Monday, May 31, 2010

Another Mom

It is so sad they just keep coming and coming.

Please look in on this mom of an addict.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Face Value, Entitlements and Horror

This morning is beautiful. The sun is shining the temperature is 70 and I rode to work without a jacket and there was hardly any traffic. The coffee is god, I'm sorry, that was a typo it should be, good.

I logged on and checked the blogs I follow. Three of them struck a nerve this morning and rather than just comment to them I decided to write about them here, and share the links.

Renee at Mom Trying To Detach With Love spoke about the guilt you feel when you have to tell your child no.

We all face this with our addicts. It is impossible to take our addicts at face value. As much as we want to trust and feel that security and appreciation of helping someone that asks for help we cannot fall into that trap. Exhausting is the only word I can think of that describes the effort it takes to stand firm against the constant barrage of issues facing the parent of an addict. I sometimes long for the day that I will be able to take at face value what may son says to me. Maybe that day may never come. Guilt of saying no is something we lay upon ourselves. I'm getting a lot better at shedding that guilt now that I know where it comes from.

Jan wrote of entitlements, There Is No Hero In Heroin this is a great posting about the mentality of my son and maybe many others. Poor pitiful me is how it all starts. No accountability for their own actions, just a plea of, "will you please..........?"

We want so bad just to give them that one little thing. With that hope of giving one more little item of comfort will show them the light. It doesn't work that way and I am so glad this mother sees that. It took me a long time to see that I could not bargain away my son's addiction.

Today gifts are given with no expectation of appreciation or change. My lesson has been learned that if you give your addict a gift it has to be because you are a giving person, there can be no expectation attached because that only sets you up for heartache.

CC at Mother Of A Beautiful Addict Boy has only written two posts. She a mother just now entering this horror as the parent of an addict.

It seems like only yesterday her feelings were gnawing in our gut. This is a horror I do not think any of us parents can forget. It is so ingrained in me I only hope that when I die my last thought is not of this horror. It does get better but it is always just below the surface.

There is a horror in discovering your son is an addict. But there is a time it will be better for you, even if your son continues to use. The horror of that discovery never goes away but the pain becomes manageable and then finally you find that you can go on living even with this horror of having an addicted child. There will be times you sink into that horrible place by something or someone that reminds you of that time. But that feeling will go away too. You learn eventually that the feeling of horror is yours to control.

Thank you to those mothers that wrote their inspiring posts today.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fathers Recovery

It has been over a week since I posted anything but I read others blogs everyday and comment on some.

It is harder to write about about my son's addiction/recovery when I am not directly involved in his life with him living under our roof. It is easier for me to cruise along fat dumb and happy when I am not exposed to his daily drama, no matter if he is using or working on his recovery. So right now I am basking in my fat, dumb and happy life.

As I progress through this, what do you really call being the parent of an addict? I change how I act and react. My current stage and thought processes are that I wasn't involved in the beginning of his using. In fact he kept it very secret from all of us. At this time if he serious about recovery than it is perfectly OK for him to go through this part of addiction without me too. He seems to have found a girl he cares for and if she enough of an influence to make him want to stay clean than I am happy for him and her. So the reality is there is not much to report on my son's status, I just don't know anything for sure.

One thing for sure though I do know our little granddaughter is a joy for us. She is quite different than that little profile picture on my blog. She gets her way around grandma and grandpa, much to mom and dad's chagrin.

ps.: Another mom dealing with heartache:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Interesting Distraction, Another Blog

Last year Mom was in a situation at work where she was on a list of people to possibly go to Thailand to train people for her company. After a lot of stress and worry by Mom about having to go to Thailand for 4 months she wound up not having to go. They ended up bringing 2 of them to the U.S. to train.

However, one of her programmer friends did have to go and train the Thai people in Bangkok. When he left he began a blog about his experience. Now with the riots in Bangkok between the government forces and the Red Shirts it is pretty interesting because the place he is staying is only 2 kilometers from the fighting.

