A mom wrote to me, My son relapsed, again. After eight months of sobriety, his love affair with drugs overpowered his strength to fight the urge to use again. After I received ‘the dreaded phone call’ that unfortunately we all know too well, I was strangely able to remain calm…that is only after I heard his voice and knew he was safe.
What is a mother to do? His father and I offered him a safe environment for the night and life resumed with the clear expectation that in the morning our son would return to work and come clean with his boss. All we could do was to tell him what we would offer him and allow him to make his choices.
There was no chaos, no yelling, no blaming or judging…no ‘drama’ this time around. In fact, my husband and I did not give our son the forum to disrupt our lives (or our other sons’ lives) as we have so often in the past. Addiction and relapse are not new to us, but this time what was new is that we did not give addiction the power to disarm us and our family.
My reflection: This mom’s response reminds me of something Dr. Kevin McCauley, Institute for Addiction Study, told me years ago, “Relapse is part of this disease and parents often respond to it with a kind of ‘I caught you’ mentality, a way of saying, ‘you messed up again, you loser.’” Instead, he encouraged me to remain calm, to give Jeff clear boundaries and to provide and options for recovery. The mom and dad above did just that. This inspires me.
Today’s Promise to consider: Relapse happens. If it does, I will respond with a calm attitude and provide clear boundaries for my addicted loved one. The fellowship of Al-Anon and my daily practice of the 12 Steps remind me that I can’t cure addiction, but I can stay close and try to keep myself and my family safe.2087