I can see clearly now…

I have hope….I was not sure I would ever feel that with any ease again. Hope sounds easy but as a parent of an addict who has been in this for the long haul, I can tell you with authority it is not easy…ever. Hope leads to certain future expectations no matter how hard you try not to let it. I only know all to well when I invest too much in future expectations how painful it can be when things don’t measure up. So this paragraph is a public service announcement for myself and anyone else who places to many expectations on feelings of  “hope”.

Having said all that, I can’t help it but I am mindful.  I have hope not just for the immediate “now” but for my son’s future. Things have begun to click and I can see, that he can see clearly now. This is painful for us both but there is also a lot of joy involved too. The painful part is that he can see all the opportunities that he was given and wasted but HE CAN SEE IT! I don’t think he had that ability maybe ever. Addiction narrows your vision to point where you are just existing. Recovery widens that view a little bit but the focus is still just on survival. Then there comes a point where enough recovery time passes and the clouds open up a little and you can see again!

I think my son is there…he can see.  Life has gone beyond survival and not only is he searching for a future but he is taking steps to make it happen. He is setting goals! He is planning for the future and how he fits into that. He has been looking for a career instead of a job. He has a girlfriend and I think he sees himself married to her at some point with a house, a dog and a picket fence. He purchased a very nice car, insurance and  has taken the responsibilities that come with it. The big win is he did it without one ounce of support from me. He didn’t borrow money, have me call for insurance or barter. He just came home with a car. AND HE SET UP A PAYMENT PLAN TO PAY BACK HIS COLLEGE LOAN TO FIX HIS CREDIT! If he makes 6 payments in 6 months that default on his loan will be expunged from his credit history!

Those accomplishments may seem small to some but they open windows and doors for him that will change his life. Having his own car makes him way more employable. Having good credit makes buying or rent a house in the future a real possibility. Paying his car loan, insurance, and college loan means he MUST manage his money and his savings. His father and I have made it perfectly clear that we are willing to let him lose it all, his car, his credit….his everything. We will not bail him out. This a huge accomplishment for us as well. I think that it is such a disservice to our kids even when they are at rock bottom to bail them out. It sends the message that they really aren’t good enough, that they can’t take care of themselves. I told him I won’t disrespect his accomplishments by “fixing” anything ever again. He is an adult and he is finally acting like one. Praise God!

The true test will be when he comes up against something hard, sad or bad. Will he choose to stay the course? Those of you who have blogs of your own will understand these next words. Have you ever posted about hope, joy and good things? Then shortly afterwards everything crumbles? Of course you do….well please everyone collectively pray that this upturn in my sons life is real and not an anomaly. I will walk around with an umbrella hoping to avoid the falling sky for awhile….a long, long while but please please God let this hope and joy be real.

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A decade…and I am still powerless.

I wrote the following post years ago. Looking back it might be the most profound thing I ever posted. More years have past and I realize I have been in this game for 10 years or not depending on how you look at it. It is amazing to me how much has changed but also how much remains the same. I am older and more tired than my years. I have great joy in my life and work very hard to not get sucked into anyones game. I am more often than not successful….but on occasion I fail. It’s an anniversary of sorts but I can not precede that word with happy. More than 200,000 visitors have come to this page  and the thought of that makes me weep. I hope my words were a comfort for some and maybe a place to not feel alone on your journey.

2015: I am no longer a newbie and that really sucks! When did I become an experienced mother of an addict? I am getting old…who said that was allowed to happen? I never agreed to any of this.

I have been reading some blogs with parents who are newer to the world of addiction. I can see how much they want their child to get better, to get help and be done with this world. I can also see how much they are willing to do to make this happen. I can remember when I started this blog how naive I was, but also how very desperate I was and I DO mean desperate. I was willing to sacrifice anything including myself to fix it.

