Friday, February 20, 2015

What Will YOU Do If It Never Gets Better?

This is another re-post of an essay that asks a questions we all must ask our self. "What if it never gets better?"

Who has the nerve to not only ask the question but who has an answer. This is what a parent of an addict never wants to face. When we face this question we face our self. It is hard , it is scary, it is real.

Another great part of this post is all of the reader comments. My advice, link to the actual post and also read the comments.

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.)


Karla Carr said...

After 17 years I've gradually let go of and mourned the hopes and dreams I had for my son. My greatest fear used to be his death, but now I find peace in the fact that I'll get to love him in heaven (he's a believer in Jesus Christ). Anything more than that will be an overwhelming gift!

Anonymous said...

That's the million dollar question, isn't it? For so long, I felt I wasn't allowed to have a life if my son didn't. Just the thought of moving forward, letting myself heal, felt so selfish and wrong. I'm not sure when it happened, exactly, but the day I realized I wanted to live, wanted to have a life and be happy, was the day I realized that I could not save my son. He has to save himself. And being a martyr, even unintentionally, wasn't going to help him or help me.

Thank God, my son is in a good place right now. But whatever his future holds, I now know that sobriety comes, sobriety sticks, only when they want it too, when they are ready. Understanding that, gave me the freedom to start living my life again.

I wish clarity of mind came sooner for those of us who love an addict but I think we have to exhaust every avenue, try every single thing we can think of, to help our loved ones. I'm not sure healing can ever come for us until we can say to ourselves that we did everything we possibly could for our kids.

Dad and Mom said...


Thank you for your GREAT and WISE comment.

Hattie Heaton said...

|}This is step one in AA and Al Anon that you are talking about. I thought I had that one the first time that I read it. Seven year later, I know that I will struggle with powerlessness off and on for the rest of my life.

It has taken a lot of falls to see that when I just back off, it gets better.

What kind of relationship can I accept having? I'll leave that up to my higher power. Because when I try to go to that place it's usually an either or / extreme madness kind of expectation.

It is a great question that takes courage and time to ponder.

Anonymous said...

When dealing with a child and an addiction, this question should come up a lot. As parents, we always worry what our kids are doing when they aren't at home. We worry what things they are getting into when they come home at two in the morning. I think that communication is a big factor with addictions. If you don't talk to the person, or at least try, you will never know what is going on or what you can do to help them. One thing you never want to do is ignore them. If I knew that a loved one was addicted to something, I would want them to get better as soon as possible. Sometimes it takes professional help to cure the addicted one. Addiction is something that shouldn't be taken lightly.

Pat Rice said...

It is a question we have asked is so sad to think.But,I never imagined that we would have reached the point where we are now.As many parents of addicts know,if you truly have done all that you could do than
your child (our son)no longer lives with you.Our experience,and everyone's is different,took us about 5 times.He was a danger to us and our daughter. But now he is living on the streets in our own neighborhood. Everytime I drive and see someone walking,I think of him.That's a lot of thinking.And now that it is zero degrees practically everyday he pops in my head (and my heart) even more.And yet there was some point,when we knew we couldn't let him back in,couldn't give him money,etc.,we couldn't do anything,that I did want to go on...move on.It's almost a scarier question for me now is what if he decides he wants to make the changes? That might sound terrible,but the thought of going through what I went through in the last 7 years makes me shake. If he wants to make changes what would I have to do? He can never live here again. But to have him here even for a visit would be so...It's only been 6 months or so since I've seen him and I don't want to see him unless he was his old self again.And even to see him as his old self again...well, I think I would be so happy I would start crying and not be able to stop and that wouldn't be good. Anyway his "old self" would only be 13 years old now that I think of it. Wow,I'm still a mess aren't I? One day at a time and it is all in God's hands right? Thanks for listening.

Dad and Mom said...

Pat, detaching does not mean abandon.

I understand completely, we did it too, he does not and can not live with us but it does mea I must stop loving or stop caring. It is possible to take care of yourself and still have a relationship.

My advice make sure he knows you are there when it is his day to stop. You can be supportive without enabling. My way of doing that was to make sure my hand was available but it was his responsibility to reach out, but he also knew the conditions and his role.

When our son decided it was his time to enter recovery he told us the most important thing we said to him every time we spoke was that "We believe in you." When he took that step we were healthy enough to help, not fall back into our old roles.

As for wanting that old son back. There is a person still in there but he is no longer 13. That is our issue we must deal with to make ourselves well.

You might want to read the 7 Truths post also.

Terry Willis said...

I believe with this saying “Everybody has a second chance”. Like what I’ve learned at Addiction Rehab Care Treatment session, it is not only about the chances on what you’ve done now, but also having the second chances on what you’ve done before or in the past. All of us experiencing more challenging problems in life, but doesn’t mean that we need to surrender everything. However, our Almighty God gave us this kind of problems to become more strong persons and to make life-changing. Just trust him and everything will be okay. Just trust him and everything will be okay. Don’t stop believing in him and like what Dad and mom said we always say “We believe in you”

Levko Velet said...

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Tammy, heroin has my son. said...
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Tammy, heroin has my son. said...


Thank you all for the posts. They are really helpful.
I am the mother of two sons. My oldest is a heroin addict and I am struggling with making him move out of the house. At this point in his life he will be on the streets or only God knows where as everyone has pulled away from him. It's so hard. :(

Tammy, heroin has my son. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda said...

Every day I want my son to move out. For my life to go back to normal. No mattercwhat my husbanb or I do it never gets any better. When we make him leave he just sits oyside and cries. My heart is breaking I don't know how much more I can take. I love him so much and just want to protect him. He's 26 so not a baby. We have no life any more everything is gone all we have is each other.