Friday, July 17, 2009

Mother, heal thyself

There seems to be a common theme among many of the people who have commented on my blog. It is a truth that I am just beginning to understand - I can not help my son, until he is ready to be helped. That does not mean that I am going to give in and allow him to do as he pleases. In fact, it means the opposite. I am tired of being an enabler. I am tired of allowing him to manipulate me. I am tired of trying to kill his addiction with kindness. It does not work, and I have four years of misery to prove it. We have some very hard decision to make in the coming weeks. He is on the waiting list to be assessed for the CHOICES drug treatment program. We should be getting the call within the next couple of weeks. I will not be able to force him to enter the program, but I can enforce some serious consequences if he refuses to go. Consequences that scare me, but we can not continue to allow him to rule our home the way he has been.

I have realized that as my son was replacing everything in his life with drugs, I was losing myself too, just for different reasons. My life has become a vicious cycle of taking care of an addict, and I was no longer taking care of myself. Like my son, I was slowly losing interest in all of the things I had once enjoyed. I have been in a depression, of this I am sure. In the last four years, I have gained ten pounds a year. Yep, do the math. That is a lot of extra weight to carry around. I view this weight both literally and figuratively. It is also forty pounds of stress, worry, guilt, shame, and fear.

I kept telling myself, that as soon as my son was able to get his life on track, I would get mine back too. Four years later, and despite our best efforts, his life is still spinning out of control. I can't force him to battle his demons, but I can battle mine. It is time to start healing my own mind, body, and spirit. It is time.


  1. Thanks for your kind comments on my blog. This journey is similar for all of us, starting with keeping secrets. That was my second full time job for years, keeping "the secret." I will never forget the first time I told a room full of strangers the secret at this drug training I signed up for. Hannah, it felt like God himself had lifted 8 years of pain off my soul. I literally felt it, He scooped it right up. Just by saying it out loud, admitting it.
    Anyway, what I found out was 95% of people I told were totally supportive and sympathetic, and knew someone with the same problem. The blogs have been a source of comfort to me, as well as AlAnon. I have gotten active in AlAnon, next week end I will be at our state convention. That is another place where I always hear just what I need.
    I urge you to try it. Sometimes you have to go to a couple different meetings to find the right one.
    Bottom line, you can't make him better, money can't make him better. You have a family, and they deserve some of your time and attention also.

  2. Ditto to all Lou said.

    Al-Anon is a great program. It has helped me learn how to take care of myself, set boundaries, enforce consequences, know how to deal with excessive guilt and shame that paralyzed me in the past, and lots more.

    They say to try 6 to 8 meetings before you make a decision whether Al-Anon is for you or not.

    I hope you give it a try. You will never regret it.

    I support you in your journey - wherever you are in that journey right now.


  3. Wow! You are amazing! I wish I got things as quickly as you have caught on. This is so much help for you and the miracle is that once you get son will probably get better too! God Bless you and your family. TK

  4. It is time! (You said it...)

    I'm praying for you, too!

  5. Ditto Ditto to all

    I can't tell you the relief when I quit covering & making excuses for my addicted one.

    Bless you, this is so unfair and hard and unnatural for a parent - don't get drug down - stay strong so that when he is READY for help, you will still have resources. Stay strong for the rest of your family.

    It is insidious how sometimes we are wrung dry before we understand the 3 C's

    You didn't CAUSE it
    You can't CURE it
    You can't CONTOL it

    - I am thinking of you and your family.


  6. Be strong sister, you inspire me. God love him more than you can...and God loves him as much as anyone.

  7. Here from Cats. You've arrived at an important point. Pivotal, I believe. What else is there to do for him? You're doing the necessary work. Now it's time for you.
    Be well.

  8. You hit the nail on the head with this post hon. One thing to remember is, even though he has to do this. Your support and love are always needed. However you can't provide those things if you don't take care of you. You have quite a few people here who have been where you are. Support and love to you my dear friend. (Hugs)Indigo

  9. That's it, set the limits for him to live by.
    You cannot control him but there are consequences of breaking the limitations you have set.
    I do hope he gets into a treatment center.

    The final part, you got it, It's time to start looking after yourself.

  10. You guys are amazing in your support. Awesome group of people out here in the blogosphere :)

  11. 1. boundaries = things YOU set that make your level of comfort acceptable to you. i.e. a. you cannot be in our home if you are stoned. b. you cannot ask us for $. c. you cannot call us if you get in trouble....

    2. consequences = letting the child experience the natural conclusions of their actions. a. they get evicted, they have no where to live including your house. b. they spend their $ on dope instead of food, they go hungry, you do not feed them. c. they lose their car to dope or deals or stupidity, they walk everywhere, you do not give them rides.

    3. enablement = breaking 1 or 2.

    good luck and my prayers are with you all


  12. Thanks Dawn. For the longest time, we have not been allowing our son to experience any natural consequences. Four years of fighting, lecturing, crying, pleading, and begging later, we realize that none of these things work. We are putting in some true consequences for the first time, and it is so hard, but so, so necessary. I am ready to ask him to leave our home by his eighteenth birthday, if it comes down to that. We have to start thinking about our 12 year old daughter and what four years of living in turmoil must be doing to her.

    On a side note, when I click on the link to your profile, there is no link to your blog, just the blogs that you follow. Do you still have a blog? Could I have the link? It seems as if you have been down this road before...

  13. This is my third attempt to leave a message. Google and blogger are conspiring against me, I'm thinking.

    My son was addicted to weed for five years. Prison got him clean. You will survive, it just hurts like hell.

    There is a very good book you might like to read, "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts" by Gabor Maté, a doctor in Vancouver who works with addicts. He looks at why and how addictions arise.

    Take care of yourself.

  14. WOW! I feel like I've been peeping in your window. You see I too have an addict living in my house. My son has been using heroin since the age of 16. He went to rehab immediately, but unfortunately relapsed 2 weeks ago - he's 18. He's going in again Monday for a second try. I will pray for you and know that I do not walk alone. My despair and anguish was so eloquently written in your blog and I will continue to read up on your progress. Please take care of yourself - they really don't mean to hurt us - another fuel is running their engine. Hang tuff!