A friend wrote to me: I think no one but an addict’s mother, family, and loved ones will ever truly understand how much courage, love, and suffering it takes to do nothing. Even staying close means the sacrifice of witnessing without taking the actions that blind love demands. How admirable and impossibly painful it is to love without attempting to rescue.
My reflection: When our children are young, we kiss their wounds and make things better. Addiction robs us of that ability, of that gift. As they get older, we can provide counsel and support.
Today’s Promise to consider: If love could have cured my son, he would have never suffered a fourteen-year heroin addiction. Sadly, love can’t eradicate an illness. Through that stretch of time, I stayed close and continued to love him, but I was powerless to change the course of his disease. The decision to live in the solution had to be made by him. Today, let us act with compassion. Let us find our boundary between loving and rescuing.4707
I live these words!
Dear Anne Marie, Thank you for your strong, affirmative response. My love to you, and prayers for all those suffering.
Amen thank you this goes right to the heart ♥️
Dear Laurie, My son (in recovery) said the same thing when he read the entry, “This goes right to the heart of addiction.” Thank you. xo
This is the most profound lesson. To not rescue. To stand by, let go and let God and know the journey is their own. My son taught us that. This is a lesson I am still learning in so many ways. The difference between Compassion and what is called “idiot compassion.” With compassion we deeply care, stay close ,the other, we spin our wheels doing things we think will help but really only helps us feel we are dong something. Isn’t that better than nothing ? No. Loving is not nothing. Just loving is everything. Being there, meeting them where they are. Hard but so respectful. It is not about us. It is their disease which can swallow us if we do not stay out of chaos. I love the poem The Journey by Mary Oliver. These last lines “as you strode deeper and deeper into the world,determined to do the only thing you could do –determined to save the only life that you could save. ” She means of course, we must let others live their own lives and in letting go, fully living ours, we save our own lives in the same way those we love who suffer, must re-cover theirs. We are together on the journey as families and friends but we need to see we walk different and separate paths from those we love who suffer fomr disease of addiction. It is the hardest thing of all for me for how can we feel happiness, find peace when someone we love is in pain? We each have to answer that in our own way. At least, that is my ongoing lesson. I do not always follow the wisdom or do this with Grace. But I keep trying. Bless you and all you do.
Dearest Joy, Your words are full of wisdom, hard-fought wisdom, honed at the edge of despair and pain. Your love is evident in every word, as is your compassion and deep understanding of the disease of addiction, and of life. I join you in the never-ending road of learning, and I continue to pray for Grace. My love to you, always.
I love this! It’s so hard as a Mom to love them with boundaries & compassion & not to rescue them. Thanks for your work. Bless you.
Dear Jan, Yes, yes, yes. This was my hardest lesson, too — to love with boundaries and compassion. I’m still learning. xoxo
So true ❤ thanks
Dear Laurie, Thanks for your compassion and understanding. We walk together. xo
As a grandmother, I still play the conversations in my head, that I wish I had had with Kyle. Maybe one sentence, one word, would have stuck…. I’m familiar with addiction, having lived with some form of it all my life. I know I’m powerless, especially over another’s disease. Still my heart breaks, with … I should have done… I should have said…I should NOT HAVE,!!!! Maybe if?? The choice was his. The opportunities to heal were his! But, Dear God, why couldn’t I help him!
Oh, my dearest Ginny, How I understand. I know how it is to replay conversations in my head: what could I have said differently, how could I have done to make a difference, what did I miss, what should I have not said? Yes, our hearts break. Maybe if? How could we be powerless when we love with such strength? But – in the end – you’re right: The choice was his. I’m so sorry. My love to you.
Our children find their own recovery through suffering and so do the parents! I was told by my counselor how best to proceed but did I follow her advice? No, I allowed my heart to continue to lead me. I went to see my counselor weekly and after I discussed a particular situation with my son and how I intervened etc, she looked me straight in the eye and calmly said, “You are not ready yet, this is our final session.” I was fired by my counselor! I had a serious case of codependency!! What I really needed was more suffering and that’s is exactly what I got. Eventually, the suffering got so great I had no choice but to turn my life over to God and trust Him! I went to another counselor and listened carefully and did what he told me. I joined a 12 step program and worked the steps with a sponsor. I educated myself fully on the disease of addiction. I eventually found my recovery, my peace and serenity returned. My son eventually found his own recovery after 21 years of addiction. He has been clean for just over seven years and is a joy to be around Never give up!
Dearest Pat, Thank you. Your story is powerful. You were fired by your counselor, and her words ring in my ears, “You are not ready yet.” I wasn’t ready for fourteen years, not until my son was almost dead. I give thanks every day for the recovering alcoholic who told me, “Stay Close, but don’t give him money for any reason.” You’re right that education is the key. The more we learn about addiction, the better prepared we are for its excruciating pain and suffering. God bless your son!! He suffered at 21-year addiction and has been clean for over seven years!!!! I join you in the resounding words, “Never give up!” xo