A mother wrote me an email message. This is part of it: I still grieve my lost son. I’m grateful that he is sober, but I don’t know this son, not really. Although he seems gentle and kind, he keeps me somewhat at arm’s length and I suspect he doesn’t know what to do with “Mom” who he is getting to know again. Some days the loss of “family” as I have defined it in my own head is overwhelming…other days, I can feel optimistic about our new beginning as a family. I need to be patient with myself.
My personal reflection on the passage offering my thoughts today: Jeff talked with a group of young recovering addicts ages fourteen to eighteen. One boy said, “I can’t even listen to the same music I used to. It brings back memories and I sometimes feel the urge to use when I hear it.” Jeff replied, “Yeah, I get it. When I got sober, I didn’t even know what color I liked. I had to learn what I was about without drugs. I had to get to know me.”
When he said this, I realized that we all have to get to know each other again. After fourteen years of drug addiction, Jeff changed, Jeremy changed and so did I. Dr. MacAfee told me, “Just stay quiet with Jeff. He’ll feel your quiet support and he’ll take the time he needs to do what he needs to do to be true to himself.”
Today’s Promise to consider: I’ll be patient with my loved one and with myself. We are growing and changing. I’ll stand quietly with him, next to him and love him through to truth.524
I love that picture of you two. It says so much. Wish I had one like that with my son. Next visit… Your words keep me calm and hopeful all will go well.
In between relapses I am so hopeful. My daughter and I share a common goal in those times. I know her well and she doesn’t fool me. She has the tools, and she knows the steps, she has to work them, to make them work for her. In times of frustration, she yells “It’s my Reovery!” and I think to myself, “well, yes it sure is, and – I don’t need to stress over yours, I have one of my own. Standing quietly makes everyone think before they speak – and that is wise
Dear Carol, Thanks for the warm comments about Jeff and me. Every day is a learning experience. Love to you!
Dear Chrissy, I love your comment that you don’t need to stress over your daughter’s recovery and that you have your own. I agree 100%!! They have their work and we have ours!! Jeff knows the steps and in one rehab center the counselor told me, “He knows the steps so well, he could teach them.” It was still five more years after that comment that Jeff got clean. No one can make them do their work except them. Love to you!
This was a great post as I needed to read every word.
I am researching how best to approach grieving the loss of the child of my dreams. My child is in late stage addiction.
This post help me understand that there is always hope and what to expect should my son, one day, accept recovery.
I need to learn more about this, any books you or others suggest etc.
In prayer for all our children.
Dear Pat, Beautifully said, “grieving the loss of the child of my dreams.” Families change around addiction and everyone suffers. I don’t know of any books, but I’ll ask Dr. MacAfee. Let’s keep our children in our prayers. L
Dear Libby, as I read your meditations and blog comments, I remind myself to be patient with myself. Even though I lost my son to addiction (in death), I have to remember daily to have patience with the grieving. Your kind words and support give me that….
I enjoyed reading your blog for the first time. Thank you all for the support!
Dear Barbara, Thank you for your compassionate message. Your support means the world to me. I am so sorry for your son’s death. Please accept my love and respect. L
I feel like I know my son so well, then there are times, I wonder! He is 5 months clean and, I am so happy for him, he is working hard. There are still things he says or does that I wonder, “Who is this?”
I am learning to be quiet, lol!! I love the advice, “Just stay quiet with Jeff”. Quiet Love, I needed this post. Thanks for all you do!
Thanks, Victoria. Learning to be quiet is not easy :), but I’m trying. We’ll try together. We’ll stay close to our sons and give them our quiet love. Love to you!
I am early in my recovery – my own, and my daughters. I talk too much,, sometimes, then I stop,, and think. She knows what I am gonna say, before I say it. Currently, she is using and it tests the new skills that I am learning in Al Anon – Detachment and Quiet Support. There is a certain serentity in “Let Go and Let God” – I find a great deal of comfort in this – Although I struggle, sometimes that seems this is the easy way out for me not to deal with it – as I said, I am still living and learning the 12 steps.
Dr MacAfee wrote, “Gabor Maté is a poet and clinician with a depth of understanding beyond anything I have recently read.
We were in an all day lecture with him a few weeks back … in spell-bound silence, our
entire clinical team sat montionless…his voice is deeply heard, if a person has an idea
of the depth of the problem…his book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts is stunning and informative.
Yes, he returns to the theme of trauma as a basis for addiction, but also redefines what trauma really
is…if you haven’t read him, please do…”
My best to you,
My son is using again and I’m realizing that the pain of being a mother of a heroin addict will never go away. The same as his addiction. Reading your book, and now finding this website is a true comfort to me. Thank you for continuing to give me hope.
Dear Carri, I am desperately sorry that your son is using again. Dr MacAfee says that relapse, if handled well, is one step closer to recovery. He says that talking about relapse in the light of a candle and not with a sledgehammer helps the addict to deal with his choices. During Jeff’s final stages, I stayed close but didn’t give him money to enable his addiciton. You are right that the pain never goes away, but hope allows us to breathe. Love to you. L
Thank you Libby. I feel like I’m doing all the right things, practicing everything I’ve learned over the past 10 years in Naranon and Alanon. It’s gotten easier to detach with love but acceptance of the reality is still a struggle. I love what Dr MacAfee said about relapse. I’m not at all angry with my son, I’m just sad for him, I know he can’t be happy with himself. I pray so often that God will speak to him and than Blake’s heart is open to his higher power to accept and want help. I’m coming to Florence in September and would love to know if you’ll be “speaking” anywhere. That would be so incredible and the highlight of my vacation.
Dear Carri, Acceptance was the hardest part for me. People would say to me, “You’ve got to accept that Jeff is an addict.” I remember thinking, “Are you nuts? If I admit it, then it makes it true. I don’t want it to be true.” I continued to deny his addiction for many years, but it hurt him and our family. With acceptance, I was able to help both of us. It IS a struggle. We’ll join together in prayer.
I don’t know my speaking schedule in September, but I’d love to meet for dinner or a coffee. I’m in the States all of August, returning to Florence on September 14. I’ll be here during the second half of September. Hope our schedules work.
With love to you and Blake.
Will you be speaking anywhere in Southern Ca in August? I live in Ventura County. My sister and I will be in Italy Sept 8-20, ending in Florence, so hopefully we can meet. It would mean so much to me.
I have a daughter with Down Syndrome that is now 28. When she was born, someone gave me this really cool poem titled “Welcome to Holland”. I’ve found this poem to have meaning for my experience with my son and his addiction as well. I wouldn’t have met people in Alanon, read books like yours’, or become the person I am today. Now, I really am buying maps and books about Italy. I really am going there! PLUS, I’ve had the chance to experience Holland. I hope you enjoy the poem.
I love to poem ‘Welcome to Holland.” It wasn’t Italy, but it was Holland and we open our arms and appreciate the present. Thanks for the important reminder.
You’ll be in Italy and I would love to meet you. I’m in the States in August and returning to Florence on September 14. Since you end in Florence, we should be here at the same time. Please stay in touch so that we can meet. I’ll help you in any way.
You’ve had many challenges in your life and I send you my love and respect. A mother’s heart knows no other way.
Love you and hope to see you soon – in Florence!!