Thursday, November 10, 2011

Parents and Recovery

Alex stopped using a over one year ago. Today he is drug free and working to put his life back together.
There are countless books and websites about addiction, rehab and recovery. Most of them are filled with valuable pages of information that help both the addict and the parent. I won’t discredit anything on these sites in books but I want to share what I have learned about being the parent of an addict in recovery not from reading but from the experience. No long drawn out processes or pages explanations. This is just some words and actions that seem to help me.
  • Recovery is hard. Sometimes they need a hand, make sure your hand is out for them to grasp when needed. But, don’t hold on too long.
  • Addicts dig deep holes for themselves. Contrary to what you may think filling the hole is faster when only one person has a shovel. If you help to shovel it will take longer to fill the hole.
  • Forgiveness is for me. The sooner I understand the faster I heal.
  • “Believe” or “doubt”. I choose believe. Have you ever had someone tell you that they believe in you?
  • Normal is right. “Fragile, Handle with Care” is not stamped in big red letters on a child in recovery. To stop using means they want a normal life again.
  • I love you. That is a reassurance we ALL need.
  • Nagging, suspicious looks and reminders of past mistakes really irritate me. Addicts in recovery probably don’t need them either.
  • His recovery is his to manage. I know that for the last seven years he hasn’t been able to manage ANYTHING. But, we all have to learn and begin someplace.


Lou said...

Thanks for this. I can't force my idea of "normal" on the addict. There is room for all kinds of "normal" ex-addicts in this world.

Barbara said...

I thank you too.

Dee said...

I love the "believe" or "doubt". So true.

Much wisdom here...

maijalepore said...

Thanks Ron. I'm so grateful to have found you and this community. It's the only outlet I have where people get me and understand.

Cathy said...

Thank you Ron. I have read your blog from the beginning and it helps knowing other parents are going thru the same thing my family is. My son is 23 and for right now is sober. I'm stuck on forgiveness though. I have so much anger over the last 5 years of hell he has put our family thru.I just can't seem to get past it. I wish I could let it go.

Dad and Mom said...


I know you have probably heard all the reasons to forgive. I want to share something I thought long about and helped me.

Alex did awful things during his active using. Money and things stolen fro us, sisters, family, grandparents, relationships destroyed, Dad and Mom fought so bad with ourselves we both began to wonder if WE would make it together.

In all things we must find some thing to learn and appreciate.

Alex and his addiction made me a better father. In my growing up our family didn't say "I love you". I told my dad that on the day he died. I think that was the only time I ever said that to him. He said it back to me, the only time I remember that too. In our family those words were to be just understood. My experience with my son taught me to say those three words to my children and others. One good thing.

Another good thing, I learned to hug.

Those couple things may seem small but they are big to me. It makes it easier to forgive someone of their actions and life when I look at those two things that he taught me and gave me.

Look to see if your son and his addiction has given you anything. It's not easy to find a single star in that black night but maybe there is a pinpoint of light that can help you.

Cathy said...

Thank you for your words of wisdom. I am giving your advice a lot of thought. Please know that your blog has been a blessing to me as I have gone thru this journey. You have put all of my own thoughts and feelings into words.Blessings to you and your family. Thank you

Syd said...

Good stuff, Ron. I would much rather believe in others as well.

Holly.D said...

Thank you for this...I am not a parent but an addict in recovery and I will be clean for one year on Dec 10th 2011. My parents still don’t know how to deal with everything that comes of having a child in recovery. I just read this post to my mom and she didn’t say anything but I fell like she absorbed what you had to say. I can only imagine what us recovering addicts have put our parents threw, and I know unless I had a child in the future who heaven forbid fell into an addiction I will never understand the thoughts, emotions, worries, panic...etc. we cause all of you.

So I just want to say thank you for putting your heart and emotions so openly out there. I know there are many parents of us addicts in recovery and in active addiction who just don’t know how to relate to there kids or understand them anymore. Post addiction parents have a hard time comprehending that there kids will never be the same we are not to sound clesha but "special" however you cant treat us like we are. I can tell you understand also are brains work differently now, not that that is a bad thing its just a fact. So if you can help other parents to even somewhat begin to understand us that is a gift I am so thankful for. Your support can help put families back together by giving other parents hope and understanding!!!! Thank you for your blog! plz keep writing!

Anonymous said...

As a recovering addict I have found so much truth in reading your blog. Thank you for heartfelt efforts to educate people. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

thank you for doing this blog. i can see it brings a lot of comfort to bewildered parents. i was doing some research on a similar topic and came across a petition to decriminalize minor substance abuse offenses so the "offender" receives treatment, rather than jail time. this would help the young addict get a job later because there would be less on his or her criminal record. i wondered what your community thought of the concept. the petition is here: