A mother wrote to me. This is part of it: It’s May 21st at 10:24 pm and just about an hour ago I got a call that my daughter walked out of rehab. Just today I was telling my coworkers that I had such a good feeling about this rehab – a full one-year, Christian-based program. No outside contact, only immediate family. Twice I talked to her on the phone and she loved it there. She didn’t even make it a full week.
My reflection on the passage above: Hope smashed. With addiction, we parents feel betrayed and our dreams feel suffocated. When our children accept and enter rehab, we celebrate and we hope again, feeling certain (and trying not to feel certain) that this is it: This is the time that will stick.
Dr. MacAfee teaches that relapse is not failure. Relapse, he says, can be a great stepping-stone, directing the individual toward her own understanding of loss of control of her use. Relapse can, if handled well, be one step closer to sobriety.
Today’s Promise: I will continue to believe. With every relapse, I hope that my child will learn more about her illness. I will acknowledge the powerful hold that the drug has on her. I will stay close.
Dear Libby, what a beautiful and insightful meditation. Relapse is definitely a part of sobriety. It teaches us that we are human. It reinforces just how serious addiction is and why addicts need rehab and counseling to stay sober. Unfortunately, relapse crushes the people around the addict. It’s so difficult to stay close. But, you are so right….stay close.
Libby, you are helping so many mothers around the world. I truly thank you….
Oh this feels like a message that God wanted to give me today. I just discovered my son’s relapse yesterday (after 7 months sober). It hurts.
Despair, sadness, feelings of loss but once again. This is what I have felt everytime my son relapsed, and yes he relapsed so many times in the past. As mothers our children are our barometers. When they do well we do too. When they are suffering we suffer right alongside. So hard to detach from that yet I try hard to do just that. I must find a way to go on with my life even if my son chooses not to stay sober. Right now he is close to 90 days sober. It is always one day at a time. I will keep all of you in my thoughts as I pray at night for those who suffer this disease and those of us who live with it as well
Be well and thank you Libby for this forum of support
We all know the feelings of desperation and acute suffering when our children relapse. I’m so sorry for our pain and the pain of our children and our families. Addiction is such a confounding and diabolic disease.
MacAfee’s idea of relapse gives me hope. Hope that each relapse offers the addict an opportunity to learn about himself. Staying close through these times is suffocating, but for Jeff and me the idea of ‘Stay Close” helped. After 10 or 12 recovery centers and many more relapses, I thought he would die. He chose to change – not for me, but for himself. I am grateful that he made the choice before it was too late. I know we’re lucky.
My love to you all.