A mom wrote to me, My son has not changed, but I have.
My reflection: This one sentence, embedded in a much longer email, resonated deeply with me. Why? Because change is a choice. With addiction, as with much of life, we often wait for the other person or for circumstances to become better before we do something positive for ourselves. It took fourteen years for Jeff to decide to change his life while I lost many years chasing him around, trying to force him into sobriety. In the end, I learned that only he could make the decision for himself. Similarly, I learned that only I could make the decision for myself.
Today’s Promise to consider: Dr. MacAfee says there is room for only one person in addiction: the addict. We, who love the addict, often put our lives on hold waiting for him or her to change. After fourteen years, I finally learned that I had to take control of my life and change the only person I could: me.
“After fourteen years, I finally learned that I had to take control of my life and change the only person I could: me.”
A painful process for all of us. This reminds me of the story of the frog and the skillet.
They say that if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water,
it will leap out right away to escape the danger.
But, if you put a frog in a kettle that is filled with water that is cool and pleasant, and then you gradually heat the kettle until it starts boiling, the frog will not become aware of the threat until it is too late.
Are we, as loving parents of an addicted child, not like this frog? Addiction transforms us slowly as it turns the heat up a little at a time until we get so burned we either jump out and seek our own recovery or we stay and let addiction steal everything from us, even our souls.
The wisest and most trusted person on this earth will not be able to talk us out of that skillet. Such is the nature of addiction.
My counselor told be she never tried to talk me out of my pain because she knew she couldn’t. She knew I had to suffer at the hands of addictions before I was willing to listen and take action to save the only person I could save, ME.
Wow! Your comments are strong. Dr. MacAfee says the same thing: We can’t talk someone out of delusion. The person will stay in delusion until he or she decides to acknowledge what is happening. We are like the frog in the story and addiction takes us slowly, as it takes our loved ones. Change happens inch-by-inch until we are lost. Through education, professional help, groups like Al-Anon and others like your group, our own self reflection and prayer, we finally (maybe) find our way out.
My love to you. Thanks for sharing,
Pat and Libby
Such powerful words that resonate with my own experience. Ever so true! We make the choice when we are ready to end the madness. Even then it is hard but necessary for survival.
Thank you for your reminders
Wow is right! Pat, I really appreciate your words this week. So strong, so right.
Thank you Libby for the message of truth.
My love to you all.
Barbara, We all love you. Thank YOU for your messages of truth. We would be less without you.
Jane, You bring such wisdom to these comments. Thanks for sharing your truth, hope and love.
It has taken a long time for me to realize that the only person I can help is me. I truly am that frog. Before I knew it years had passed, and I remained confused, sad depressed. The heat had been turned up and I wasn’t even aware.
Last month was tough but I think I have finally come to terms with what addiction has done to me, for so long it has always been about my daughter. I am working so hard to focus on myself and the rest of my family, trying to enjoy what life has to offer me. Hopefully I can keep a clear view and remember to get out of the pot before the heat consumes me.