A mother wrote to me: I wanted to believe the stories of why my son needed money; I wanted to help. Time after time we gave him another chance; we wanted to believe he could do this. In time, he got out of his fourth rehab, did well for a year, and then relapsed. He was so much worse than ever before. I know I prolonged his addiction out of love. It’s true – I was an enabler, but I could not let go.
My reflection: The Big Book of AA makes a clear promise: If the person doesn’t achieve recovery, he or she will find “jails, institutions or death.” We want to believe our loved ones and the stories they tell – they’re our children and spouses and family members, who were once trustworthy and dependable. Addiction corrupts that.
Today’s Promise: While trust is essential, I must also remember that addiction distorts the truth. As Dr. MacAfee says, “There’s only room for one in an addiction.” My loved one must choose to fight, and I must get out of the way.4137
The key for long term recovery is doing all we can to insure that our addicted loved one’s work through their consequences on their own. It gets complicated and the process of recovery is confusing to the family and that is why consulting with an alcohol/drug counselor is vital. An experienced and qualified counselor is expensive but well worth every dollar. Many counselors will reduce their charges if asked. It is also helpful to develop an understanding of how to communicate with the counselor through text or phone communication. Once you have developed a solid relationship with your counselor life begins its journey back to a renewed sense of peace and serenity. Just my personal experience.
Pat, Thanks for sharing your wisdom. For me, it was difficult to find a good and wise addiction counselor – one who understood both addiction, my son, and our family dynamics. When Jeff started to work with Dr. MacAfee, things finally fell into place. MacAfee knew how to work with a long-term addict, and magic happened. Before MacAfee, there were several others, and some did more damage than good. You’re right that we need to find an ‘experienced and qualified counselor.’ My prayer is that more compassionate people get involved in addiction and recovery. xo
I re-acted, out of fear that my son would die. This was a real reality for many years. I also needed to understand the nature of the disease of addiction, how the brain’s ability to objectively reason and make sound decisions was completely hijacked. I, too, became addicted to trying to fix my son. My life was so wrapped up in his I lost myself. When I hit my bottom, became sick with my obsession, found a solid home AlAnon group, began to Let Go and Let my God, the fog began to lift.
Yes, how well I understand your comment because I followed the same path as you. For almost fourteen years, I almost loved my son to death. I enabled, tried to fix him, and did everything possible to help. As you write, I, too, became addicted to trying to fix my son. With the help of Al-Anon, the concept of Stay Close, and prayer, I learned to get out of my son’s way. He found his way home to himself and us. I am grateful every day of my life. Love to you, Mindy.