A mom, who has two addicted sons, wrote to me, Today is my older son’s 8th anniversary of sobriety! He turned his life around at age 20. Unbelievable! So much to be grateful for.
My reflection: The trauma of addiction changed me forever. Even though Jeff has been sober for seven years, I am quick to project into the future, trying to prepare for any potential calamity, whether it has to do with addiction or not. My Dad used to tell, “Don’t build straw men,” meaning that worries are often unfounded, made of straw. The best antidote for my worrying nature is to stay in gratitude.
Today’s Promise to consider: When I begin to feel worry and concern – both real and projected – I need to step back and do an inventory of all the good things in my life. Feeling grateful is the oxygen I need to breathe easier and to better serve my family, community and myself.
Gratitude is such a powerful tool, and this is why I have a gratitude journal, where I enter some of things am grateful for, each morning. It helps me to stay centered and focus, inspite of the uncertainity of what the day could bring because of my son’s addiction. It helps me in all areas of my life. Thank you for all you beautiful people here on this site, the support is amazing
It is so difficult to focus on being grateful when addiction is holding my child hostage and demanding payment (enabling) from me. I would say to addiction, “I will comply with your demands and don’t worry, I will not contact the police, my sponsor or counselor!”
Through working the steps of Families Anonymous with a sponsor I learned how my mind was capable of great injury to myself.I also learned that my mind has the potential to create great harmony.
Addition allowed me to believe I had no control over the destructive thoughts that drifted repeatedly through my mind. I became as sick as my child.
I learned how to take these thoughts of fear and turn them into friends. For example, when addiction sent me fear and anxiety I would look them in the face and say, “Thank you for bringing this to my attention, I will get out my Bible and study those scriptures that pertain to fear and anxiety.” I appreciate you binging me worry as this reminds me to contact my sponsor.”
Working really hard on myself I was eventually able to welcome gratitude into my life on a regular basis. It changed my whole perspective. I was now being healed myself and in so doing a true asset to my son.
May we all find and keep gratitude alive and well in each of us.
It has been years since I can say I feel grateful for anything. My daughters addiction and her suffering has driven me to a place where I hardly recognize myself anymore.
What I am finally realizing is that I have to start appreciating the things around me, my children, my job, my friends. I feel like I have spent the last 10 years in a black hole, dazed and confused, too overwhelmed to find a way out. These emotions have crept up on me without me even noticing it happening. I guess this is all part of the addictive process, we are trapped along with our addicts.
Letting go has allowed me to climb out of this hole a little at a time and familiarize myself with the things I use to enjoy and all I have to be grateful for.
I will keep climbing.
I have been praying for you and your daughter. I have been where you are and it’s so very difficult to not think about your child who is an addict. The constant wondering if they are alive or dead, where they are, how they are living, takes a toll on us parents.
You have made the first step – letting go. The second step should be a mantra every day – “I cannot control my child, therefore, I will allow them the consequences”
It’s so so difficult. But, you must take care of yourself.
With love and respect,
I just love the picture of you and your granddaughter! It’s so precious!
Thank you for the message of gratitude. I am grateful for you, this blog and this forum. It has helped me so much.
One thing I am grateful for – my son no longer has to suffer with addiction. He no longer has to go through withdrawal, go through the pain anymore. I am grateful he is surrounded by the angels and is comforted by them.
My son loved me very much. I miss that love.
Sue, I join Barbara in praying with you. Your words, “I’ve spent the last 10 years in a black hole,” resonated with me. I did the same and I missed so much, especially being present for my second son. I was so busy chasing the first that my life became a black hole. Keep climbing out of that hole. It takes effort, but life is waiting for you.
Pat has worked hard through years and years of addiction to come to the other side, the healthy side. Pat, I need to learn to accept my worry and pray more. Barbara, you have suffered the terror of addiction and you are here helping all of us. God bless you. Deanna, I love the idea of a gratitude journal; thanks for sharing. I think Pat or Jane does the same. I write every day in my journal, but I need to make a conscious effort to write the good things, too.
Thanks, Barbara, for the sweet comment about my granddaughter. She is a joy, my one-and-only. How do they grow up so fast? She’s already four years old.
My love to you all. I’m grateful today for you and for your honesty. We learn together.
Love to all,
I have thought a lot about Deanna’s comment on the gratitude journal that she keeps. I am going to make a conscious effort to do the same. I used to write in a journal for years and years. It contained so much grief, so I did away with it. The “gratitude journal” sounds to me like such a positive effort, that I am eager to start it!
Thank you, Deanna, for your posting. I pray for your son, and hope that he is finding sobriety.
Libby, your words about staying hopeful, will always be in my head and my heart… During some of the most terrifying times of my son’s active addiction, that’s all I needed to remind myself of… “Where there is life, there is hope.” Thank you.
Today, I am thankfully able to breathe easier and have so much to be grateful for; my Son, Michael, has 12 months clean and sober as of June 1st. Michael’s genuine happiness is amazing to me. I recently read this statement somewhere(?): “The miracle of content sobriety…” My son is content in his sobriety – What a difference a year makes. Michael has come so far – I am so proud of him. Yesterday was an amazing day of celebration with my son and his friends… To see and hear how his recovery is now inspiring others is a joy.
For me, for the most part, the terror is gone but not forgotten… The worry and fear definitely in the back of my mind, only randomly resurfacing… The overwhelming heartbreak of addiction, for myself and my son, subsiding. I am a lucky Mom… Today, I get to ‘pick up the pieces’ and recover from the devastation of addiction. My heart breaks every day for those not so lucky; the pain and terror of addiction can be/can seem/is, at times, unbearable.
Today, I am truly grateful, beyond words, and blessed beyond measure.
With Love and Hope to All… Hope for our own recovery, and hope for the recovery of our loved ones, or, in finding peace in knowing that the struggles of our loved ones are over.
Congrats to your son on one year of sobriety. This is a HUGE accomplishment. You’re right that one year makes a big difference. I had asked Jeff to keep a journal during this first year of sobriety because the changes are notable. Learning to live in sobriety is a miracle.
Here’s to recovery, for all of us: our addicted loved ones and us. Addiction is a family disease.
Barbara, I’m with you on the gratitude journal. Love you!