To love J is to forgive him…

My daughter surprised us with a set of CD’s that she had made from all of our old home video’s for Christmas. This weekend she picked them up and we all sat around the TV watching their childhood unfold before our eyes. My husband and I were both mesmerized. The first CD that came up was of J waking up at 3:00 am on christmas morning and discovering a ride on jeep wrapped in a big red bow under the christmas tree. His eyes were wide with wonder and my husband’s voice was so tender and filled with love when he showed him his gift and whispered “Shhh…it’s 3:00 in the morning, it’s just you and me J, the girls are sleeping …Merry Christmas and I love you”. It was like my husband couldn’t remember a time when he unconditionally loved J and we both dissolved into tears.

We both studied the screen and looked to see if we could see the ominous times that were to come…but all I saw was the little boy I have loved so dearly all my life. My husband struggles everyday to love his son…good times have been replaced by some truly horrible memories. It took a video for my husband to remember that J was someone he really did adore and love at one time. I am hoping he can reconcile these memories. You see to my husband, to love J is to forgive him and he is just not ready to do that. I hope one day soon he will be able to do that and will realize that forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting all the bad decisions J has made but realizing you can still love at the same time.

This is by far the most emotional post I have ever written…I am not really sure why?


About madyson007

I am a mom of 4 who thought she was home free when my oldest son went off to college. My serious blunder? Genetics and being naive or maybe just plain stupid.
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28 Responses to To love J is to forgive him…

  1. Helga says:

    Because you are mourning the loss of the child you knew and loved back then. I can totally identify. I have similar memories of my daughter, and I try to not even think about it, because it hurts and then I start to cry. We miss the kids we have raised. The kids we loved and cherished and who represented all of our hopes and dreams for the future. We now have to learn to love the adults they have become.

  2. Kristi says:

    Because at the end of the day, J is still your son, no matter how big or small. My son, Jacob, recently told me, as he fought back tears from behind the glass during visitation at the county jail, that even with his list of “F” ups and everything he’s done, he said I’m still in here (pointing at his chest). He said, through it all I never stopped caring and loving and I don’t know why I’m the way I am. I believe him because I know him so well. We love the addict, just not the addiction and all the crap that comes with it. Praying for forgiveness and healing for your family.

  3. sheila says:

    I cannot bear to have pictures of my daughter around. It is too painful to have the reminders of who she used to be. My husband and I are splitting up, and I can’t decide if I even want to try to take the family photo albums and movies or not. I would break into tears looking at them.

  4. Deirdre says:

    During the darkest years of my son’s addiction, I would grieve at the sight of my son’s early childhood photos and like you, would look intently…wondering how it all happened that that beautiful, happy boy became enslaved to heroin??! It seemed IMPOSSIBLE! Then, my faith began to grow…I decided to put up those pictures as reminders of God’s promises – I reflected on scriptures that told of the Father’s love for me and my children. Two that are on my blog are: Thus says the Lord: “Refrain you voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future, says the Lord, that your children shall come back to their own border. Jeremiah 31:16-17 and “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 I hope that you will be encouraged. I only had a ‘mustard seed’ of faith, but God has honored it, and begun a good work in my son. He has been clean 20 months now. I live by faith each day, with prayers and meditations on his word. When I draw nearer to God, my anxieties lesson and faith increases. Some days I fall back into fear, but I don’t let myself stay there. You are an encouragement to many of us, I hope you find encouragement too. Blessings.

  5. Syd says:

    I don’t know what happens along the way–life I guess is what it is and all the complexities of it. But the memories are good to have. My tendency is to remember and make things seem much better than they were. I suppose that is the optimist in me.

    • madyson007 says:

      I always seem to inherently see the good in people. I am a “half-full glass” kind of girl. My husband is the exact opposite and he deals with this much differently than me. J longs for his fathers love and my husband withholds it as a form of punishment and personal torture for them both. It is so ugly and is a such a big source of stress in my life.

  6. Barbara says:

    Its one of the most emotional ones I have read in a while, I cried. J is still there inside the addictive behavior. I hope someday that the real J will re-emerge, and I will never give up for any of our kids.

  7. beachteacher says:

    I cried too,…and I think we all understand that pain of not being able to look at our children’s baby or childhood photos….so very painful. Funny, I did what Deirdre did too….I hung up a sweet photo of our son looking very cute, with some other things from when he was doing great, before his addiction….as a hope wall…that he’d return to who he really is,…and that helped me. He is now doing that, and I think also, that like Barbara says….J IS still in there. Please don’t give up hope.

  8. AJB says:

    As I’ve said before, I am reading your posts and it’s amazing how similar our time lines are. My son is just about to enter rehab after he FINALLY admitted to his therapist that he needs help. We, too, have been watching our old home videos that we’ve transferred to dvd, and I had my son watching one with us when he was about 2 1/2 years old. We, too, were looking for some telltale signs, and we cry a lot watching the old movies since all we see is this beautiful, funny, smart, little baby boy with big blue eyes who could make anyone smile with his little dimple. No one could have ever predicted this outcome. My son is the same age as yours. I am thinking of you all the time and HOPING that yours and mine will find their way soon. I want you happy, I wish for your son to find happiness in a clean life. I told my son, it is up to him. He is homeless now after no longer allowed to live here with us..been bopping around from place to place, and I think that, along with talks with my sister and my very good friend, who allowed him to stay this past weekend with her (her daughter went to the prom with my son), finally convinced him that he had something to fight for. Everyone told him they love him but he cannot go on like this and he will lose everything if he continues. I just hope he keeps it up. I did allow him to stay last night and tonight because he is going into rehab. He has been clean for a week now and it is just amazing to see the difference. He called a bunch of dual diagnosis places (since he has depression and anxiety as well as addiction) and spoke with many people. We are waiting for call backs tomorrow morning. Thank you again for your blog. It is so comforting to me to be able to comment here and I am so thankful you share so much with us.

  9. Renee C says:

    Thank you for sharing that and I totally know what you are talking about. We recently did the same thing with old videos. My husband said, why couldnt we see what was going to happen back then when she was my little girl. Brings Tears to your eyes. I wish you the best on this journey we have been thrown into.

  10. Ryan says:

    Ive been a lurker on your blog for awhile now which I found through Debbies blog. I think thats her name at least?.. It is always interesting for me to read a Mothers perspective of their addict child because obviously it is a painful situation, but often their assumptions and tactics of trying to “HELP” their son/daughter are in fact not helping and that is no fault of their own as it is a desperate situation for all. I am not taking a shot at you, just making a general statement on what I have gathered from blogs Ive read, Interventions I have watched, and the handling of myself by my parents. Coming from a 24 y/o Opiate addict who is almost 9 months sober thanks to Suboxone, I can tell you the biggest thing you can do for him is give him love and don’t treat him like the monster people make us out to be. Yes I know people call this enabling and you must give him tough love, kick him out of the house blah blah blah. Every situation is different and you have to do what you have to do but don’t treat him like a monster. I know its a cliche but if he had cancer would you re family be so angry with him? When I got this treatment from my family all it did was fuel my addiction more. Once they started to realize I couldn’t help it and wasn’t just doing it to make their lives miserable, they started to show the love and support I needed. They rode with me through the ups and downs and understood that relapse was part of the road to recovery and stopped acting like it was the end of the world when I would relapse after a bout of sobriety. The most common argument I see and hear from parents of addicts is that we are SOO SELFISH. Well it goes both ways. It makes me sick to watch Intervention when the family tells the addict how selfish they are, how they are ruining their lives, etc etc. Yes this is true. Cant argue there. The problem is the majority of the time people don’t acknowledge how painful addiction is for the addict and how horribly it pains us to watch our Mothers/Fathers/Friends/Families agonize over us. We care too, or at least most of us. Moral of the story the parents are as selfish as the addict. Learn to accept his situation for what it is. Expectations are for fools. They are only going to cause you more anger. Appreciate your daughter for the Prom Queen she is, and appreciate your son for the Black Swan he is. When its all said and done and we re gone, the IVY league school you went to, or the highly touted career you had don’t mean a damn thing so put your stock into what really matters and that is loving your son unconditionally.. Sorry if I come across harsh, it is a sensitive subject for me as it is for you but sometimes I feel the need to to defend an addict. I truly do hope the best for you and your situation

