Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Emotions During The Holiday Season

When our son was actively using and not in jail we dreaded holidays and weekends. Holidays especially seemed to be a trigger for disaster. One event after another was ruined by his using and actions, birthdays, Christmas, no matter what event there seemed to be drama. We used to moan, "Why does he always do this on a holiday?!!!" I'm sure we aren't alone in expressing that exasperation.

I began to realize that it wasn't just the holiday he was screwing up. He was addicted to drugs. With that came a constant need for him to use each day and if a holiday or special event happened to roll around that wasn't going to end his using. All that really happened was the holiday or event complicated the drama due to added people sometimes but always complications entered from our heightened expectations of a holiday we wished to have instead of the reality of the one we faced.

As this Christmas rolls around our son is in jail. Yes, we wish he were home with us but the reality is our life is our making and his life is his making. The joy we feel this Christmas different from the past. This time he went to jail clean and with a desire to be clean. Yep, we really do wish he was with us this Christmas but......

Dealing with my own personal feelings is complicated. The rational side of me understands the consequences of actions and supports that there should be consequences. But, I am angry. My anger is with my son because of the pain he is causing my wife, his sisters and everyone else in our family that wants so badly for him to be with us but will not be allowed be with us as a family. I see their hurt and it makes me angry that he put himself in a position to hurt those people in this way.

Each time I see my mother she asks about our son. She knows he is in jail and why but she still says she worries so about him. The reality is she is over 80 years old and dementia is quickly overtaking her mind despite the medications. He gets out in 5 months and who knows what other counties may do, but one thing I know for sure is my mother is not going to get better and who knows at what place she will be when she can see him. Another spot of anger for me to see her disappointment when she cannot see him. Her visiting him in jail is not an option, she wouldn't be able to handle it in her condition.

Living in the world of "what is" versus the world of "ought to be" SUCKS. But I found much more peace when I began living in the world of "is" rather than the constant turmoil of the world of "ought".

ps.: Please check out this mother's blog that just today sent her 20 year old son to rehab for 6 months far, far away. Addiction From The Parent Perspective


Syd said...

So true. Reality is the now. I could wish for many things, but nothing changed the basic dynamics until the person was ready to do their own changing. Hope that you have a peaceful Christmas,regardless.

Momma said...

yeah, Living in the Now sucks sometimes. I'm a planner by nature, but have learned I have to back off of that and just experience the day I'm in. Adjusting expectations, learning to live with it... not easy to accept. I wish your family Serenity this Holiday Season. Thanks for sharing!

BMelonsLemonade said...

My grandmother died of cancer when I had been clean only a few months. I had not seen her in ten years, and when she got sick my probation would not allow me to leave the state to visit her. (Virginia is the worst!) I was not able to see her before she died. That is one of the biggest consequences I have faced, to date. There are some consequnces that we, as addicts, can never, ever make right again...and those are things that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. But, the rest of them are eventually amendable. There will be other holidays, for sure, and with a lot more clean time under Alex's belt...the sadness and frustrations of this (and previous) holidays will melt away...the joy at a whole, clean, happy, and close family will take over. At times, it will even seem like none of this ever happened. But, there are also some things we addicts can never take back. In the long run, the consequences like jail seem minor in comparison to the ones we will forver carry with us (like not getting to see my grandmother.) I am lucky, my grandmother was a recovered alcoholic, so if anyone was her. And I know she is watching me now, and is the most proud because only she knows how hard it really is. Despite that, I still wish I could have been there.

Wishing y'all a wonderful holiday, in spite of things. I will be thinking about Alex on Christmas...I know how lonely he will be. Next year will hopefully be the best Chrsitmas yet!

LisaC said...

Living in the "world as it is" as opposed to the world that I want it to be is challenging right now. It seems like the holidays are a time where my expectations are so out of whack with reality and it causes my heart to hurt.

I need to pay attention to your message, I need to sit back and give it to God, and I really need to figure out how to feel good about what good I have in my life.

Thank you for sharing how you are feeling during this time of year.

Kim A. said...

I know the pain of wishing things were different with my son before we kicked him out. I was then told that my anger and pain were like a mantle that I wore, which drug me down, and it became a mantle of a martyr. I then knew that my son's actions had not caused my suffering, but my own refusal to look at me and not him. A hard truth for me but it allowed me to remove the mantle and accept myself and my son with love and hope. Just my .02. Happy Holidays to you and yours.


Sid said...


I've been a heroin addict for nearly fourteen years, starting at 17.

Ive struggled for years with it, and the damage and pain you cause your family is awful, it also feeds back into the cycle of using though through the guilt!

