Monday, November 30, 2009


As I read through blogs of other parents dealing with the same issues the differences of situation vary all over the board. There are parents of addicts raising their grandchildren as their own. There are parents in all stages of reconciliation with this disease and the pain. Parents are struggling with acceptance of the problem and even some refusing acceptance of the truths involved in addiction. I reflect on our own experiences and struggles of acceptance and reality and the rough path it was to reach this point. Today, with a harsh reality staring me down at every corner, this is not over yet. Is it ever over?

I think that is the hardest issue for us and maybe for many others wearing our shoes. Is this ever over? When is the rest and peace that we long for? Our reality is not the reality of dreams when we held that tiny baby born one month early. Our reality is to love an addict and continue to help him fight this disease. How hard it is learning lessons from past mistakes and trying not to to enable him, prolonging his treatment and recovery. Where do you go for those answers? Not so long ago our questions could always could be traced back to that horrible unanswerable word, WHY. Now I feel we are balancing on the next step of, WHAT. What's the next thing to do, what do we do to help, what about this, what about that.

One thing I am sure of in this whole process. I believe in my son. I believe he is capable of subduing this demon. I believe he can be in control of his life and destiny. I believe there are dreams within him that are not yet attained. I believe one day he will grow from these experiences.

A message I want to send to every addicted child out there with loving parents hanging by a thread at times. I believe in you, too. Take that first step in believing in your yourself. It's risky believing in an addict, but if you believe in yourself you may go places you haven't thought of going for a long time.


Mom of Opiate Addict said...

Very lovely and thought provoking post, thanks!

big Jenn said...

When you asked "Is it ever over?" don't wish it. There is a pretty high price for peace sometimes.
Look at how you and your family have grown and become better people than you would have been had you not had to face all these obstacles. Look at all the people whom are now being touched by you working through all of this.
Maybe better is just different.
Your son may have bigger mountains to climb than you know. jeNN

Barbara aka Layla said...

I believe in our kids too - its a risk but without that hope and faith that they can do it, what is there? They HAVE to be the ones to do it.

I see what Jenn is saying but I much rather have had a different experience to make us "better people". Sigh. I am telling myself its OVER for Keven. I know it may not be, but I am telling myself that anyhow until he proves otherwise, and at that time I will deal with it if I have to.

Fractalmom said...

maybe i'm jaded. probably i'm jaded. 11 years and still living with the insanity.

Mom of Opiate Addict said...

Another thought crossed my mind after thinking about this post. Sometimes what we think and throw out into the universe comes back in the same form. Even though we shouldn't have expectations of our kids, we can visualize them getting well and recovering, instead of thinking about when the next shoe will drop. I don't think it is any more painful to think positive and have hope if they fail. I hope this makes sense. Basicially sending out good thoughts and light to our kids instead of being overly concerned about when or if they might relapse. Hope never hurts.

Dad and Mom said...

I am a believer in people usually live to the expectations of others. Of course there are exceptions due to many extinuating (sp) circumstances not the least of which addiction is included. After many years in management I have pretty much staked my career on setting high expectations, getting the hell out of the way and watching many people out perform even what is expected, and many times it is the person you'd least expect. The way I work and see things, falling short of expectations is not failure rather than a question, "what's holding them back?" Address what's needed and get out of the way.

Granted being a father is much different than being a manager but lessons learned can be applicable in both worlds. I'd rather have high expectations and suffer my son's failures than set low expectations of him because of this addiction and see him fulfill them and live a life of mediocrity. For the simple reason no one believes he can do anything else. To me that is the ultimate failure of a father.

Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story said...

This is a good post. I have come to accept that should my fun finally find a way to stay sober, that it will never be over. He will have to struggle with his addiction for the rest of his life.

My hopes and dreams for my own son were similar to those. I had hopes he would graduate from college, in like his mom and dad. My hopes and dreams have changed. I would truly be happy if my son would be able to stop using, to learn the definition of integrity by living it. I'd be ecsstatic if whatever career he chooses-- whether it's what some people might deem "mediocre" that he does it well, and he loves it. To see my son learn how to handle his finances, stay sober and make a new set of friends who are truly friends-- I would be very happy with that. As for my dreams of college and a big career-- I've let that go. I just want my son to learn to love himself. That would make me happy.

Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story said...

...typo.... should my SON finally way a way to stay sober... "freudian slip?"

Chrissy said...

I wanted to leave a book I just finished reading by Peter Shianna. Any parent of an addicted child should read Love Tag.

Her Big Sad said...

Just my humble two cents here: I don't think it is ever over. It is like my diabetes. It will always be there. If I stay on my eating program, exercise program, and supplement program, I do not have to take meds, inject insulin, or suffer further kidney damage. If I don't do those things, I suffer the consequences. The diabetes never goes away. Eat a piece of pie? I will crave more carbohydrates. Badly. And I'm an emotional eater, so when I'm upset about my daughter, I eat.

