Monday, April 26, 2010


How do you make those connections to someone you never knew?

I see my son working on his sobriety today like I haven't see in the past. I think he is actually doing it for himself this time. In the past I look back and I see how we coerced him into recovery and it ended badly each time.

The efforts he puts forth this time will benefit him. I am not holding them up as benchmarks for myself or his success. It is his program and I refuse to own his work this time. This is a change from the past.

My current struggles are in recognizing that my son is a different person then when he began his addiction. But I must also recognize that I am a different person. The elephant in the room for me is the past. I see that letting go of our pain is something that is essential to success for both of us in this new way forward. I cannot continue to hold on to past failures, disappointments and hurt like a security blanket that reminds me to protect myself.

There is no doubt that the future will hold its own failures, disappointments and hurt. If I insist on building a wall from the onset to protect myself from those things it will not help me or him.

I am taking uneasy steps. I don't know how to interact with my son as an adult. For so many years my interaction has been with a addicted child and for most of that time my mindset was that he was my kid that needed to be straightened out. That really isn't very clear when I read it but I think most of the parents of an addict reading this will know what I mean.

I must learn to deal with a new person. This person is an adult, he is an addict in recovery, he is 22 years old and there is a lot of baggage with each of us. I can only control how I approach this new relationship but this time I have to accept how he wants to handle this relationship.

Hello, my name is Dad, it is good to meet you.


Erin said...

My 22 year old son began suboxone treatment today for his opiate addiction. I too am on a journey on learning how to relate to my son who truly is a different person. Thank you for your words of wisdom. I have been dealing with his addiction issues since 2006 and for the past year and a half opiate addiction. So glad that I found blogs of parents who are also struggling.

Anna said...

Dear Dad,

I am so glad that he is on the right path again! I loved the line about the security blanket of the past pain reminding us to protect ourselves. I hope I can learn to protect myself without dwelling on the past pain.

Syd said...

It sounds as if you are more than willing to do your part. I hope that he is willing to do his.

Diana said...


Great post! I see myself in your wise words as well. I had to let my 21 yr old heroin addict daughter go and find own way. I am now working daily on my own recovery.

GG said...

My mom and I have been re-connecting these last 4 years I've been in Al-Anon. It's hard but it's also wonderful, getting a 2nd chance and getting to know & love each other this new way.

LisaC said...

As my son moves forward with his recovery (God willing, this will continue), I have found that our relationship is very different. You do a wonderful job of articulating that. Thank you.

Alex and Bryan are the same age...sometimes I feel that he (Bryan) is so young for his age (based on maturity level); and sometimes I feel like he is an "old soul" because he has seen and experienced so much "darkness."

Our connection (for me) is the biggest challenge right now.

Heather's Mom said...

Definitely know what you mean about taking uneasy steps. It is good to hear though that you are taking them... it's bound to get easier/more comfortable in time right??? (I can only hope!)
So glad to hear he is working hard at his sobriety.
God bless.

Her Big Sad said...

I'm so glad to hear that you see him working hard on his sobriety. Never give up hope! (Hug!)

Gledwood said...

It must be incredibly hard being a parent and watching addiction claim your own son and hijacking his spirit and owning him and being able to do almost nothing about it... I think there must be a lot of truth in the NA philosophy that only an addict can halp another addict and only an addict can truly help himself... I know I might have asked this before, but do you go to Adfam? As far as I know they are a group for the families of addicts who advocate setting boundaries of the type you describe: it is his program and I refuse to own his work this time...
I just wish I could work The Programme with the commitment you say you see in him.