Thursday, March 18, 2010

Anger and Compassion

How do you deal with both of these two emotions at the same time. After last weekend I am just now beginning to calm down enough to organize my thoughts.

Why am I angry? He's an addict, he relapses. Been there done that enough of the last 6 years I should be used to it, right? Yea, I can handle the relapse, I get mad we holler and cuss and it is over. We recognize he has a disease and at times the disease flares up and he doesn't control himself. But last weekend pissed me off. This is not the first time he has taken his mothers medication she needed because she was ill. The first time it was after her surgery and he took her pain medication the day after her surgery. This time it was cough syrup. Sometimes I don't get it, how does anyone addicted or not take medicine from a sick person? I get the stealing money and things but I am having trouble getting over this one.

He came home the other day for one day. He finally admitted he had shot up a couple times before he took the medicine. I didn't use an angry tone in questioning him but I was stern. His girlfriend had told us things about his using, even in a time of admission he still lies.

One more time it is, "I'm not doing this again." I was just weak the situations presented themselves and I did it before thinking. WAKE UP!!! The situations will present themselves for the rest of your life. Disease or no disease you still must learn to tell yourself NO. Fact of life: the world will not change because you have a disease.

He made it obvious he resents me writing and speaking about this subject. One comment he made was that; "Why don't you understand this you're the addiction expert?" No, I'm not an addiction expert. The truth is I am addiction ignorant. My expertise born of experience is living with and parenting an addict. That's what I write and speak about. My writing and speaking is about us and our life, it's not about you. I'm not sure he understood the difference. Anyway, I'm going to be like an addict, I'll stop writing and speaking when I want to stop not when someone else tells me too.

His girlfriend and friend he grew up with, whom he is living with now, gave him the ultimatum. Do it again and your out. If that works great. Mom and I have reconciled we are not motivators in his life. If someone else can help that gets him where we all want him to go. He says he is committed, but???? Anyone living with an addict, I don't have to explain the last incomplete sentence.

I'm back to having an understanding that our oversight with Mom's medicine may have been too much but I'm not in place where I accept it is Mom and Dad's fault.


Fractalmom said...

If the oversight was too much, then explain the addicts who get and stay clean while living with other addicts?

you guys did NOTHING wrong Ron. Nothing. Now, it becomes your pain and grief, and Alex's problem.

Go smell the granddaughter's head for a 10 minute interlude. A good whiff of baby head got me through lots and lots. I would just bury my nose in her little head and hold her.

I'm so sorry.


Barbara said...

Of course its not your fault. And of course you are angry. Its very hard to balance the anger and compassion when the addict continues to make these choices.

I didn't stop feeling angry at Keven till he was 4 months into being clean. I was mad at him while he was in jail. But I am naturally compassionate so that was always there too.

Its different for every parent but YOU are doing an excellent job and HE has no right to be mad about this blog. I said the exact same thing to my son "the blog is not about YOU its about my life as your parent". I can understand why he would not want you reading his blog, but that's totally different.

Ron, you and Mom are doing all the right things. I told Anthony in a letter today "do not EVER say the words "I'll never do this again" with me. I don't want to hear those words, those words will just tick me off and remind me of all the times you said and it don't mean it. ACTIONS speak louder than words"

I'm sorry you have to go through this. Our loved ones will never understand how this feels unless someday, when they are no longer using, they become the parent or spouse or sibling of an addict. It has a ripple effect. Like it or not everyone close to the person is affected.

Pat N. said...

We have a similar situation but we have a very unique understanding with our son. This understanding comes from an, "Expectation Understanding" guide that he and the family developed with the oversight of an AOD counselor.

In our agreement the police would have been called and charges would be filed. Our son understand this and excepts it. He knows we love him, he's forgiven but we support recovery. He also knows that anytime he chooses recovery we will support him the best we can. He knows we always have a plan. When he's clean it is his choice to accept recovery or not but when the disease takes over, he losses that choice.

