I ask some very hard questions in a posting a few days ago and I have read and re-read the responses. I feel it is important for me to respond because I could tell people put a lot of themselves and their lives into very well thought out comments. I may ramble but I want to share publicly my perspective on these questions and the responses I read.
I once had a serious conversation about what addiction was like with my son. His description was to involve me in a demonstration. He told me to hold my breath and he would not think about drugs and using. He said by the time I had to take a breath he would already be wanting to use. With that kind of addiction where is the hope?
I am a control freak, I know that and admit to it. My belief in control is that, ultimately everyone is responsible for their own actions and is accountable for exerting the control to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a level of acceptable societal behavior. Yes, I have read the NA books and texts. In my way of living Number 1 is flawed. Powerlessness is something you allow or choose, it provides an excuse. Being powerless you must give up control of your own life and I’d never do that willingly in any way. Higher Powers, mom has one and I don’t. Another thing about control I guess. So, I take some things from NA and Nar-Anon but I leave a lot of it on the table. But a key belief in my life philosophy is “Whatever works for you.” I try to live an outcome based, goal oriented life, there are many ways to reach the same destination, I try not to be in the business of judging right and wrong as long as you are making progress on your journey.
Reaching bottom or becoming so desperate that change is the only route. I’ve been told by many that addicts don’t change until they reach bottom. I guess bottom can mean different things to different people but that has always seemed to a drastic phrase to me. I do however believe that true change to your core values, beliefs and behaviors of an individual usually only happen after a significant emotional event. To me a significant emotional event does have to be life or death but can be. From what I am hearing that with addicts it is almost always life or death. Unfortunately when many reach the point of life or death, death can appear to be a more attractive option. That is a fear of mine for my son.
Understanding a problem is my way of solving a problem. In good problem solving unless you fully understand the root issue all you ever do is chase your tail dealing with symptoms. For all these years I have felt like I have been chasing my tail. On top of that I have been trying to fix a problem that wasn’t mine, it was his. Fixing my problem means understanding his problem enough that I can live with myself in the event there is no solution to his addiction and the ultimate consequence is paid by him and us. We are a family, his consequences are his consequences but his life good or bad directly impacts our life everyday no matter how much distance we try to put between him and us.
One Day At A Time??? Every day I am told an addict fights this battle. Truthfully, that would exhaust me. When I was taking Alex to report to the jail I told him I did not know how to solve his problem but he needed to work on a solution and not just waste 6 months in confinement in jail and the residence center. My mind does not work like an addicts mind. One day at a time would be a formula for failure for me. Having to think about each day not to use drugs would drive me to it. In my mind when there is something I want to stop and never do it again I tell myself I do not have to expend any more energy in that fashion ever again and it goes to the back of my mind and it is like that box in the basement that never gets opened again and your heirs clean up the mess and throw it out then. But once again, whatever works for an individual more power to them. This is just how I deal with things and I know my way is not everyone else’s way. Maybe in my way of thinking it is not for me to understand how someone gets there, that’s why it is so difficult for me to internalize.
Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, been to many meetings. Gone to different Nar-Anon and Al-Anon meetings and first of all you find very few men at these meetings. Go to AA and NA meetings and there are a lot of men and women. As I said, my experience has been there is a lot of focus on Higher Power. I don’t do the Higher Power or God thing, that kind of turns me off because of the “turn it over to my higher power”. I don’t turn over my problems to anyone else or anything else. I usually don’t even like taking my car in to get it fixed, especially if I can do it myself. However, I do believe in expertise of an expert, so I sit in the waiting room and let the mechanic work their magic. If there is a higher power then somebody let him know I’m in the waiting room. LOL
“Addicts think there so freaking slick…” LOL That’s why the sheriff in LV County told me he had a jail full of them. Everyone knows, at times it was funny to watch our son trying to act straight when everyone knew he was high as a kite. But he thought he was fooling us all. What’s really bad is the funny turns to anger so quickly and after a while it is no longer funny. Then listening to him telling me he could “manage” his using. Maybe just a little pot and alcohol and maybe something else when he “needed” it. Then sitting there and listening to his lectures to me about how this was a disease like diabetes or cancer. Well if it’s a disease then you don’t manage your using, you either stop totally or you don’t.
We’ve begun setting boundaries lately that we can manage and live with. Ultimately if this is really his problem and we must deal with our problem we have to set boundaries that allow us to respect ourselves too. The truth is I know at the time I am enabling, but the difference now than in the past is I make a decision to take the actions I do. Sometimes it is because of selfish reasons to make me feel better. Sometimes it is at the request of others that I love. No matter I live with the actions and the help it does or the harm it does. For example, my son doesn’t particularly like this blog. He thinks it makes him look like a jerk and failure, but this blog is for my mental health and well being.
If I have offended you with my thoughts then I am truly sorry. If you’ve been reading my blog you can probably tell I hold nothing back. This is my place of honesty and reflection, it has helped me. I hope it helps you too.