PROTECTING MYSELF/BOUNDARIES

This is part of a journal entry that I wrote four years ago: My son wants to come home for the summer and he says he’s clean. What do I do? The mom part says, “Be there for him. Trust him. Believe him. Open the door and allow him to come home.” The other part, the logical part, says, “He’s lying and he’ll just come home and get high. He’ll have too much time on his hands and trouble with follow. It always has.” Two extremes! What do I do?

My personal reflection on the passage above, offering my thoughts today: Addiction often threw me into extremes, and I swung between yes and no, give and take, punishments and gifts. These extremes didn’t help my son because my mixed messages led to added confusion and lack of boundaries. He needed boundaries that he could count on to keep him safe. As things spiraled out of control, my behavior became increasingly chaotic. I felt exhausted and I felt desperate. In turn I flipped between acting with kindness and dolling out punishments. I needed to protect myself and work toward stability.

Today’s promise to consider, for all of us who love addicts: I am not a puppet for addiction’s sake. I will seek help from experts and from those in Al-Anon. I need boundaries to keep myself safe – for my son, my family and myself.

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Alison
Alison
12 years ago

thank you for reminding me of this. I read your book,and am dealing with my 22 year old son who is using oxycontin. Your book and your blog have given me the courage and realization to recognize what is going on and not give in and try to solve all his problems. My husband and I have been in a spiral of doing this for too long.

Nanci
Nanci
12 years ago

I can’t begin to express my gratitude to you and your family for having the strength and courage to write a most powerful book. It has helped me tremendously as I continue to struggle with loved ones, afflicted with this horrible disease. Your daily reflections/promises provide unwavering support, hope and strength during these dark and desperate times. Special thanks to Jeff and Jeremy for sharing their stories. I now realize after all these years, that there ‘is no finish line…’ we can only take one day at a time.

Libby
Libby
12 years ago

Thank you both for reaching out here. Addiction thrives in times that are ‘dark and desperate.’ You are correct: There is no finish line and we will never give up hope. We need courage and strength. You are not alone.

Pat N.
12 years ago

Yes, this post was very good. We need this reminder.

I also recommend reading Libby’s book, “Stay Close.”

Lisa
Lisa
12 years ago

Our family has been dealing with my son’s constant abuse of prescription drugs for the last few years and we were in deep denial for a long time. Unfortunately it took his getting into very serious legal trouble for us to truly open our eyes. I bought your book a while back but only read it this summer. It helped me tremendously to finally acknowledge the truth. I have spent practically every waking hour trying to “fix” him and his problems. I’m so ashamed and I hide from people around town who I know have heard about his issues. I’m just now starting to try to get my life back. I wish I had read your book sooner because it lead me to really look inward and start studying a 12 step program. Today he’s clean but I live in constant fear and I know that we have a long way to go.

Libby
Libby
12 years ago

Thanks, Lisa, for reaching out here. You’re not alone. I know the shame, the desolation and the angst. We parents want to ‘fix’ our children, but we can’t. Dr. MacAfee told me, “Be patient with yourself. You’ve worried about Jeff for a long time. It will take time to trust.” We all have a long way to go. Let’s keep each other and our families in prayer.

Blackjack
11 years ago

Can I just say what a reduction to seek out someone who truly is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet. You positively know how you can bring a difficulty to gentle and make it important. More people need to learn this and perceive this facet of the story. I cant believe youre not more in style because you positively have the gift.

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Thank you, Blackjack, for your support and compassion. Addiction teaches us many hard and valuable lessons and I’ve learned a lot from my son and his therapist. My best to you!!!

Carri
Carri
11 years ago

I went looking for a topic that fit with where I’m at today and found this one from last year. I’m struggling with trying to keep boundaries AND stay close at the same time. My 27 year old son is in jail on a violation of probation and a new drug charge. The last time he was in jail I visited him regularly, accepted collect calls, put money on his books and wrote him letters… After nearly 9 years of this drug related chaos I’m trying something new; I’ve blocked my phone, haven’t put money on his books or visited him, but I have started writing to him in an attempt to “stay close”. I’m finding it hard to know what to say when I write to him. I tell him I love him and miss him and fill him in on whats going on at home. I feel as though I’m acting like he’s at “camp” or something, but how much heavy stuff can I write to him? He knows what he needs to do so it’s only lecturing him to remind him or offer advise. Maybe I should just not write to him, but I want him to know that I still care.

After reading what I’m currently writing I can see that I need an Alanon meeting! Thanks for having a place for me to go and share my feelings. You’re a great inspiration!

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Dear Carri,

I once asked Dr MacAfee the same kind of question, “What do I say to Jeff? How do I stay close and out of the way?” He told me something like, “Just tell him, ‘Jeff, addiction can kill you and I believe that you’ll fight this. I learn from you.” I do know that Jeff needed time to think about his life and to find his own sobriety. He read and wrote and thought.

You are correct that you can’t lecture him. Jeremy, my younger son, once told me, “I know what you’re going to say before you say it. Don’t you think I know your advice?”

No one can tell you what to do or not to do. Don’t we all wish there were answers? I know that I wanted answers – clear and simple. Stay Close was the best advice I ever heard: Don’t abandon your son, but don’t give him money.

Maybe this video will help? Jeff and I made it for the Partnership for Drug Free America. I pray Jeff’s words give you some solace. http://www.youtube.com/youarenotalone

Love to you, Carri. I join you in prayer.

Libby