve learned that addiction is truly a “ghost who goes away for awhile, and comes back. My son was in recovery after his second rehab. Things were falling into place for him, after financial and emotionally draining experiences. My 4 year old grandson was able to see his Dad after 4 months,and as he was leaving, asked his Dad “when will I see you again, Dad?” We were all so happy . . until 3 days ago, when my son relapsed and is about to go to jail (for probation violation). I am in utter disbelief and feeling so much grief. Like you, I’ve realized that after 4 years of my support (both emotional and financial), I cannot be his Savior. I understand the disease is a horrible demon that affects the addict and so many loved ones surrounding. God Bless!!

Libby
Libby
9 years ago

Dear Beverly,

Thanks for joining us. We are all here because we are joined together in the pain of addiction and relapse. Barbara, our dearest friend, has lost her son to the disease.

My eyes filled with tears when I read the words of your little one asking when he would see his dad again. I’m so sorry. You are correct that we cannot be their savior, no matter how hard we try. Such a deep, deep sadness. My love to you.

L

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

Dear Beverly,

Welcome to Libby’s forum. Thanks to her, we have a place we that we can come. A place where we can listen to each other and learn from one another. I lost my son to this horrible disease. Shortly after, I found Libby’s book at the library and read it. Even though it was after my son overdosed and passed away, I found that the book helped me understand why I felt the way I did. As mothers, we think that we can save our children from whatever harms them. But, when they’re adults, we can’t save them. They must save themselves.

I am so sorry to hear about your son and his relapse. How sad for your grandson.

I pray your son will soon realize that his son needs a father who is sober. I will pray that your grief be lessened and your heart be healed, for I know there’s a hole in your heart right now.

God bless you,

Barbara