A mom wrote to me: I remember my son saying two things to me about relapse:
1) Relapse is part of recovery, but not an excuse for me to use again. If I do relapse, it is on me. 2) I am not “cured.’ I am an addict getting better, but the pilot light is always on.
After the death of my son, my advice to parents is to just keep loving your child, exactly where he is on this journey. Say I love you often. Accept that you are powerless except in prayer and mother love. You will never regret your kindness and firmness.
My reflection: It took me years to understand that relapse wasn’t my son’s attempt to betray me and our family, and it wasn’t his desire to hurt us, but it was just what it was – a lapse and then a relapse. Relapse wasn’t the time for me to say to him, “Ah, I caught you. You did it again,” but it was the time to say, “Fight. I believe in you. You CAN do it. You are loved.”
Today’s Promise to consider: Alcoholics Anonymous has a saying that while the addict is in recovery, their addiction is in the parking lot doing pushups, biding its time and getting ready to pounce. Today, let us recognize that recovery is a journey, sometimes with many hills and deep valleys. Let us have love and pride for those who are living in the solution, and compassion and hope for those who are struggling.
I progressed slowly in my understanding of my son’s disease. The difficult task of actually accepting it as a disease, a primary disease, a mental illness was one of my greatest hurdles to eventually finding my own peace and serenity while also putting me in a place to “appropriately” support my son’s recovery. Each time my son would relapse and attempt recovery I would jump in to fix his past consequences. I would buy him some nice cloths, find him a job and whatever else I deemed necessary to get him back to the child of my dreams. Here’s what I eventually learned, the child of my dreams was gone and would never return. In addition, each time I did for him what he could do for himself I prolonged his recovery and I indirectly participated in his next relapse. And now the good news, If we let the disease wear itself out and we support our child with love, understanding and forgiveness we will get our child back, not the child of our dreams, but a new child, a child in long term recovery. A new and loving bond will form and it will be stronger than you could ever imagine. You will see the child as a miracle and be in awe each time you are together. Continued prayers for all of us. Never give up!
Yes, yes, yes, Pat — I did the same thing. Every time my son relapsed, I jumped in to fix things, until I realized that I was abetting the addiction and helping it to thrive. I love your sentences: “A new and loving bond will form and it will be stronger than you could ever imagine. You will see the child as a miracle and be in awe each time you are together.” May your love and compassion reach many others who continue to suffer. My sincere thanks.
Thanks Pat. I am so proud of my daughter who is in recovery. She does lapse/relapse but gets back up and keeps going back to the fellowship Programme. All we can do is show unconditional love. Your words have really hit home. Thank you.
I think that is one wise and wide awake woman. (; xo Much love and prayers to all. Thank you, dear Libby, Jeff, Jeremy.
Dearest Joy, Yes, wise words from a woman, who has suffered much, and has the courage to reach out a hand to help others. I’ve learn from you. Hard-fought wisdom resonates with our souls. Thank you.
Dear Joy, A mom just wrote to me: Relapse is such an excellent meditation today. What really caught my attention was: The mother saying :
my advice to parents is to just keep loving your child, exactly where he is on this journey. Say I love you often. Accept that you are powerless except in prayer and mother love. You will never regret your kindness and firmness. I try to practice this, kindness and firmness.
Thank you all, such wise words, they give me great comfort.
My love to you, Kathleen. We’ll join in prayer for peace.