When he is clean he never forgets our birthdays etc. and has never stolen form us. When the disease takes over he losses all rational & emotional connections; his mom could be dying in the hospital and he would be out seeking his next hit of cocaine. That is the nature of the disease. Once accepted, our family recovery became possible.

The book that gave us the best insight into the mind of the addict is "Broken" by William Cope Moyers.

Prayer for all who suffer from this disease,


Bristolvol said...

My counselor told me that we think rationally but our addicts do not. This conversation you had with him reflects that. That is the reason you cannot have a normal conversation with him when he is using. It is very frustrating. I know how you feel. God bless.

LisaC said...

Ron, I wrote an eloquent comment and then deleted it without saving/posting! (some blogging humor here) I'll try again.

I really don't think I have something eloquent to say, except you know in your heart and in your mind that you and Mom have no responsibility for Alex's relapse. It is your home and you can have any legal substance you want/you need for your own well being. Alex has to accept that there are triggers and opportunities everywhere; and if he already used before the cough medicine showed up, then he simply isn't ready to be 100% clean. Addicts actually live with other addicts and manage not to use...when they are ready. It is all about Alex and his true desire to fight this battle that will be the factor or the motivator. Not you, not Mom, not the GF, etc. You already know that.

Your writings and thoughts about living with, loving and parenting an addict have been instrumental to many of us and our growth as parents of addicts, so I implore you not to stop writing. Alex's opinion on this is irrelevant. It is about your own therapy, recovery, health and well being. Not his.

I continue to keep you and your family in my prayers; and although I'm sorry for every parent that is part of this "community," I continue to be glad that I have every one of you out there providing me some support. I just hope we are doing the same for you.

Her Big Sad said...

Not your fault, Dad 'n Mom..... You, and I, we're going to be gone one day. The rest of the world isn't going to clear the way for our kids not to be "triggered" by seeing something they could abuse. My daughter gets incensed when I say that, but it's the truth. She's got to decide for herself if she wants to be clean. I have to live with her decision. I can't bring it about by manipulating (clearing) her environment. She likely would outlive my efforts. I am not sure I'm making sense - I'm a bit tired today.

Please know that I am thinking of you, all of you, and keeping you in my prayers. I hope you will continue writing and speaking because you truly have something important to say, and we benefit so much from your presence here, and you will likely never know how many benefit from your outreach efforts in your community.

Heather's Mom said...

Catching up from being gone - so much to say... I can see where this would make you mad. This is your wife whom you love beyond measure and have seen her hurting with this infection. No, it is not Mom & Dad's fault. It is heartbreaking no doubt. I am so glad he made it through though. I wish A the best, it's so hard b/c it's so easy for me to believe what he says. I will always have hope for him. I think he makes comments about your writing b/c it forces him to SEE what he doesn't want to.

Your talks at the school - awesome - and my gosh - I am so impressed with your daughter that she accompanied you and presented too. From the questions that were asked you can see how beneficial your involvement was, and to get conversations started at homes. Just awesome...

AND, I think this was my favorite of all your Partnership articles - so profound and exactly what I have been fuming about myself and some self-pity going on these past couple days. It is so hard to get your mind out of the Ought to Be...

I hope Mom is feeling a bit better - maybe the last round of antibiotics kicked in? If the dr wouldn't give her more cough medicine, at least to sleep (since I am the Queen of Sinus Infections/Chest colds/coughs) Alka-Seltzer Night-time Citrus flavor is the only thing that can get me through the night when I have that.

I've been praying for your family & A, but not knowing what was going on this past week... now that I know I'll pray some specifics. God bless you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Does your son actually read your blog Ron? I have asked my son if he wanted to read mine but he said it would be to painful. Part of me wanted to slap him up side the head and say "That's because it is PAINFUL for all involved". Oh how I understand your anger and your compassion. You are in my prayers. Sharing what you learned in your own life is very noble and kind. You have helped more people then you realize and there has to be some satisfaction in having a purpose come out of this truly crappy situation.

