A mom wrote to me: Logically I can convince myself I have to let go and not enable my son. I know I can’t do it for him. Then at a stoplight, in the grocery store, or just sitting having coffee, it overcomes me. My tears, my fears, my anger, but most of all my loneliness for my son and all the plans and dreams he/we had. How can I keep pretending day in and out that I am fine? I feel like I’m in the middle of everyone’s anger, blame, confusion, heartache, and loss. How can I be “normal,“ strong, full of faith and hope, and calm for everyone, including me, when I can’t stop crying? How do I keep my marriage and family strong and healthy, and the rest of my life under control, when I am so afraid for my son?
My reflection: This mom’s words hit me hard. How well I remember the tears, fears, anger, and loneliness. How well I remember grieving for the lost dreams and broken promises of a united family. How well I remember trying to be normal, strong, and full of faith and hope, while inside I was dying and overwhelmed with fear for my son.
Today’s Promise to consider: Parents suffer profoundly when our children are in addiction’s grasp. The need to protect them and save them is baked into the marrow of our bones. We try to be strong for our family, and we try to keep hope and faith alive, but it’s hard. I know I can’t fix my child or force him to change his life, but I also know that I can’t force myself not to feel. Today, I will be compassionate with myself. I will be patient with myself. I will pray, go to Al-Anon and family meetings, talk with others, reach out my hand – I will take care of myself.
Thank You for sharing this…after several years of “ being strong” throughout my sons vicious cycle. I’m losing hope and breaking
Dearest Sue, I understand. Addiction suffocates us and wants to break us. Al-Anon was my saving grace. I join you in prayer and hope.
I couldn’t have said these words any better. To the outside world, I stand in the grocery store line, or stop at a stop sign, or go out to get the mail. The chronic sickness that sits inside of me is sometimes at bay. But other times, out of nowhere, it overwhelms me. If it weren’t for other mothers on this site, I would feel so alone, and like no one could possibly understand this. I was even in my dr office one day for a check up. He asked how I was doing. I started crying and told him about my son’s addiction. He listened, and then said, “well, I’ve heard it’s not ALWAYS the parents’ fault”.
It killed me! And this is a physician.
Since then, I keep it to myself unless I’m in a trusted group. The bottom line for me is to pray, pray, pray, and try to take little steps to help myself.
Dearest Laurie, I’m sorry to read about the encounter with the doctor. What a misinformed person he is!! This is the problem with addiction – people don’t educate themselves, but for a physician this is inexcusable! Dr MacAfee, my son’s addiction therapist, once told me that, when he went to court to testify for an addicted person, the judges and lawyers were often condescending; however, he was the first person they called when their own children became addicted!!
I love your advice to pray, pray, pray and try to take little steps to help yourself. My love to you.
This is so how I feel. My daughter is being released from prison any day and coming to live with me. My anxiety is thru the roof
Dear Susan, I understand. I felt the same way when my son would come home from jail or from treatment. Dr. MacAfee, my son’s addiction therapist, recommended that, in order to prepare for my son’s ‘reentry,’ that I set my boundaries – clearly and immediately. When I did this, my son knew from the beginning what I could and couldn’t tolerate. I’ll keep you and your daughter in my prayers. xoxo