NEVER QUIT BELIEVING

A mother wrote an email message to me: My son just left rehab after another relapse to alcohol. Of course, he is doing really well ‘for now.’ He always says he can ‘get it,’ but he just can’t ‘keep it.’ My heart goes out to all families who are dealing with the sadness and worry about what they can do for their child. I don’t believe that the answer to my son’s addiction is to cut him loose and abandon him. I can’t enable his addiction, but neither will I ever give up the hope that my son will live a happy and fulfilled life.

My personal reflection on the passage above offering my thoughts today: In my memory, I can hear Jeff tell me, “I won’t be thirty and like this, Mom. I’ll get it. I promise I will.”  I never realized the self-loathing that the addict feels until Jeff was clean and helped me to understand.

After one of his many relapses, he said to me, “Mom, please don’t quit believing.” It was almost as if he was hanging onto my belief in him to give him the strength to keep trying. In fact, another time he said, “You believe in me more than I believe in myself.” Addicts, especially those who relapse often, have a long history of failure. Someone has to believe.

Today’s Promise: I won’t quit believing. Even though my heart breaks again, I will stay close, pray and hope.

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Angela
Angela
11 years ago

My brother-in-law just finished rehab and he lives with me. He no longer has his license so, I drive him everwhere he needs to go: work every day, to see his parents on the weekends, and to run all of his errands.
The December DWI was his fourth. He has jail time coming up too.
I believe people can change and I believe in him.
All I can do is take care of him and give him a safe loving environment in which to heal.
Thank you for today’s meditation! <3

Claire
Claire
11 years ago

The Naranon/Alanon program always stressed to never give up on the addict, there is always a chance they can turn their lives around as long as you believe and they are alive. I never forgot this concept even when I thought all was hopeless…some just take longer than others and we never know what will be their “bottom”.

Victoria
Victoria
11 years ago

I will never give up on my son. He is 78 days clean and sober:) I know that relapse can happen as he has gone through several. The one thing he doesn’t have to fear is losing my love. I can love and support him without giving him money or a place to live. My prayers go out to all that are still suffering and the parents that love them, we suffer with them. Thank you to all that share your stories, they help keep the hope alive.

Tabbe
Tabbe
11 years ago

How Close??. . .I read these meditations seeing the last 12 years of my life reflected here and knowing there are others like me making this journey as well. How can I continue to “Stay Close” when he manipulates me through the love I have for him.I know not to enable; but how can I be close? I feel guilty, no mother wants to bury her child but I sometimes wonder if death would be better than the “hell on earth” that he keeps returning to.I’m not sure how to have “hope” anymore.

Pat Nichols
Pat Nichols
11 years ago

Addiction is such an odd disease to understand. I compare it to chess. The disease moves the pawns (family) in positions that do not make sense and just as you begin to figure it out the disease screams, “CHECKMATE!” And a new games begins with similar results.

I will stay close to my son and support him when he is in recovery but when he is not, then I leave him with my love and hope and walk away.

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Addiction is such a confounding disease. What helped me were the words “Stay Close,” when the recovering addict said, “Stay close, but don’t give him money.” I didn’t give Jeff a home in which to sleep, money for his cell phone or even for food. Tabbe, you are right – it IS hell on earth. Addicts lie, manipulate and betray – it’s their nature. I once told Jeff, “Home didn’t move away from you; you moved away from home. Addiction took you far away from us.”

In the afterward of Stay Close, Dr. MacAfee (who has worked with addicts for over 40 years), knows so much better than I. He writes:

One of the persistent problems with the family is how they both blame themselves and try to straighten out the addict. It is an impossible mission, filled with good intentions, but addicts will exploit these intensions unless they are ready to stop.
This is an uneasy observation because addicts will do all in their power not to stop using, and families will do all in their power to stop them. This is a scenario written in tremendous pain, over and over again. This is not a holy alliance. It is bred in misunderstanding and flavored with fear and control, and when this scenario fails, it is infused with a fine dose of anger and contempt. It is a difficult cycle in need of change.

Nanci
Nanci
11 years ago

Hello Libby,
Perfect timing, as always, to receive your message. My son has completed one year of rehab. He is good, today. Headed for extensive surgery to correct a medical problem. I am scared, trying to cover all bases to prevent relapse (impossible!). What is different this time, is that HE is taking control of his disease, both physically and emotionally.
I continue to offer unwavering love and support, as long as he is doing ‘his part.’ We can never stop believing that our loved ones can beat this horrific disease. The last time I quit believing, an Alanon friend suggested I read your book.
As parents, we must continue to hold each others’ hand.

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Dear Nanci, Your son has completed one year of rehab! Wonderful. Recovery takes time and Jeff always fought staying in long-term rehab. In Italy, the communities require 3 – 5 years, but their recovery rate is 87%.

You are so right: As parents, we must continue to help each other. There are so many similarities with the disease that we can help and learn from each other.

I’ll join you in prayer that your son’s surgery is successful and that he manages his pain meds in a good way. Love to you. L