Mom of Opiate Addict said...

Ditto to all of the above. I took my son some food tonight because I felt compassion and I ended up angry and then saying I am sorry. Whew, it can just all be so exhausting until we just surrender and accept it. For sure not your fault and you have every right in the world to feel anger along with compassion, it is part of this whole nightmare none of us signed up for. I am keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers and you just keep on writing Ron.

Brother Frankie said...

dad, ya know i love ya right? if there is any question, ill tell ya. you and yourr family are on my prayer list. you are loved.

ok.. this might hurt.

stop suffering the consequences for your sons addiction. he is not working a program. you know it and i definitely know it or there would be talk of his sponsor in there somewhere. and two meetings a day during bad times.. (rides are available all the time for meetings)

so what now. i know many of you folks are not fans of sober house and those dr drew shows, but, this week dr drew brought out a point that i was thinking about telling you last week.

he told a constantly relapsing addict, i already mourned your death so i dont feel remorse or guilt when you die. i have already buried you in my mind so i can go on with my life. i am done with you.

ouch, hurts even more when its your son, daughter, wife, husband....

twenty years ago those words kicked me into recovery..

you are trying to figure out an addict. good luck. leave that to us addicts. we know what we/they are thinking and will tell them they are full of crap or whatever.

are you and mom in counseling? if not, run and get help. the auditorium stuff and speaking in schools are ok. its your medicine. its your medicating. you cant help your son, so you are trying to help the others.

man to man, i am concerned. you are going to drive yourself nuts. get some help.

you are loved abundantly,
awaiting the shout
rev. frankie G

Tonjia said...

I would highly recomend the book "Willpower is not enough". It describes the addict, the addictive family, and our addictive society. Your son is not the problem. He is only a symptom of family dysfunction, which is rampant in our culture. If you will take the lead, and begin to address your own recovery, things will get better for all of you. My kids could not recover in my house, until I got better. Period.
Once I quit abusing them in the name of love, and quit expecting them to be what they are not, and quit holding a double standard between them and me, and learned to accept them where they stood, things just changed, all by themselves, magically. As their parent, I was failing to meet their emotional and dependency needs. I learned how to do that. It changed everything.

Fractalmom said...

brother frankie, you are the ONLY other person I have EVER heard say the foll0wing besides me.

"he told a constantly relapsing addict, i already mourned your death so i dont feel remorse or guilt when you die. i have already buried you in my mind so i can go on with my life. i am done with you."

that is what I did with my daughter and it saved my sanity. I have tried and tried and tried and tried to explain it to other parents who call me harsh, unloving, and unsupportive. after 11 years of dealing with a daughters addiction, the birth of three addicted grandkids, two of whom i have custody of....

yeah. I consider my daughter, the baby I gave birth too, the child I raised, with the boo-boo's I kissed...she is dead. I mourned her, I grieved for the loss.

Now, I can deal with the 'thing' that walks around in the body formerly inhabited by my child in a calm, detached and civil manner. I neither love, nor hate her anymore. she just is.

there will be a little sadness when she finally overdoses, but it will be mostly for her children, although there will be a bit of a relief too, they can grieve and the 'ghost in the corner who won't die - as their counselor calls the mom" will really be a ghost and not a constantly involved manipulating, lying, promise breaking heart wrenching sometimes there, sometimes not influence in their lives.

but mostly, I already grieved so I will just feel relief then.

I know, i get alot of crap for feeling that way. How can a mother POSSIBLY feel that way?

After 11 long years, it's not as hard as you might imagine. Think, those of you who have had an addict for three years what you are going to feel like in EIGHT more years of the same crap?

Are you still going to be seeking out help for the addict? Still giving them money, and places to live and things to eat?