If you want to read about his adventures here is a link: Travels In Thailand

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Anger of Addiction

I haven't spoke to may son since his last relapse. His mother has talked to him a couple times about mail and court summons he receives here at our house.

It's easy to be angry with someone that is addicted. Everyone knows they give you plenty of reasons. Probably easier for parents more than anyone else because it is easier to drop someone that isn't your child and move on. Most of the time we just hold the anger slightly below the surface and the unconditional love makes it all OK.

Funny how at times I still refer to my 22 year old son as our child. Maybe that has some psychological meaning to to some doctor but to me it is just how I see him.

I have finally gotten to that point his problem is his but dealing with a loved ones addiction is like an octopus, any one of multiple arms can reach out and grasp you and try pulling you into their world at any time.

Addiction is a brain disease. It changes people, I can see it not only in my son but in others suffering from addiction and alcoholism. Who is that person? What happens to the entity that lived in that body before the drugs began to destroy their being? I do not see people coming out the other side the way they were before they ventured into that dark tunnel. The sorry thing is one person takes the lead into the tunnel and all of us family members follow that person unknowingly to be changed forever also.

The anger in which I speak is not at the addicted. They have a disease. All that can happen now is for them to work their issues and try to remain clean. My anger goes back to why do it the first time. It's not like nobody has never heard the phrase Just Say No.

How do you reach the kid that has all the opportunities in the world to use drugs and alcohol and enable them to pass on that thrill? I don't try to fool myself, I've never tried this crap before but it must be awful good. But I still say no. What is it inside of us that have the ability to say no and how do we articulate that message to the people in need? This is not a rhetorical question. I have spent countless hours trying to unlock that puzzle. I'd really like to hear any thoughts from others as to the mystery of this answer.

I know most all of us writing and reading blogs concerning addiction are overwhelmed with the results of that first time and the life of addiction that follows. Can the cycle be interrupted or are some people just predestined?

(sorry, if you read our blog you cannot escape my daily deliberations and philosophies concerning this life. if you have read this far you just been had)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Right Question

I am still pondering the posting and all of the comments from when I wrote, "Do You Ever Blame Yourself?" After seeing what another blogger wrote on her blog and making a comment there I want to write more on the subject of blaming yourself.

This is a trap easily fell into by parents, or let me just say it is an easy trap for me at times. The shoulda's, woulda's and coulda's get replayed like highlights on SportsCenter. This can drive you crazy at times.

When playing the woulda, coulda and shoulda game it is easy because most of the time it goes something like this. I shoulda done this instead, he woulda done that and everything coulda been OK. So, what is the flaw in that thinking? It counts on someone else doing a specific thing in a response to my action. So much of that thinking depends on someone else in which you really have no control. No wonder it is easy to play that game, the real fault of action gets to fall on someone else.

Instead of woulda, coulda, and shoulda what is the right question?

What have I learned?

That question makes it so much harder because all of a sudden it is on me completely. I am responsible for my own actions only and I am responsible for my own learning.

Mistakes of intention will happen for all of us. But as we learn the honest lessons from our actions we will become better parents and healthier inside. To learn the lesson I must remember to not to play woulda, coulda, shoulda games and always ask myself the right question.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Everyone going around today wishing mothers a Happy Mother's Day. I'll join the group just to be conventional. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers and especially those struggling mothers with addicted children.

However, I don't do "Hallmark" holidays. And that is a pretty dangerous statement when you live in Kansas City, home of and corporate location of Hallmark Cards. I Hope Don Hall Jr. isn't reading this blog, he's a pretty big deal in KC. Plus Mom actually worked for Hallmark for 6 months when we got married.

My alternative, instead of making a big deal over your mother today and sending cards, flowers and everything else. I try doing those things on 364 other days of the year.

Honor mothers 365 days of the year.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Reading Comments and Self Reflection

It seems like I sure opened a hornet’s nest with my last posting. I usually don’t get 26 comments to a posting but I am glad there was such good discussion and I hope everyone had a chance to go back and read all the comments.

