A friend wrote to me: No mother is born equipped to fight a battle like addiction. Only love can give a parent the strength to go on. Feelings of guilt, weakness, and total confusion: I know these emotions very well. I also know that in the long run we can wear out. But in the end, each of us must fight our own battles. There is no path that works for all; there are no rules.
My reflection: I felt all these emotions: guilt for somehow ‘allowing’ addiction to take hold in my family, regret for not seeing the problem sooner, confusion as to what to do to help my addicted son and my younger son, who was affected by it, and deep grief at the chaotic lives we were living, all the while knowing I was powerless to rescue my family.
Today’s Promise to consider: There are no hard-and-fast rules to guide a parent when faced with her child’s addiction. I’ve learned that education, support groups, and insights from recovering addicts themselves are critical, but the final decisions must be ours – and ours alone. During my son’s fourteen-year illness, I made many mistakes, but I never let go of love and hope. They were the oxygen that gave me the strength to stay close and go on.4226
I followed my heart, my natural parental instincts fueled by a love that would grow stronger. My twenty-one years of experience and education dealing with my son’s addiction has allowed me to forgive myself and to realize I didn’t make any mistakes. What others consider as parent mistakes are simply necessary experiences that must be encountered in order to progress to recovery, an understanding of the disease and therefore a successful journey to personal recovery which will include the necessary tools to appropriately support the child’s recovery.
Here’s my two favorite quotes, “Don’t look back, you’re not going there!” Unknown and “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” C. S. Lewis
Dearest Pat, Your message is compassionate, kind, and wise. Thank you deeply. I love: “What others consider as parent mistakes are simply necessary experiences that must be encountered in order to progress to recovery…” I hope it’s OK with you if I use part of your message in an upcoming Thursday Meditation – as always, I won’t use your name, only, “A dad wrote to me…” Yes, we follow our heart, our natural parental instincts. My sincere thanks to you for staying close all these years. You teach me.
Libby, you may use any of my posts. I understand what it takes to do what you do and I know your wisdom have touched many lives. You are appreciated my friend.
Thankyou for your encouraging words. I feel like this will never end! I’m trying to stay close like you said but am not sure what to say sometimes because he’s not in recovery., he says he knows what to do to get recovery but can’t seem to apply it to himself. He’s not ready. I pray so hard every day that he will be soon.
Praying for you
Dearest Amy, I know that place when my son was not ready to choose a life in recovery. No matter what I did, nothing changed … until HE made the decision to get well. I join you in prayer that your son makes the decision to change his life. My love to you.
So true that only love and hope keep us going. I thought that understanding why it happens can also help, but in the end it comes to love and hope.
My son overdosed and Thanks God survived the overdose after being sober for several months, he had and has now a good life , just (re)started college after many years of active addiction. I was traveling to help my mother in Eastern Europe , we were in touch by txt everyday. I would have never guessed that something happened, if it was not for the doctors note from the ER, I found on his dresser in his college apartment . My son did not mention anything upon my return, as if nothing happened. Of course I don’t know how to approach the subject, I just know that this time I did not get a panic attack about what could have happened. I’ll focus on love and hope for my son how he is today …and I’ll continue to focus on remaining connected with my son, as you often remind us Libby.
Your Thursdays meditations are helping with so many relevant perspectives from you and other fellow parents of addicted children, I can always go back to previous weeks and find an insight, an inspiration or a reminder that help tremendously. ❤️.
Thank you for keeping this going.
Dearest Gabriela, God bless you for staying close and not reacting negatively when you discovered that your son had relapsed. You are focusing on love and hope for your son — and that’s the best, most important thing we can do. Our children must take responsibility for their health – this illness of addiction – and we can only be the supporting troops, who continue to love our children. You’re right that there is so much wisdom to be learned from other parents who have walked this walk. My love to you, and my prayers for your son’s continued recovery.