A mom and dad wrote to me, After our son was clean for 18 months, we began sharing our story at a local treatment center’s family workshop. First we talked with families, then separately with the patients. We always suggest Al Anon.
Last week, a young male patient, who had been lounging on the couch seemingly disinterested, spoke up. “Excuse me, Ma’am,” he began politely. “Thank you for coming and all, but I don’t want my mom to go to Al Anon. I don’t want her in my business. She’s already too much in my life and I don’t want her in any more of it.”
Several fellow patients jumped in. “You don’t get it,” they chimed. “That’s WHY you want your mom to go to Al Anon. It’s not for you. It’s for HER. That’ll get her OFF your back!”
My husband and I were surprised that in a roomful of addicts so many understood there was a program to help their families – and they were eager to learn more. The visit reminded us, again, that addiction is a family disease.
My reflection: There are many support groups for families of addicts. Although I attend Al-Anon, there are many others. The support of my group is essential to my serenity. When I finally stumbled, broken, into an Al-Anon meeting, I found compassion and understanding. The people in those rooms helped me carry my burden.
Today’s Promise to consider: Sometimes our burdens become too heavy to carry. There are other people who will help. Families can learn to heal. Love, compassion and understanding are available in support groups. We just need to reach out our hand.2186
Here are two recent examples of why support groups are so important to parents, in my personal opinion.
One of our parent’s son overdosed and was on life support. With permission of the mom a group text was sent to her fellow Families Anonymous members and the waiting room was soon full of love, hope and prayers.
Her son survived and has been clean for five months. The mom shared with us that she didn’t think she would have survived mentally, emotionally and possibly physically without the support of her support group.
At our last Parents Helping Parents meeting we had a mom and dad sharing their personal journey with their adult daughter. During the Q & A session a mom began talking and became so emotional that she could not finish talking. Three other moms went immediately over to her and gave her their support and phone numbers etc.
I could list hundreds of other examples I have witnessed. Support groups are the only place I have ever found where I was understood. I felt safe, not alone.
The big bonus is all the new friends, close friends that I now have. Priceless.
All of you are my support group. Without you all, I really don’t know what could have happened to me. My mental health has improved and I owe it all to you.
Libby, your book helped me so much, and I thank you (and Jeff) for the hard work you achieved in bringing so many things to light. You’re amazing!
Pat, I don’t know if I congratulated you and your son on his one year sobriety. Congratulations! That is huge! Prayers were definitely answered!
With love and respect,
Yes, I too found tremendous support and understanding in a support group. It was a lifeline. This blog is a virtual support group, just as helpful as Al Anon. Addiction in the family is too great a burden to carry. Lucky is the person who allows another one into their own personal hell. Healing will begin.
Be well all
I am reading your book. I’ve been reading it nearly a year. I have only been able to read it for short periods at a time. I find myself feeling emotionally exhausted, so I take a break. I read to the half way point during our vacation last July. Then recently, I decided that I must push through ( while my son was in recovery). Soon after I began to read again, I began suspecting that my son was using again. I was right. It’s only been just over a week since that day. I so want to get to the end of Stay Close to find how Jeff finally found real recovery! But, while I process this past week, I cannot begin to read again. I will soon though. I am hopeful that he is ready to give recovery another try. I just want to thank you for sharing your story and for this blog and being accessible here. I am so grateful and will visit often.
We can all relate to your words, “I began suspecting that my son was using again. I was right.” We’ve all been there. I suspected many times that Jeff was using again, tried to deny, put my head in the sand and even argued with people saying that he was fine. I’m sorry you and your family are going through this again. Addiction wants to suffocate us.
Jeff finally changed his life because I got out of the way. I stayed close, but out of the chaos. He called for money, demanded money, screamed for money, but finally, at the end, I said, “I love you, but love isn’t the color of money. You need to fight for your life, Jeff, or you’ll die.” Jeff says the consequences of his addiction brought him to sobriety and his spirituality keeps him there. HE needs to choose every day.
Every situation is different, but we need to take care of ourselves. I spent so much time chasing Jeff around that I lost myself. We can love our addicted children, but we need to keep our boundaries strong. As Dr. MacAfee says, “We need to mean what we say and say what we mean.” Our loved ones need to be able to trust what we say whether they like it or not.
Please know that we all send you our love and support. We’ve walked in your shoes and are walking in your shoes. You are not alone. I, too, hope your son gives recovery another try. It is the way to his personal freedom. You have friends here.
With love and respect,
Thank you for taking the time to speak to me. It means so much to me.
My son just turned 27. He is married and has a 1 year old son that he adores. My son is also a Type-1 diabetic. He does have strong roots and the love and support of a close family. He has already graduated college and does have a good job. So many reasons to choose recovery.
This time I see him doing things on his own that he needs to do in order to get well. I pray he’s finally ready.
I hope someday that I can write to you and tell you that I believe my son has found and is working on his recovery, long term.
Again, thank you for sharing yours and Jeff’s story.
It was late last night when I read your reply. I came back to reread now that I am not quite so tired.
You said “Jeff says the consequences of his addiction brought him to sobriety and his spirituality keeps him there. HE needs to choose every day.”
Spirituality is key. I’ve been thinking about this part of the process so much this week. I am praying my son uses his higher power to help him. He had stopped believing, that should have a sign a long time ago that there was something wrong. I do see spirituality coming back, he has been praying.
Thank you so much for your support.