    • madyson007 says:

      I am not taking a poke at you here either but when you read my blog do I come across as a mother who thinks her son is a monster? If I do, that is upsetting, really upsetting.

      My husband on the other hand does do exactly that and I spend most of my energy trying to make them see each other as they did many years ago with respect.

      Are there times I loose it? You bet, but if you can not see the unconditional love I have for my son then I am not really sure, you are reading my blog.

      I agree with what you said but I am sad that I came across to you as a mom who only loves her son if….he stays clean, if he pays me back, or whatever it is I speak on. Just sad…

      • Ryan says:

        I agree I should have read the entry closer and I don t read your blog regularly so I think I just lumped your husbands attitudes with yours. Monster is a bit exaggerated but sometimes thats how it can come across. Rereading some of your posts you re obviously a very loving mother and I am sure he appreciates it more than you know

  11. I can relate. In fact, I love the idea of putting up photos of him before the addiction. My hubby and I just did this. We put together a collage of images from our favorite vacation spot (in Northern Minnesota), where the kids just LOVE to go. There are a couple of photos of J in the collage – before his addiction. I look at them often, and I love the collage!!

    Now, imagine for a moment, having a younger son that looks EXACTLY like your older/addict son. I have that. If you put pictures of them at the same age next to each other, you cannot tell them apart. The younger looks exactly like my J, down to his glasses!! He even wears the same kind of shoes J did. Just about every day, I walk into the house, see B’s shoes and freak out thinking J is there!! Its totally creepy!! Thankfully, their personalities are COMPLETELY opposite!! But it still scares the frickin’ hell out of me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Prayers continue for you all!

    • madyson007 says:

      I can not tell you how happy I am to hear how your sons look so much alike but their personalities are different. Both of my son’s also look freakishy alike. Except they are 13 YEARS apart. Side by side photos of J at the same age as his younger brother is amazingly similar and that scares that crap out of me. They really are not all that alike in temperament.

      My younger daughter is very similar in temperament to J and that scares me even more. She is only 11 and I always hope to see her mature differently but she is eerily similar to J.

  12. Lisa says:


    As a mom of a 23 year old (in 10 days) in active addiction after several attempts to assist him in getting clean including money for sub prescriptions, drs visits, setting up therapists, lending car regularly for appointments and interviews and visits to local colleges to sign up for classes, and even just lending out car and credit card to go out with healthy people to visit and get some food (he was taking money from my account all the while)…I wonder where you think the faith, hope, and help should end. I have for 3 years put up with verbal abuse via texts when I try to talk to him about getting help or how much I love to the point of ‘shut the f up, ur a psychotic idiot who doesn’t know sh+@ about anything and I hate you and mind ur own f++-+@_ business, etc… I just recently stopped my help and my attempts to talk to my son or let him know I’m here when he’s ready for help (which I said often with love)…I just want to know YOUR advice to you believe that I should continue to assist and enable? He lives with us, he eats dinner, he comes and goes (no job/school etc) but I’m no longer texting with him or lending out my car or credit card nor handing out checks for copays and paying for sub refills (which I believe he was selling any way). Do you think that I should continue to take the abuse and continue trying to tell him how much I love him and care? I am not being sarcastic at all..I really really want your advice!

