A mom wrote to me: He doesn’t call for weeks. Then calls and says his cell phone was stolen from his car that he left unlocked while he went into a convenience store for a second. The next week he lost his dog, saying he left the window open, the dog got frightened, hopped out the window and ran away. Stories don’t jive. But I just listen. Dog is found. Wait for the next crisis. What is important in the long run I ask myself? Don’t criticize, just listen. Don’t give advice. He’s 41. Just stay close.
My reflection: With addiction, there is always drama and chaos. During the years that Jeff was using, I felt as if I were walking on floorboards that weren’t nailed down. As I walked, I was never sure when a board would come loose and hit me in the back of my head.
Today’s Promise to consider: The addict chases the drug and we chase the addict. Addiction throws us into a state of constant apprehension and worry as we wait for the next traumatic event. It is a depleting, debilitating cycle. What is important in the long run? I agree with this mother who wrote, “Don’t criticize, just listen. Don’t give advice. Just stay close.” I had to learn how to stay close, but out of the chaos of my son’s addiction.2931
We all walk on those same floorboards and we all keep getting hit in the back of our heads. First, there is no blame or shame and I would encourage all parents to never look back and judge yourself on what you could have done differently. Recovery through support groups like Families Anonymous and Al-Anon give us the strength and guidance we need to stay close but out of the chaos of our children’s addiction. Remember, in order for addiction to survive it must have enablers. Without enablers it will wear itself out and then recovery can begin.
I can never thank you enough Libby. I found you about 3 yrs ago & felt so relieved and elated to read your book. Since then my son has had a Bipolar diagnosis and so now is dual diagnosis. Every time I receive your Thursday blog I feel so connected as I leave to teach a NAMI Family 2 Family class for families who cope daily for the balance and knowledge of self care amid the turmoil. Thank you so much for being my family – I love the photos of those you love.