Interesting blog anyway, I know writing really helps me.. I've recently started blogging about it all anyway


Ive blogged about it anyway

Brother Frankie said...

Lean on this truth to receive hope for your heart, and recieve peace..
"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him."

I never forget to pray for your family..

you are loved
Brother Frankie

Lori said...

I just said goodbye to my son at the airport today. He left for 6 months of rehab in a state far away. Christmas is going to be very difficult this year, in a way much different than past years of drug induced craziness. I so feel your pain.
Today was my first blog post. I don't understand how this addiction thing forces us to lay our souls bare to the world, but it certainly does.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting that when we are dealing with our actively using kids, we expend so much energy in their direction that we have little reserve left for ourselves/spouses? Then, when we realize that they are safe and perhaps even(fingers crossed) on the road to recovery that we finally take a deep breath, take a good look in the mirror and realize how hurt and angry we truly are? You are certainly not alone, Ron. So many of us know exactly how you are feeling. I know I do. Please know that you are loved and appreciated by so many.

Anonymous said...

Let me put this in perspective. Today, two days before Christmas, I am burying my 28 year old son. He died from a heroin overdose, he died from the disease of addiction. He did not want to be an addict and tried to do this on his own. My prayer everyday was to God to help him heal and keep him safe. Sometimes I think he got the greatest gift of all this Christmas, the gift of peace and I have been relieved of alot of worry and stress, not that I wouldn't give my life to have him here with me right now. It's been a 10 year struggle with years of sobriety, but what I have learned that is if you don't take care of yourself, the addiction just lies and waits til it can pounce and take over again. Hug your addicts from near or afar and tell them you love them. In the words from his former sponsor, "some of us are lucky enough to survive and it's so easy to forget the gratitude we should express everyday" Love to all of the parents of addicts, I not only had to talk the talk, I also had to walk the walk. A heartbroken Mom in Pennsylvania.

lulu said...

Oh, Mom in Pennsylvania,
My heart is so very heavy for you and all the others affected by this disease. It is a very sad reality that this is where some of us will be one day, standing graveside. If that comes, I KNOW that I will be able to say that I did all I could to help him. I can work MY program, but I can't work his. Thanks for the reminder to take care of myself. It is a daily battle.
May God be with you today and comfort you in the days to come.
HUGS across the miles.
lulu in Georgia

VJ said...

The posts here are so wonderful, so understanding and reflective of our unique situations dealing with the disease of addiction.

Thanks Dad and everyone for your insightful post and we will be making a special prayer for anonymous and her family.

Blessings to all

Anonymous said...

I so know how you feel. Tonight is Christmas Eve and my son has come home to spend the night and is still addicted. My mood went from something joyous after arriving home after working all day to one of deep sadness after talking to him and hearing about how he is still struggling and how he is worried about his health. I have been sitting in my computer room alone, crying, and feeling so hopeless, so alone. But I know I'm not. I wish this thing called "addiction" was "real", so that I could fight it myself, beat the living shit out of it, but I can't. Only he can and that's what scares the life out of me. I'm sorry to be so depressing and thank you for your blog. I have been following it for a while and my thoughts so out to you and your family this Christmas season.

Naomi C. said...

My nanna is 85 and she lives a few minutes from me, as does my own mother and my sister also. We are lucky to live so close here in Cambridge, UK. I have been clean for a couple of months and the difference it has made to my nanna is astounding, my mother also, but my nanna I always felt a sense of urgency to get better for, as although her own mum lived till 98, there is no setinstone answer as to when she will be around to. It would have killed me if she had gone while I was an addict still actively using. I am not sugarcoating things but I do believe this is IT finally, I am 23, been on it for nearly a decade. At college, just applied to UNI, for the first time EVER i have been actively handling all my own money and not touching one single drug bar alcohol and thats even in better stead than before.
Hopefully your son will have this "ephinany" too.

I wish you all the best, prayers are with you. Hope this christmas, albeit without your son, was a good one. All the best for the New Year

Naomi x

FFMedicJules said...

Hi sorry to be a little late at posting on this, but I was just told about it... My younger and only brother, who is 24, is a chronic alcohol and has been for the last 7-8 years. Every birthday, holiday, family gathering, and vacation the last 7-8 years have been ruined... Fortunately this year was different for my family. A few days before Christmas, I placed my brother under involuntary commitment to get some help. There for Christmas was slightly peaceful knowing he was sober and safe. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and stories with us, as its made it nice to know I'm not alone. Thank you.

Gledwood said...

That is rather than ought thing is what NA call "accepting life on life's terms" ... far easier said than done. When I was actively using I never could do it (can't believe I'm using the past tense here).

It's nice to see people I know commenting in the same place.