Cathy ask: Recently you commented on Barbara's blog that when Alex was first in recovery you experienced "convoluted dark thinking" for a long time. I feel like I am in that place myself. My son has been in recovery for 3 months now but I can't seem to move forward. I tend to spend a lot of time reflecting/dwelling on the last several years of living in "crisis mode" 24/7. I'm in a pretty rough place. How did you move forward from that way of thinking? Thanks
A big part of getting over it is time. We build walls and had our shields at the ready to protect ourselves from that addiction monster. Every time I would see him or talk to him my thoughts would be of suspicion and anger. That’s a bad way to live for him and me. The key for me getting over it was dropping everything he had done wrong to me. I knew how much he owed me in cash for bail and everything else. I knew what he had stolen. I knew how he had torn things up. I knew how much he had hurt the ones I love. I was waiting for my apology and payback.
Finally, I realized as long as I held on to all of that hurt pain and anger I was not going to move forward, even though he was moving forward. When I was sure I wanted to get better I told my son I was proud of him, I believed in him and I wanted the past to be in the past. That’s how I was able to let go. I had to face my fear (my son) man to man.
After all, I knew what he was capable of and if he went back to that place I had decided that I couldn’t travel that path with him in the same way I did before. So if I wasn’t going there again there was no use to continue living in that place. Besides you miss a lot of good when you are living in a bad place. Here is a post I wrote last November about what I learned about how to be with Alex. It took me a long time to get to that point and even longer to be able to put it into words. http://parentsofanaddict.blogspot.com/2011/11/parents-and-recovery.html
About those walls and shields we build to protect us from the bad; it was like I imagined that I built a huge stone castle and I was living within the walls. For self protection I put our addicted son outside those walls. But in time I had to learn that the same walls and shields built to protect myself kept me from the good too.