I would read the comments left on some of my earlier posts and think: “That parent doesn’t understand, she must not love her child as much as I do”.  God….I was such a fool, please forgive me! Now I want to be the person to comfort that new parent, but also the parent to say STOP! You can not fix your child’s addiction! You can not drag her to meetings or a therapist or even rehab. STOP! Get off the crazy train! Don’t waste your money forcing solutions on your child but most of all don’t sacrifice your physical and mental health for the health of your child. Learn by my mistakes and know that it will not work. YOUR CHILD WILL NOT GET BETTER UNTIL SHE IS READY! So you spending thousands and thousands of dollars on therapy, on rehab, a new school, guitar lessons, trips to get away etc…will not make your child well. Nothing will make your child lose interest in their drug of choice, until they are ready. Screaming, bribing, making deals and contracts until you make yourself throw up, changes nothing except your own well-being. Negotiating with God…nope not working. I think I finally realize it’s not my deal to make. How’s that for an epiphany?

I was a healthy and happy mom of four when this journey started. Now almost 5 years later….I have high blood pressure, had my gall bladder out, lost, gained and lost a large amount of weight and recently had a colectomy. It may sound like I am in my 70’s but I’m not even close. I made myself sick….I truly believe I sacrificed my health in my quest to make my son well.  No more….I will not do that anymore. I need to be there for my husband and all of my children.

My other little golden nugget of information to pass on to a new parent: Relapse should not be taken as a personal insult. I recently had a screaming match with my husband. He was shouting to anyone who was listening: “How can he do this again? Doesn’t he understand he is screwing up everyone’s life not just his own? How can he do this after all the money we have spent on school, lawyers and doctors? How can he do this to ME!!!!!!!” My response: What makes you think this has anything to do with you? Do you think he is relapsing because he wants to piss you off? Do you think if he loved you more he wouldn’t do this? Do you think if you loved him more he would stop? I don’t think I truly understood the meaning of the FIRST STEP until this moment.

I really am powerless over my sons addiction….I love him but I can not control him or his addiction.

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Stormy dark clouds…

They seem to follow me every where. As soon as life seems to be firmly on course some atomic bomb comes calling. The silver lining to this is…J seems to really be getting his life together. Bought himself a car, insured it, opened up a checking account and got a credit card all to start building his credit. He works hard and I am proud that he has set sail on a new course. I am fiercely praying it brings him happiness…living a life with purpose really is transforming him.

The stormy dark clouds are not of my making and I resent it terribly. Once again I get to be a passenger on this merry-go-round that I never signed up for. I am not sure I will be able to get through this with out my spirit being irrevocably damaged. Pray for me…that God has a plan and it really is going to be okay because right now it is so hard to see that. This blog has brought me great solace. So here I am again…I am searching for peace and some solace but it is just so very dark. These are my words screaming out loud.

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Kratom…the new “Ibogaine”?

I was just introduced to this today. I know NOTHING about it and really have no opinion yet. Anyone know about this new buzz word in opiate addiction? Scares the bejeezus out of me…easy access and absolutely no regulation? Recovery or just a new high? Anyone have any experience good or bad with this?

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What is it about holidays?

Addicts seem to often fall apart this time of year…..why is that?  J has fallen many times this past year but has still been able to maintain long periods of sobriety. I am waiting. I feel the anxiety creeping in for not just myself but J and my other kids as well. It’s like this feeling of doom that inches a little closer each time I move the candy cane in my advent calendar. Every year I ask God for the same thing: “Please God let me have just a little bit of peace and happiness right now.” I want my other children and my beautiful granddaughter to experience a joyful Christmas. I don’t want them to worry about their brother spoiling it or their mother crying or being so stressed she snaps at everybody and everything. Is that too much to ask?

Apparently for J it is because the slippery slope has begun. It’s a festive time of year….why not indulge a little. I worked hard all year just a little something to treat myself. What harm would it do? I’ll stop. I just want to feel good. It’s Christmas. It’s the weekend. It’s New Year’s…I will definitely stop after that. Only guess what? You’re an addict and your brain won’t let you stop. SO WHY ON EARTH DO YOU DO IT EVERY FREAKING YEAR? I have managed to untangle myself from J’s addiction for the most part…kind of. I know longer invest in his sobriety nor do I lose my heart when he relapses…EXCEPT this time of year.

It just feels so damn personal….like a slap in the face. I want to SCREAM “Damn it J, just once can we all have a nice peaceful Christmas filled with joy and happiness? Why can’t you JUST ONCE let us have that”. I AM ENTITLED TO PEACE ONCE A YEAR! I don’t care that you are trying and I don’t believe you didn’t mean for it to happen. You are selfish. I KNOW one thing for sure: If you knew what my heart and soul feels like each time you relapse….you would be cured.

