RELAPSE

My son wrote this to me several years ago: Mom, know that I never mean to hurt you. These last couple months have been hard – for both of us. Thank you for not giving up on me. Your strength gives me strength. You believe in me at times more than I believe in myself.

My personal reflection on the passage above offering my thoughts today: My son wrote this to me when he entered his first rehab center. This was the first of many rehab centers, but I didn’t know that then. What his written words told me was that my son was still alive under all the drugs. His humanity was not lost. Yes, he was a drug addict and yes, he was sick, but he was still my son under it all. Someone had to believe because he couldn’t believe in himself. I do believe he never meant to hurt the family or me. He was sick and the addiction was selfish. I stayed close.

Today’s promise to consider for all of us who love addicts: Each rehab attempt is another victory and each relapse is a step closer to recovery. My son needs to know that home won’t move away from him. I’ll stay close. Under the drugs, my son is alive.

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Andy Kuhn
Andy Kuhn
11 years ago

Libby,

What a beautiful message to consider. Such a reminder is what kept us strong through our troubles, that somewhere under the mess the drugs made, we still had our loved ones to be uncovered. Thank you for the thought-provoking message today. Our worlds are shining right now!

Libby Cataldi
11 years ago

Andy,

Thanks for your beautiful message and for your compassion. Our loved ones never really left us, but they were deeply hidden under ‘the mess the drugs made.” We both understand. My love to you!

Libby

Pat Nichols
11 years ago

Libby,

Wonderful presentation in Oklahoma City. You and Jeff did a remarkable job. You touch a lot of lives that evening! Please continue to tell your story.

We have a thirty-five year old son addicted to meth. He is chronic and I fear in the lates stages of addiction.

We can’t take his calls anymore. He is too high to communicate with and from our seventeen years of experience we fear his only motive is to suck the family back into enabling and our codependent behaviors.

We have always told him he is loved, forginen and is welcomed back into the family but he must enter into recovery.
How can you “stay close” with a situation like this?

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

Dear Pat,

I wish I had an answer, but I don’t. Like you, I have questions. Addiction is like that – there are no concrete answers. All I can share is what worked for us and what I did when Jeff was at his worst and dying. I followed the advice of the recovering alcoholic at San Patrignano: I took Jeff’s calls and kept telling him that he needed to get help, that I couldn’t do anything anymore and that he had to find his own way out. I didn’t send money or give him anything. Like my cancer, I told him, “I could have died if I hadn’t gotten treatment. It was my choice. No one could have forced me to get help. Jeff, you need to do the same. I can’t cut out the cancer for you.”

Let’s keep each other and our sons in prayer.

Libby

Paula
Paula
11 years ago

I’m a Mom of a 16 year old that has been home 12 days since completing her 1st stint in a program that only focused on substance abuse. She has been in other programs that delt first with her unstable behavioral/mental health and then with substance abuse. I took to heart what you wrote “each rehab attempt is another victory”. I need to remember those words as I’m exhusted from this roller coaster ride.

Libby
Libby
11 years ago

It is exhausting. This is the roller coaster of addiction. I’m sorry. When Jeff got out of his first rehab, I never realized that relapse was a part of this disease. They gave my son to me with words of hope and encouragement. When he relapsed, I thought I had failed him.
Stay strong. You are not alone. With respect and prayers for our children.
Libby

Alcohol Rehab Utah
11 years ago

I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.

Sallie
Sallie
8 years ago

As of last night, dealing with my 24 year old’s 4th relapse in the past year and a half. This one coming at a time of hope- working and back in school making A’s. He has lost his living situation and going through withdrawals on a stranger’s couch. It strikes me that the best way for me to be able to stay close but not enable is to work just has hard on my own recovery. It is so hard not to react when you heart is breaking…

Libby
Libby
8 years ago

Dear Sallie,

I’m sorry for another relapse, deeply sorry. Dr. MacAfee says that relapse isn’t failure, but it is one step closer to recovery.

You’re right that it feels impossibly hard not to react when your heart is breaking. Addiction suffocates life. Working on our own recovery helps not only us, but moreover our loved ones. As we become stronger, so do those around us.

I join you in prayer and hope.

L