A young woman in recovery told me: I played my mother and grandmother against each other. For example, when I had a fight with one, I’d go to the other. It’s not nice to say, but I used them. I recognized the moment they were weak, and I saw clearly how I could use their love for me to my advantage. It was totally deliberate and this helped keep my addiction alive. I’m sorry for it now.
My reflection: Those in active addiction will do anything to keep using. If my son couldn’t get what he wanted from me, there were many others – family and non-family members – to whom he would go for help. His manipulations and stories were smart, creative, and effective.
Today’s Promise to consider: People suffering from addiction live a life of desperation and deceit. The user will do anything to prop up her addiction. As a result, manipulation of family and friends is common, and those who love addicts are frequently betrayed in the process. Today, I’ll open my eyes and recognize the behaviors. I’ll communicate honestly with those in my loved one’s circle and work with them to establish firm boundaries.4190
Truer words were never spoken. When our child was in active addiction, there were countless arguments between my wife and I as we had different ways of dealing with the issue. She was connected, concerned, committed. I disconnected and withdrew support from the child as well as my wife. Absolutely no progress was made in the healing process until we got on the same page and eliminated his ability to use us against each other. Once the lies and deceit were no longer effective the healing process started for the whole family.
this also made recovery and treatment more effective.
God bless your efforts to spread a message of love and communication.
Thanks, Phil. Communication and love are the bedrocks of dealing with addiction – with the addict and also with those who love them. At first, my husband and I, too, had difficulty finding a joint approach to our son’s addiction, but after educating ourselves, talking with recovering addicts, working with professionals, and attending Al-Anon meetings, we found that place. Through understanding, we moved forward with compassion. God bless our son who, like your son, is living a productive and spiritual life today.
“Today I will open my eyes and recognize behaviors. I will communicate honestly with those in my loved ones circle and work with them to establish firm boundaries.” I appreciate that this begins with “today” as the process of recovery is one day at a time. Honest communication with and from those who love my son is empowering and healthy for me.
Yes, Nora, recovery is one say at a time, for our loved ones and for us. Through honest communication, hope and healing stay alive. Love to you.
I am truly struggling with this even though my son is not in active addiction (he got drug-free by going to jail for 2 and a half years), his manipulative behaviors are still here. I am his home plan for his 5 year probation but am miserable living with him. I need to put myself first now for mental and physical reasons but he continues to try to make me feel guilty for this. I am standing strong so far but “tough love” has never worked with him in the past. When “forced” to, he has never stood strong. He has become weak to his addiction. Jail is what saved his physical life. Even though he is not using drugs now, his “street mentality” still prevails over family and relationships. He is better than when in active drug addiction and has made some improvements, however he drinks now which is causing problems. I know I need to allow him to fail and take my life back. I am so used to putting others before me!
Dearest Ellen, I understand. We mothers often put our children and their needs in front of our own, and then we discover that we are the ones dying and losing ourselves. When I finally learned to ‘stay close, but out of the chaos.’ — when I finally let go — Jeff took up his cross and carried it. You might watch the video that Jeff and I made that is on the second tab of our website. Jeff’s words are wise.
My love to you.