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.