I read everyone’s comments multiple times and see others having the same experience over and over and others that have moved past emotional attachment to their addicts. The question that begs an answer is;”What is right and what is wrong?” I don’t believe there is a hard fast rule in every situation. The variables are enormous in each family as to what is expected and how a person, the addict and the loved one can recover from a mistake of intentions.

I have also done some research on defining co-dependency. Those that know me personally would probably agree unanimously Dad does not in any way have a co-dependent personality. One of the best sites I found about defining and analyzing co-dependency is: . Most that know me intimately would side that Dad has more of an “independency” problem.

Can the actions of another person or loved anger me? Yes, but in 30 minutes I’m back to having lunch with them. Why would I do that? Is it because I need them? No it is because I respect them and love them. I had an experience as a child that I learned a lesson from that has carried into being an adult. When I was in junior high my best friend and I had a fight, we didn’t speak for 3 years. What was it about, who knows, who cares. All I know for sure was that nothing was ever the same between us again. What I learned was anger and grudges hurt only the person experiencing the emotion. Can I be angry at my son for what he did and still be over it just as quick? Yep, in a heartbeat and it’s the same with hurt feelings, and disappointments.

For me the magic formula doesn’t involve 12 step meetings or some higher power. My personality is such that independence and self reflection is my go to place. That’s a hard lesson to learn in dealing with an addicted child. I don’t advocate my methodology or that answer for any one individual because I am a strong believer in the “whatever works for you” method of recovery for both the addict and the loved ones of addicts.

My belief in surviving this experience is to work very hard in learning from the daily experience of parenting an addict. A wise man once told me he had a goal in life to make only new mistakes. It has been 25 years since that discussion. At first, as a 30 year old guy trying to grab the world by the tail I didn’t think much about that way of thinking. My thinking was to make no mistakes. Make no mistakes??? Yea, you know how long that lasted. Then the wisdom of that goal sunk in and I made it a personal long term goal; the day I die I hope to be still working to achieve that goal.

So I will make more mistakes, undoubtedly. Plus I will continue to write about them. This is for my benefit and maybe others will learn from the experience too. That is not being arrogant. My experience is that I learn from others too, I don’t have to make the mistake to learn a new lesson.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Do You Ever Blame Yourself?

Do you ever blame yourself for what you son is doing?

That was a question a student ask during on of my presentations on Friday. My answer, "Every single day." As a parent I have that thought in my mind constantly. Rationally I know his adiction belongs to him and I didn't cause it but never the less at times I take ownership in the actions of all my kids, not just the addicted one.

How do we keep from making mistakes of the heart? Doing an honorable thing and having the result become a dishonorable event seems to be something that happens with parents of an addict.

Last week my son began his new job. He has been living with his girlfriend her two daughters and a friend he grew up with that lived across the street. At one point none of them had work, girlfriend and friend had been laid off and son hadn't found a job yet. Last week my son started working, the neighbor boy from across the street got called back to work and this week the girlfriend got called back to work. The bad part about it was that rent was due and girlfriend's parents had helped them last month so our son called and ask if I would loan him money for rent. They were all working but none had gotten a paycheck yet so I felt good about loaning him money.

We had already been sending down some care packages of food and stuff, this is nothing different than we had done for each of our girls when they were that age. So on Wednesday last week he came up to ask for a loan. He had been doing well, staying clean and excited about his new job. We were happy for him even if it had only been less than a month since the last time he relapsed. I gave him the money. Plus I added some extra and told him this was for groceries. His friend was with him. I specifically said, "This extra money is for groceries, no cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol or drugs!" They were both very appreciative and left happy.

I don't know what happened after they left but the next evening I heard that he used. The rent money was now $30 and no groceries. Girlfriend took him to our oldest daughter's and she refused to take him and I think they knew not to come to our house.

I am still so angry I can hardly see straight. Angry at him but angry at myself too. I fell into that trap again. It's not like I don't know better! Can someone volunteer to kick me in the ass my leg is getting sore from kicking myself.

Do you ever blame yourself?

How much do we really own? I do own a small piece of last week. I know better. I gave an addict a handfull of twenty's. It's time to learn from the experience and move on.