You know why there are so many homeless street addicts? because truthfully, their families CAN NOT TAKE IT after about the 7th or 8th year. Heroin doesn't destroy (or just destroy) the addict who chose the life. it destroys the families who DID NOT CHOOSE TO BE PUT IN THIS POSITION.

I did not cause my daughter's addiction. She did. I do not believe it is a disease. and further, I believe all those out there who say "oh, they cannot help it, they have a disease are simply enabling the addict to continue the victimology of their thinking....

"oh, I CAN'T get better, and get clean. I have a D I S E A S E.


Ron, I hope you and your wife and the rest of your family do not let Alex draw you any further into the insanity. Mom, believe me I DO KNOW how hard it is.

But guys. You cannot let it tear you up anymore.


Bristolvol said...

Amen to what Dawn said. I am almost in the same place. My daughter has withdrawn from me because I am the "spoiler". I don't buy the crap the says anymore. She only goes to people she can con, and I am not one of them. Six years and two addicted babies later, I am almost there. Her dad decided that she died last year.

Heather's Mom said...

Dad- see my post I just wrote - want you to have the chance to comment in case I totally didn't interpret your recent Partnership article (which I loved) the way you intended... Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

It is sad for me to see people telling you to give up on someone you love because he has a disease.

I was a member of the soberrecovery forums and noticed you had the thread about your 7 truths for parents of an addict removed cos of copyright reasons. This kind of disappointed me. It should be about helping people, nothing else.
And it DID help people, was that not your goal? I don't understand.

The Interventionist said...

It's tough. All of us know the right things to do and say, but the truth is that if you have had your ticket really punched on this issue, when they go down for the 51st time and leave you staring at an empty prescription bottle, you feel nothing good. So what do we do, we soldier on, we go to meetings, we seek people who can help and support us, and we live on, a day at a time. Maybe a little diminished, always a little pissed off, but we live on. And we hope and we pray. Thanks for sharing.

Annette said...

This stuff hurts like holy hell. I know that through my daughter's addictions I was forced to look at my own responses and reactions. I too had to examine the concept of my daughter's death, thanks to my husband who is not in a program but seems to have a good head on his shoulders, telling me, "We have to accept that we may lose our child to this. We have to make peace with that in our hearts, knowing that we love her but that it is a very real reality as to how this all could turn out." Once he said that, I got it. I had to dig in and peek occasionally at that idea until I could face it head on....because he was right. If I didn't acknowledge that that could be part of our future, it would have killed me and taken me off guard. It did help me to continue on in my regular everyday life.

But truly what a shitty thing for a parent to have to do. But life is full of shitty stuff and we just make our way through the best we can. Alex's sobriety is up to Alex. Whether someone leaves cough syrup out or not is not the issue. Alex has to come to a place of pursuing his sobriety and fighting for it because its something he wants more than anything else in the world. The ball is in Alex's court. Let him pick it up.

I've got you guys on my prayer list. The whole thing sucks. But there is life on the other side. I have had glimpses and its good over there. :o)

Dad and Mom said...


Yes I had 7 Truths removed from the soberrecovery website because the owner/moderator insisted I violate copyright laws by copying articles I write for The Partnership and putting them on her site. When I posted links to articles I have been ask to write for someone else she threatened to ban me from the site. I felt it best that if ultimatum was for me to violate copyright or stop posting it was best for us to part ways.

You can find my article on the 7 Truths at:

Along with my other Partnership articles at:

YES, I hope if you continue to read my postings you will see I am about helping others but I think at the very least I should get respect for writing and not be expected to copy and paste my own articles to someone else without linking to the original or my site.

I welcome anyone to read my site or visit

Brother Frankie said...

man, i wish we all could meet one a week at starbucks or someplace with nice cozy chairs and an expresso machine.

wouldnt that be special (borrowing from church lady on SNL)

Annette.."But life is full of shitty stuff " didnt jesus or paul say that? is used it once in a sermon and the non-street folks just about circumcised my tongue...

be blessed
brother frankie