VICTORY: ONE DAY AT A TIME, PART 1

A mom wrote to me: My son entered another halfway house and today he is doing well. Last year after rehab, he was supposed to have gone there, but he chose not to. Thankfully, this time, he made the decision himself, and I know he has to keep making the right decisions. Although relapse feels so defeating, I can see a positive difference in him each time he relapses and gets clean again. I think I’m finally getting the hang of “One day at a time.”

My thoughts: Dr. MacAfee says, Relapse isn’t failure. Failure is not trying again. It took me a long time to understand this. With each of Jeff’s relapses, I felt kicked in the belly, but I now realize that each honest attempt to get clean was a victory.

Today’s Promise to consider: We can’t define what success looks like for anyone else. For an addict, twenty-four hours of sobriety is a huge victory. Today, I’ll celebrate the successes of others. It’s not my place to be the judge or jury, but I will be a proud member of the supporting troops.

 

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Pat Nichols
10 years ago

I saved myself a lot of pain and frustration once I studied the disease model of addiction. I got inside the mind of my addicted son. I was the Sherlock Holmes of my child’s addiction.

I never imagined I would one day accept addiction as a mental illness, a brain disease.

As Libby so wisely mentioned, it is not my place to judge him.

I have learned to never show disappointment but to profess his family’s faith, love, hope and encouragement for him.

I have learned to enjoy every moment he is not using drugs.

I have grieved the loss of the son of my dreams. I accept him for who he is now. I have no expectations.

I have learned the importance of maintaining a healthy & loving detachment from the addiction.

I have learned to trust God.

In return he has accepted our boundaries and we maintain a good relationship.

This disease never quits teaching and I will never quit learning.

In prayer for all our families and our children.

Hope
Hope
10 years ago

Pat– I wish I was where you are. This post is such a timely reminder. After much hope that my son was committed to sobriety … one day at a time… even without holding expectations ..only hope–and even being cautious … it is devastating when relapse happens. We saw how hard he was trying. We celebrated. It was genuine. But yes, we knew the disease had its claws. We have not heard from our son now in over a week and no one knows where he is. This means breach. This means jail, if he is found. This not knowing used to be crazy making..at least now i do not panic, ( as much) only pray. Still, it feels like living some sort of roller coaster existence. I know that means I’m still hooked in. I know it is his journey but I want Health. Just health alone for him i wold be happy for. I cry a lot. A lot a lot. And so just for today—we will try to go through life as if our hearts are not broken. Trying to not let his disease swallow our spirit and souls .. but no—not doing so well today. .. I never knew our son would be in so much pain, and that life held/would hold this much darkness. We will keep hope alive .. because what else can we do. Right now, if i am honest, I wonder if he is alive or dead and I even wonder if death would put him out of his misery. But I konw ,when stoned, he is oblivious to that misery. I am ashamed for wondering that. I’m so sorry for putting out my darkest thought. I need to admit that. To watch him hurt himself over and over — is like watching a slow death.

Today the victory is knowing there will be a tomorrow for us regardless of what he is doing or not doing. And maybe he is one step closer to healing. We just can’t see it from out perspective. It just does not seem that way. Hard to give that hope up though. Maybe, I really have to. I pray for acceptance of where we are. And yes, I know there must be lessons i’ am always learning too. But I REALLY do not think this much homework is good for anybody. (: Thank you Libby and Pat for today.

Pat Nichols
10 years ago

Dear Hope,

It is very unlikely that your son will die. The odds are greatly in your favor that he will one day find his way back and you will renew your relationship with your son. The new relationship will be different than you imagined before the addiction but it will still be a good and healthy relationship. In fact, I say it is very likely that he will one day hold you tight and whisper, “I love you Mom, thanks for never giving up on me.” That day is coming.

I am not saying that just to make you feel better. I am telling you that because it is the truth. I have seen it happen over and over. The stories of renewal are so much more plentiful than the tells of woe.

We parents hear too much about the evil and destruction of our children but there are many more positive endings than bad ones. We must focus on the end result as being positive and not on our unproven and false fears.

There are millions and millions of sons and daughters in long term recovery. Many many more than are still active users!

Each of us are unique in our own journey with our children. No one can point blame or judgement on us in how we grieve, how we express our pain of fear and in how we handle our situation. Each of us are in charge of our own destiny.

Please never except blame from others or blame yourself. You are not at fault!

Trust God in all things.

In prayer for Hope and all parents and their children.

Penny
Penny
10 years ago

Hope, as I read your comments I thought I had written those words and forgotten! So many feelings you wrote about I have had and still have. It is truly a terrifying roller coaster ride we are on. I am doing much better with the one day at a time thing. I truly rejoice in every hour my son stays clean, however I am cautious not to get too comfortable because I know that at any given moment things can change. When the relapse comes I still feel deflated. I think it will always be that way until my son has some long term sobriety and even then I don’t think the fear of relapse will go away.
Pat, thank you so much for putting this whole addiction thing in perspective. It made me feel so much better to know that the odds are in my son’s favor. I pray and pray and pray that he finally makes it!!
Love to you all
Penny

Jane
Jane
10 years ago

Hello Hope. Your feelings of despair, sadness and fear for your son are feelings we have all had I too wondered if death would be better for my son when he was active and in misery. Don’t blame yourself for having those thoughts. This disease causes the family sooooo much pain. Been there.
Pat your comments were so healing. Thank you for sharing. You have much wisdom from your experiences. Yes the relationship is so different than I ever imagined it would be. I grieve the lost idealized son and accept the new normal. It is helpful to have Al Anon guide me in that acceptance.
Hugs to all
Jane

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Pat, you are so wise. Your lifelong learning about this horrible disease, helps us all. Thank you so much for your contibutions. I appreciate you.

Dear Hope, like Jane said, we’ve all had thoughts that death would be better for our addicted children. I still find solace in the fact that my son no longer has to struggle. Don’t blame yourself for any of those feelings. It’s all a part of this awfully complicated disease of addiction.

Dear Libby, thank you for reminding us of relapses. They are a big part of this disease. I always hated the relapses, but rejoiced when it was over and my son would pick himself up by the boot straps and begin the recovery process all over again.

God’s blessings to all

With much love,

Barbara

Hope
Hope
10 years ago

Thank you all-for your words of hope and healing and understanding. He has surfaced today. He is so far not in jail. We just accepted. Did not even ask. There was no point. We all knew. We did buy him some groceries. ( we never give money direct. ) And gave him a hug and came back home. And on we go. God bless all of you. Especially for reminding me my darkest thoughts are okay and recovery is possible and takes courage and time.

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Hope, Your son is alive and not in jail. One day at a time. We’ll be your supporting troops, encouraging you to take one more step in faith and hope.

Barbara, you’re right that relapse is a big part of this disease, and I wish I had understood this many years ago. I figured one thirty-day program, and Jeff was healed! So naive. I had so much to learn. And learn I did and learn I am continuing to do from Pat and all of you.

For me, I’m working on praying each morning and developing a morning routine based in the belief that my Higher Power, my God, will help me through each day.

Love to all,

L