Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What If It Never Gets Better?

What if it never gets better? I bet that is a question every parent of an addict has ask themselves, probably more than once.

I admit I no longer struggle day to day. Most of my time in dealing with addiction issues involves reflection. Playing Monday morning quarterback is my best position in sports so I have adapted it to life.

What if it never gets any better is that question of frustration. It's usually followed by a statement like, "I've done everything I know to do."

Lately I have been thinking about this question and it is still troubling. For a fixer like me what does that really mean, I failed? I'm not one to accept defeat. There is a fix, I just haven't gotten the right formula. That was always my answer. I always seemed to disregard the real answer because I never really accepted the premise of the question. My failure to accept reality that some never do get better caused me much heartache and much grief for my son.

The last few parents I have spoke with I have ask this difficult question. It's a hard question for me to ask because I know by the time someone would write me, a stranger, an e-mail based solely on this blog there is a desperation and hopelessness that I do personally understand very well. They aren't writing or calling to find someone to tell them give up, they are looking for an answer and sometimes just someone to talk too.

Not until the last six months of Alex's active using did I learn what I needed to know and understand the first six weeks. Understanding and dealing with addiction isn't about the addict.

Understanding and dealing with addiction is about dealing with a disease and yourself.

Granted I can't ask this question to someone that has been dealing with this six weeks but it is something we all need to answer. Put aside the anger, the fixer, the disappointment, the guilt, put aside the past. Don't try to analyze and understand ideas like powerless and acceptance. Make it simple, go off by yourself or with a close loved one.

What if it never gets better? 

What type of relationship do I want to have with my son/daughter/brother/sister/mother/ father/friend or whoever your addicted loved one happens to be? 

When you get to that answer it is easier to begin working on making your own life better despite the heartache you feel for your loved one.

Sometimes it is OK to have a one sided relationship. Life is give and take. Sometimes the scales do not balance no matter how hard you try. (thanks dad, you still speak to me even after 32 years gone.) 


karen said...

I like ur attitude thats very good sensible advice and i think i subconsciously took that step in that direction by backing off my son for a bit ty for sharing

Annette said...

What an excellent question and a wonderful post. We have been doing this for around 12 years now. Of course the whole 12 years have not been heroin....meth and then heroin began in 2007. Anyway, my point is that its been a "long-ass" time of figuring all of this out.

A few years back, I asked myself that same question...what if this is just the life we have with her? What if it doesn't ever get better? That was a turning point for me....I had ALWAYS assumed this awfulness would leave us eventually. That it would someday be a thing in our past. So far, that hasn't happened.

What I came up with was a deep inside myself acceptance of "this might be it." We could lose her or she could live for many years battling her battles. It may never be easy for her to be ok and just live. Those thoughts brought me to a place of living in today with her, accepting her right where she is at on any given day and taking it all as it comes. In no way do I mean to make this sound easy or "it just occurred to me one day and then I did it....ta da!" Absolutely not. The whole damned journey has been gut wrenching....BUT, I do feel at peace most of the time these days with the decisions we have made in regards to our girl. For us, in our own personal circumstances, we choose to maintain contact, to extend a hand, to offer help to continue in treatment. We accept that she behaves like a drug addict because that is what she is. In 12 years nothing we have done has made her better. Maybe it won't ever be something that we do. Maybe it will be something she does on her own, maybe this is as good as it will get for us with her. I just don't know. But what I do that this is the life I have been given. For whatever reason. It is my job to live it as true to my own conscience as possible, to love freely, to forgive, to let go, to continue to trust and hope that everything will turn out as it was always meant to. My girl keeps fighting. Its not perfect but its what we've got for today.

Sorry for the long comment. Such a great question though!!

Anonymous said...

Thankyou Annette, your insight and honesty truly helped me when I most needed it...

Michelle Richardson said...