I am not sure anyone really reads my blog anymore but I am wishing you all peace and joy. To my old friends, Merry Christmas and may we all find peace.

 

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Love is not magic…

Addiction sucks. It sucks for the addict and for anyone who loves them. The experience is so profound It changes who we are. We all know that only our children can save themselves but we are more than willing to suspend reality and fight for our kids even when they won’t. Ot maybe It’s their inability to fight for themselves that compel us to try even when it seems futile. I don’t care how highly evolved you are on the 12 Step Chain…you can only do what you can do. Sometimes that means turning our backs on our addicts and hoping they figure it out or embracing them even at the worst of times. We are human and I just can’t help but think we need to forgive ourselves for decisions we make because they all come from the best place in our hearts. Love is a powerful emotion but love is not magic. We can not wave our wands and love our children back to health.

All is well in my world, not perfect but I am okay and so is J. I continue to hurt for the many who still struggle and are not okay. I wish peace for us all with a good amount of happiness thrown in even during the darkest times.

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In my very own neighborhood…

She lives down the street and I have known her for years. It shouldn’t surprise me but it does. A mom is going through hell watching her daughter suffer the consequences of addiction. I know this mom is having all the feelings of hopelessness and despair that we all have in the beginning. I want her to know she is not alone. I am REPOSTING from the very beginning of my blog ….7 years ago. In fact very few people were reading it at that time. It perfectly describes the despair and hopelessness that we all felt at the beginning of this journey.

These are my words screaming out loud… 

I am a mom who has made a serious blunder.  I am not sure where or when everything started to go wrong but I recognize profoundly that I must have had something to do with it.  Perhaps I am even the cause of it. My oldest son is an addict. I look at him and can still see the promise of all things great but those visions of a successful future grow dimmer each day. He recently got out of rehab and I want with all my heart to believe that all things are possible again but I can see cracks in that facade already.  He is up late and sleeping most of the day.  He has attended a handful of meetings after promising to do 90 meetings in 90 days.  I asked him to take a drug test yesterday and he refused.  He has cashed a paycheck that belonged to him but he gave to us to cover some of his legal fee’s.  He has no job, no direction and no plan on how to change those things. How can so many sincere promises go so wrong so fast? 

I am at loss of how to help him.  I recognize that I am enabling him but am painfully unable to stop myself.  I feel like we are all standing on this very fragile house of cards and one wrong move by any of us and all will be lost. He doesn’t recognize how tied up I am in his inability to make sensible adult choices.  I don’t want to be tangled up in his life choices but I am his mom and to not be entangled in his life would mean giving up and walking away…how can I do that? Nor does he recognize the wedge he has driven between our family.   I wish he could see the impact his behavior has on his brother and sisters.  His seventeen year old sister who loves him dearly has lost all respect. She doesn’t understand why it is not as black and white for us, as it is for her. She is scared of him now and of his lack of respect for all of us. His nine-year old sister wants to know why her mommy is crying again or tired and cranky from lack of sleep.  His six-year-old brother doesn’t even ask where his brother is anymore because he can see the tension on his parents faces…that they have no real idea where or what his brother is doing.

He could go to sleep tonight and wake up in the morning and make this the first day of a new life, but is so entrenched in old habits and bad behaviors,  so he chooses not to.  He clings to all his old feelings and idea’s, thinking that he knows how to change his life but makes identical choices from his old life.  Half heartedly telling himself he is trying and if we could all just leave him alone everything will be fine.  What he seems to not see is that I wish more than my own life  is that I could see those changes he thinks he is making so I can pat him on his back and let my guard down.  Saying things are “different” is not the same as showing us that things are different.  What they are is just words…and those I have heard before.  I don’t want to hear “I am sorry”.  I want to see remorse, a change,  a new attitude.  I want my old son back so badly I ache.  The pain is so deep it is beginning to feel like a slow death and I am mourning the loss of all those hopes and dreams I had for him.

It is excruciating for both my husband and I, to relive this tragic yet familiar addiction story because indeed that is what we are both doing right now…but that my friend is a story I will save for another night.

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