I feel like her addiction is somewhat like that, on a much grander scale. She will always be one bad decision away from a tumble down into the hell of a relapse. Life is going to kick her in the teeth (as it does all of us) over and over and over. And if she sits there one day thinking "I know how I can make this crap go away, just for a little while...." The choice to use is always going to be before her. This will never, ever go away for her. And consequently, the fact that we could have to go through the heartbreak all over again, will never go away for us.

But, as one of my daughter's counselors told us, very early in the 10 years we've been going through this: "Whether your daughter relapses or not, your worrying about it in advance accomplishes nothing. Doesn't change whether she will, or won't. So you just might want to go ahead and live your own life, and deal with whatever happens later, IF IT HAPPENS." I'm paraphrasing but hopefully you get the drift.

Of course, I wanted to deck the counselor when she said that. So not what I wanted to hear.

It's not ever going to be over. But it does not have to have a place in the Main Ring of my circus (life)! Just my opinion.

Also, I sort of agree with Mom of Opiate Addict. It doesn't hurt to think positively and project confidence in our kids, to our kids. I try to not give advice, nowadays, and instead, tell my daughter things like "boy that's a tough one, good luck with that, I have faith in you, and I know you can work it out", etc. I don't Expect her to do anything.... I know that she Can, and I leave it up to her to decide if she Will, or not.

(Someone on one of these blogs said "Expectations are premature resentments." I kind of like that one and have it on my bulletin board!)

Sorry to ramble, just thinking out loud here...

indistinct said...

Just another opinion.

I joined alanon, seeking help for my addicted child. I quickly learnt there was no help for my child there, only help for myself. One of the first people I spoke with told me their story, how thier child is now gone, died of an overdose. I was overwhelmed with hopelessness. I continued to meet other parents with similar stories. Stories of loss, of endless struggle.

I fought the first step of alanon. Admitting I was powerless? No way. I could tell of endless stories of trying. Racking my brains for a new idea. Trying and trying and trying to get my addicted child clean. And an equally endless list of bottoms for the child and for myself.

I remember reading someone's writing, how they practiced tuff love, how they lost their child, and the endless remorse they now feel.

I don't have answers. My wife and I have been trying to get our child clean for over 5 years with no results. I still get stressed out, overwhelmed by the activities of this child.

There are thousands and thousands of families in the same plight as us. Struggling with hopelessness, anger, guilt, grief, depression, sadness, and this list goes on and on.

I am also thankful for what has happened in our family. My child helped me to recognize my own addictions, showed me the path to my own recovery. This child has helped pull our entire family together. We are close to all our children,a direct result of supporting each other, holding each other, crying with each other.

Each day I put my child in my Higher Powers hands, praying that God would do whatever God wants to do in the life of this child. I also pray that I would stay out of the way. That I would not get in God's way. I pray that I would learn to trust more deeply each day and not let outward circumstances deflect me from trusting.

Alanon teaches me the three C's. We didn't cause it, we can't cure it, and we can't control it. Alanon shows me Step 1, that we are powerless of the addiction of another.

I work hard at keeping the door open, not to give up, not to let anger close that door. I alway want to be a place where the addict will come for help. It's as close to unconditional love that I can practise, but it comes with a lot of pain.

One day at a time.

Annette said...

Oh gosh, this post and all of the wonderful responses is like being a really good meeting. I agree with Indistinct. My worst fear is that we will practice tough love and she will die out there. Thats it plain and simple. How would I as the mother ever recover from that? The only thing that brings me any comfort is the idea that *she* chose her path. Short of kidnapping and hogtying and locking her in her room we have done everything possible to detour her from the life she has immersed herself in.

I love that you believe in your son and each of our kids too Dad. Really, because I feel like even when I can't believe maybe you still will and that means that someone, somewhere, is out there thinking good thoughts on behalf of my daughter. Its a gift and I thank you.

Syd said...

I think that believing in your son and telling him that is a good thing. What he decides to do is really up to him. I hope that he makes the right decision for all concerned.

LisaC said...

I've reread the blog several times, but this morning I read all the comments. Simply Amazing. Hope and faith are tied together, I believe that. I will continue to have hope that my son takes control of his life. I will have hope that all of our addicted "children" (many of our troubled kids are young adults) will find and follow a clean and healthy path, and I will have hope that regardless of the path that they follow, all of us (the parents) will find true peace in our lives. My niece is 15 months clean after 10 years of addiction, recovery and relapse (with horror stories thrown on top for good measure); and my brother told me on Thanksgiving Day, don't stop having hope! He is right. Thank you for this thought provoking post. I think of and pray for you and your family every day.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I (both in our 60s) have just become legal custodial guardians for our crack/heroin addicted daughter's three pre-schoolers. She is currently in rehab for the 4th time. She's done methadone (all three kids born addicted), she's currently doing bupes. She is 33...this has been going on for 15 years. Do I have hope -- always. Do I think things will change - no. She is, and will be an addict for the rest of her life (which I don't think will be much longer).

Reality bites. So does life without hope. So I opt for hope. But it doesn't really much matter anymore. It's her choice. If she even has a choice anymore.