This is what I have been posting about both my daughters..for the last 20 days. I did the tough love route. It just pushed my daughter's too close to Satan.. I'm not willing to let go.. I not going to say good bye. This is as good as it gets.. After 13 years of fighting this battle both my husband and I realize that this is it. After rehab after rehab..jail after jail..nothing changes.. my girls have a disease. .I will be with them as long as the Lord allows me.. my girls didn't want to live on the streets, they didn't want to beg and steal..they didn't want to sell their bodies..they are sick..they didn't want to give.up the their children. .they are so ill. Their brains aren't well. They are my babies and will be by their side one else is.

Michelle Richardson said...

In addition to previous post. My girls are 27 and 31. My youngest was raped at 13 by a close family friends son.. and that's when are world went into fighting the drug battle..and still continues.

Hattie Heaton said...

Great post. Even though your information is good, you have to be ready to hear it. I can hear it now but it took some time to get to this place.

Dad and Mom said...

Hattie, you are right. There is a process each parent must go through and at some time this is an appropriate question.

Al's Mom said...

Whoa... I never really asked myself that question. Like you... I'm a fixer! I thought I could fix him and still kind of do. I know I can't but my heart won't listen to my head.

What if it doesn't get better and what kind of relationship do I want with my son if it doesn't???? A good question I need to answer for my own sanity.

Thanks for being here for us all who are still in the heat of the battle!

Eve said...

What if it never gets better?

What type of relationship do I want to have with my son/daughter/brother/sister/mother/ father/friend or whoever your addicted loved one happens to be?


This really speaks to me although I am not a POA. I am a friend, and a sort of substitute mom to a young man with an alcoholic girlfriend. My friend seems addicted to this woman and her ongoing drama. It is deeply disturbing to me.

What if it never gets better, and what kind of relationship do I want with him? I'm trying to answer this.

Scott McKinney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Syd said...

I am optimistic about people but I know enough to take what I like and leave the rest. I understand that people only change if THEY want to. So the relationship that I have with those who are still sick and suffering is to maintain my boundaries, love them, and go about finding a life that I enjoy without being dependent on their being present for me. Alcoholics and addicts are notoriously unreliable. So I don't have expectations that they will be there to give me help or comfort or much of anything. I truly believe that the less I try to change others, the better off I am.

Mom of addicted sons moving forward said...

Well said Syd, right to the root of it. I love your insight and have found so much strength and comfort from your comments and posts. Thanks Syd!

Anonymous said...

I just happened to stumble on this blog. I was on another site that has nothing to do with addiction. Someone raised the question as to how to start a blog. I thought perhaps there is a blog on addiction and came across this.

I find many of the comments to be helpful. I should point out that for the last two years, I've been in the process of writing a book on our coming to terms with our son's addiction. Unfortunately there is nothing we can do to save his life as he died two years ago in June. Our struggles at this stage are how to move on.

Bar said...

Hi Ron,

This is where I am now, wondering if it will ever get better and making choices based on what works for me. I want to have a relationship with my son. I have to accept things as they are for now.

Anonymous said...

What if it never gets better?

This question really hit me especially if you experienced those times your love one is not in good condition, knowing his/her hard time and difficulties in overcoming his/her addiction. I once asked this to myself because of what I saw. I'm afraid he will not get better.But I realized that my response to this kind of situation must be positive and believe that he can overcome it.

Senta said...

I Faced this question many times over the last 4 years as my son struggled with addiction. I finally came to the conclusion that there is nothing we could do but put firm boundaries to protect ourselves at the same time loving him from a distance. We were there for him when he was ready. He is now sober. I think its a fine balance, remain hopeful but keep realistic. Many times its not a happy ending.

Anonymous said...

I love my daughter right through it. I text her and call her beautiful, ask how she's doing, and genuinely listen. I get aggravated sometimes that she makes bad decisions, and then calls me to fix them, but I tell her she's an adult and her choices are her own, and only she can fix them. She's good-natured, and takes full responsibility--which is something I can be proud of. It's really just the little things. Mostly I am grateful just to hear her voice, or see her smiling face, for now.