    • madyson007 says:

      I am not really sure why you want my advice? What I am doing is ummm not working all that well. I can tell you we have slowly withdrawn almost all monetary support. He has not had access to a car since April. He has lost every friend, including his girlfriend and that is what got him to rehab…desperation, relapse and the reality of being homeless. Your son does sound very much like mine. He may even be sober (for now) but he might as will be using because that is what his behavior is like. If he is actively using he has what I like to call Monkey Brain…he does not hear you nor feel your love. His brain is consumed by his next fix. If he is sober but not in a real recovery then he is probably hearing you but desperately hates himself and does not know how to dig himself out and lashes out at those around him. Both of these scenarios absolutely SUCK and I don’t have any reliable advice. You are in my prayers and I apologize because I wish more than anything I had something relevant to say but sadly I do not.

    • Ryan says:

      Honestly I wish I could give you a good answer. Everyones situation is different. I think for me it was the constant pressure from my family to get sober. On top of the pressure I would put on myself during a stretch of sobriety it was their persistence that put me over the top and was too overwhelming which would contribute to relapse. I think at least in my case it was when they kind of let go and remained hopeful, yet didn’t have too many expectations and started treating me as best they could like the person I was before I found opiates. It gave me the breathing room I needed to focus on myself and do it for myself. I know a lot of addicts might take advantage of this approach so that is why there are no answers. Just what made a difference for me. In my case my parents knew I wanted to get sober, but they also eventually figured out it is an extremely difficult thing to do. If your son shows no desire to get sober and continues to manipulate you than obviously this approach wont work. If he s not ready he s not ready and you don t have any control over it. I don’t condone enabling by any means, I was merely emphasizing love if they are willing to receive it. I too said horrible things to my parents, stole a little cash, not much , but I put them through plenty of hell. That is the drugs speaking obviously, not him and thats what you need to make sure you separate IMO. Don’t take it personal even though I know it hurts. It is hard to answer your question since I don t know what your son is like, but if you have given him multiple chances at home than conventional wisdom would be to kick him out, do the tough love thing and see how he reacts. In my case I don’t really think that would have helped. Only you know your son, but I would at least continue to pay for his suboxone because in case he decides to get sober you are presenting the opportunity. It is cheap compared to rehab and truthfully without it I don’t think I could have pieced my life together as much as I have without it. I know Madyson has mentioned Vistoril, and while that will keep an addict from getting high, it is the constant cravings and anxiety that are debilitating to the extent that it is too hard to hold a job, build relationships, ect.. I am not a guru and do not mean to advocate Suboxone but these are the things that have worked for me. I am far from being out of the woods and we all have been dealt a shitty hand. I hope maybe I at least helped you to look at it from a different perspective. Just gather as much info from different peoples experiences as possible and improvise and apply it to your own situation. I think that is what helped me when I was trying to figure out how the hell to get sober

  13. Lisa says:

    Oh thank you…your advice is always welcome too!!!! I was actually addressing Ryan as a guy our sons age (as to what he thinks I should do) :). I probably didn’t utilize the blog correctly so I apologize! I saw his posts to you regarding his feelings of what supported his recovery and I was wondering if he feels I should continue to try and give and love unconditionally even with verbal abuse and money being stolen, etc…

    • madyson007 says:

      Oh I see! Sorry. I thought you were addressing me. I missed the Ryan part.
      Ryan sees this from a completely different point of view then us. He is not being disrespectful or stirring the pot. He is speaking from his heart and his experiences and I can respect that.

