A mother wrote to me: I have seen firsthand the fallout caused by my son’s addiction. He has not progressed to harder substances, but legal troubles abound. He is currently facing a felony for a stupid bar fight between two drunk kids that he doesn’t even remember. I realize my son will do time in jail and that I can’t fix it. I’m not sure if helping him get legal representation is “enabling.” I’m tired of others judging me, and him.
My reflection: Where is the line between a helpful comment and harsh criticism? It’s easy for others to judge us and our choices. It’s easy to itemize what we should do or should have done differently. The reality is that most people, especially those without first-hand experience with addiction and alcoholism, have no idea of how deeply tricky is this disease.
Today’s Promise to consider: Addiction is a lonely journey, but I will walk this walk with my child and my family. Other people have many things to say, but I will find my help in Al-Anon, spirituality, and with professionals. I must stay strong and stay close.3050
As the sibling of a person who has “struggled” for years and the daughter of an enabler who made excuses for him and gave to him even when told not to, I can understand people juding. I have judged and believe that it is rightly so. I know several parents who have done the same as my Mother and alienated their other children and spouses. This is not fair and after hearing so many excuses similar to what I read in your note about him doing something between two ither people in a bar. Well, you did nto state what his part was and I can imagine that since he is facing a felony he played a big part. My question is have you ever let him go to jail and hit bottom or do you make excuses and bail him out? There is something to being close, but there is also tough love. I am sorry for your troubles, but I hear people say other judge as if they do not understand. There are those of us who do undertand and have lived it the turmoil.
My oldest of four is the addict, her three younger siblings have mirrored your anger and frustration. While I can’t say that I know what it’s like to walk in your shoes I’d like to at least offer an apology that you are even having to walk this walk. I don’t know for sure, but I am guessing that your Mother is doing / did the best she could with a situation she was not prepared for. I’m sorry, I truly am. This is a terrible situation for everybody and I think a lot of people tend to forget about the siblings. You matter, and I’m so sorry that you feel forgotten.
Amen! This brings to mind two teachings…. “judge not lest you be judged” and “he who is without sin, throw the first stone'”. Stay strong.
I learned to surround myself with those in the recovery community. They are the only one’s that will understand. I learned through my own recovery that other people’s opinions are none of my business so I paid little attention and even when they spoke what I consider hurtful remarks I learned to stop, take a deep breath and focus on all I have to be grateful for. I would then pray to God to shut their stupid mouths! 🙂
Today’s reflection resonated with me. It is all very true; addiction is this horrible chemical chain that can bind to our loved ones or ourselves and leaves us all spent and often heartbroken; judgement doesn’t help. Staying close takes lots of energy, fortunately fueled often more by love than any energy that remains, if.
I have just begun to view this site and have much compassion for all that are struggling with addiction and to the parents and siblings watching our children’s souls slowly fade away. My son has agreed and is willing to go to San Patrignano so we are beginning our process. We live in Canada and are hoping our request for Visa will not be long or difficult. Do you know of anyone from Canada that has gone to San Pat and if the process was difficult in getting there. I have read some posts from people living in the states who have had difficulties.
Addiction is confounding. We are taught to help those we love, yet with addiction what does help look like?
Yes, Lorrie, I tried tough love. I threw Jeff out of the house, refused his calls and told him that I wished he wasn’t my son. This didn’t help Jeff. Maybe it will help others, I don’t know.
What helped my son was ‘stay close, but out of the chaos.’ The Italian recovering alcoholic said to me, “Stay Close, but don’t give him money, never and for nothing.” My son went to jail, stayed in jail and came out and went back to drugs. When I finally told him, “I love you, but you need to fight this battle. I’m here, but I won’t give you money. I’ll wait for you to help yourself,” he took up his cross. He says clearly that the consequences of his addiction made his chose sobriety. He had to choose to live or die. I thank God every day that my son chose to live.
This post says only, “Don’t judge me. I’m doing my best. You might not agree with me and you might think I’m totally wrong, but trust me that I am doing only what I can do at this point.” Compassion is key.
My comments come from the point of someone that stayed close and did and did and did some more. Compassion came at a great price to all of us becasue our mother could not stop hurting herself and us in order to help one child. I am very compassionate, but recently I have become tired of people wanting others to understand when they make excuses and enable. That is hard to understand after being in the world for years. Just like an article recently in the Post Gazette where the author stated that “the system let her Mother down…” because it did not monitor her when she left rehab and so on. The system did not let her Mother down. If they were worried about their Mother why did they not take her under their arms and help her, ojnce again? The system and everyone else is supposed to be responsible. This is really what is wrong; people what to do what they want and not be held responsible for their actions. Adfter amny years of tears, reflection and even therapy and meetings I have come to learn that taking responsibility from others hurts them and does not help, so making excuses does not help. If people believe they “are doing their best…” they should not worry about being judged. It is when people start telling me that I should not judge I start to think what is it that they do not want judged?
Also, this was really not directed towards you and Jeff, but the person who wrote the article.
My dearest Lorey,
I understand. In fact, addiction created resentments and trauma in our family, and we are still healing, even after 10 years of sobriety. There are no easy answers and maybe no answers at all. It’s a sad and terrible road for all of us. I’m sorry for you and your family, for me and mine, and for all those who continue to suffer. One mother once told me, “I don’t even remember who we were before the addiction came in and flooded our home.”
My love to you,
I talked with my son, Jeff, about your post and he wanted me to thank you for your honesty and openness. He said, “I’m grateful that people feel safe on the blog to voice their feelings and concerns. All the emotions around addiction are legitimate and important. Please thank Lorey for her honesty and contributions.”
Love to you, Lorey.
Libby and Jeff