JB - 2.jpgA mom wrote to me, My son was living at home, staying off drugs, working at a job and working out, but he left today. I told him I loved him with a heavy heart! This was our last time of letting him live with us…now he needs to be the change if he wants it. Love and detach…stay close…..so hard. We offered him treatment. My prayer is that he stays safe. God give me the strength to accept this.

My reflection: Loving and detaching – I struggled with this dichotomy for years. How could I love my son and detach at the same time? But in the end, it was the blending of these two that made the difference in my son’s life. I learned to stay close, but out of the chaos. I answered his calls and texts, but I finally moved out of the way.

Today’s Promise to consider: Dealing with addiction is counterintuitive: I need to stay close and continue to love my addicted child, but I also need to protect myself from the consequences of his choices. Today, I will accept that he needs to make the decision to change his life. I need to accept, surrender and pray for strength, for both of us.









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9 years ago

This post inspired me. It is such a hard mixedness at times.

We can dwell in contradiction
We can live in hopeful sadness
We can love no matter what
We can transcend addiction’s madness.

We can celebrate each day we’re living
We can live recovery every day
We can commit to every soul’s healing
We can reach out to each other

And …we can HOPE and we can pray.

And we can be strong in the face of our worst fear and tragedy. I’ve learned that here–from Barbara.
Detaching doesn’t mean I’ve stopped caring, it only means I’ve let go of my desired results — SURRENDERED Fully — finally, I realized caring for myself first is maybe the best way to care for others. Be there for my sons wherever they are, but be aware I must create positive space in my life for a life beyond the grasp of the disease of addiction.
Such a road. Thank you for reminding us we keep on learning.

pat nichols
pat nichols
9 years ago

I remember telling my wife, “I don’t want you to ever talk to our son again. If he calls – hang up on him. He is no longer our son.” I have never forgot this exchange or the anger and fear that created it.

I even went to my attorney to see if I could file some legal document to disown my son. I told him I was willing to place a public notice in the paper. I paid $125.00 just to have him look at me like I was crazy. Heck, everyone else was also looking at me like I was crazy and they did it for free!

We want to disconnect from our addicted children in order to preserve our own sanity (Libby spoke of this in her book, Stay Close, see pages 208-210) . I think this is necessary at first but with education on the disease, working with a licensed drug and alcohol counselor, working the twelve steps with a sponsor you can take their calls again without enabling and be a positive influence for their future recovery.

My sadness and not wanting to talk with my son is understandable. For me, this was a stage of grief I was going through. I didn’t realize it at the time but what I was doing was beginning to grieve the loss of the child of my dreams. A vital process necessary to continue my own recovery. A recovery that is now strong and rooted in the Twelve Steps of Families Anonymous and guided by God.

The addicted brain doesn’t see “consequences” because consequences is something in the future and the diseased brain only acts in the moment. It really can’t determine or contemplate future consequences for present actions. This is the insanity we speak of, the insanity of the disease. Now, once I accepted this then I was able to communicate more effectively with him and in a loving way. Love gave hope to my addicted child. Hope is the fuel that will eventually ignite his desire for long term recovery.

I focused on how I could penetrate addictions armor with the greatest power on this earth, the love a parent has for their child. You see, addiction does not have the ability to stop this type of pure love, which fuels hope, which creates recovery.

The love I speak of is formulated and cleansed through the Twelve Step of Families Anonymous. It is a healing love. A healing love for the child, for me and all who love the child.

The love I speak of also gave me courage to continue to fight the good fight.

There is much to be thankful for. Truly there is.

Joan Cook
Joan Cook
9 years ago
Reply to  pat nichols

Very well said.

9 years ago

Thank you

9 years ago

Lovely. Thanks. I needed that.

9 years ago

Very inspiring, Pat. You help many parents through your experience. You continue to teach all of us the meaning of love after the anger of addiction almost kills us.

Joy, your words are always so positive and enlightening. Thank you.

I, like Pat, tried to disown my son. I went years not knowing where he was, unless he was in prison. He always wrote me heartfelt letters from prison. He was such an intelligent man. He wrote like a scholar and had little education, really.

My son’s birthday was Sept. 12th. He would have been 47 years old. May he rest in peace, in the arms of our savior.

Love to all,