  14. Lisa says:

    Oh I totally respect Ryans opinions and views from his perspective! That was why I addressed him! I would love to hear ‘I talked like that to my mom when I was using but I didn’t mean it’ or ‘my mom needed to back off and not respond’, etc…my life is consumed by the area of addiction at this point! I soak in all I can..whether its from the view of parents of addicts, addicts in recovery, active addicted addicts, parents of etc.. I meant NO DISRESPECT…he may have a perspective I need to understand..goodness knows I have no answers as nothing so far has worked! I know I feel a sense of calm not giving out my car or paying for car insurance..and the verbal abuse has almost disappeared (which was so very hard)

    • madyson007 says:

      Yup the verbal abuse is terrible…I am still sporting a bruise on my chest from an altercation between my son and husband. That was terrible too. Let me know if you un earth any little gems because I really would like to hear anything that might help. Thank you for reading my blog…

  15. Lisa says:

    Your blog along with Ron’s An Addict in Our Sons Bedroom has saved me! We have so many similarities down to the little designer dog that has saved my sanity just by having something else to focus on (and I almost got another like you) ;)….in fact, my husband does not really love the whole blogging thing but when I read him about the argument your husband and son had he said ‘yup I can relate to that!’ … First time he understood how therapeutic this can be when you realize you are NOT alone!!!!!

    My husband actually falls apart more than I these days..and pics? We don’t do well looking at them and I haven’t had the nerve to pull out videos since we knew of our sons addiction…I don’t know if we could bear it!!!

    I’m often pondering the question…if we had to do it all over again, would I still have children? That is the question I have asked myself often and I think it would be a great blog entry! I know this sounds terrible (and especially horrible since I have 2 other children)…but really..being through what I have, even thinking about what it does to a parent to watch your flesh and blood suffer while YOU suffer..whether it be addiction or illness…I really don’t know

  16. Lisa says:

    Thank you for responding Ryan!! You have helped me and touched my heart with your experiences from addiction! Obviously I would do whatever it took if my son wanted it for recovery! I think he wants to be sober but I think he needs to figure out how! I have told him I forgive him for taking money (not a lot but still) and for everything because I understand the sober Michael wouldn’t do any of the things he has done while in active addiction..I have told him I love him and I forgive him and will support recovery! I am not sure if that will happen but I won’t stop hoping for it! My only concern with supporting subs is that we had him hospitalized a few months ago because he threatened suicide when I said I was shutting off phone and at hospital he tested positive for benzos, marijuana, opiates and he had 3/4 of a bottle of subs sitting in his room! He says they make him sick (?) So I’m not feeling that subs will be his path to sobriety..I told him about the Vivitrol injection..he says he wants to do it one minute and then no way the next! I reached out to a guy that was featured on CNN for this during the trials and I found out a week later he had passed away! I don’t know the details of his passing but needless to say it was discouraging! I thank you for your insight and please go to bed tonight knowing that the path you have walked has helped someone immensely! Thank you and keep up the good work!!!

  17. Renee C says:

    Seems that this blog has definitely brought out good points and memories for alot of people. I hope Ryan’s comments have helped both you and Lisa.

    Bottom line is if they don’t want to get clean, they wont. My daughter stole, talked negative anmd nasty towards me and all of the above things you all speak about. These blogs are a lifeline when we feel we do not have one.
    She is 13 months clean and was just elected as secretary to the Northeast NA assoc. and spoke at a local jail to the women’s alcohol and drug wing. She is starting to give back and feels that she actually connected to the women she spoke to.
    I hope your sons get to the same point. Not to say I don’t worry every day just not every minute of every day as I used to.
    I wish you both all the best and no matter what I will continue to love and support my child, relapse or not. She knows money will not come her way anymore and is working full time and her boss wants her to take on more responsbility and has given her a new opportunity after only working there 2 months.
    Keep bloging and helping others and Ryan thanks for your responses.
    What you feel is never wrong.
    Hugs to all the mothers out there.

  18. parent says:

    we all look is hard …but we must try to stay in the here and now

    peace ..

  19. John says:

    That was a really touching post.

    Crack left me in a terrible place, exhibiting all the usual addictive behaviour and problems, with the usual consequences.

    I went through rehab, quit, and am now stable and happy.

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