Taking care of ourselves.....

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by toughlovin, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    So yesterday I stayed home due to the storm... and I felt a bit like a slug... didnt want to exercise, didnt eat right etc. I started thinking about why do I rebel against taking care of myself etc.... and this morning I am sort of focusing on that issue for me.

    And I started thinking about various threads here and what we are all dealing with. One thing I have realized lately through this forum, through alanon and was tragically reminded of by Phillip Seymour Hoffmans death is that this awful disease of addiction is a life time thing!

    I have been hoping and looking for years for the "solution"... the thing that will get my difficult child on track and help him stay on track. I was recently reminded at a parents support group meeting where he is at... that recovery is also one day at a time and that this is life time issue! There is not going to be one defining thing and then it will be all better. I knew that but a part of me has trouble with that too... because I dont want that to be true!!

    Anyway so in thinking about it this morning, I thought wow if this is going to be a life long journey, whatever it is, I better figure out how to take care of myself now and forever forward. I cant put my life on hold, or my issues on hold or whatever on hold. I need to take care of myself, both physically and mentally now!

    I suspect this is true for all of you too..... which is why I decided to share this.


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  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    You are progressing TL, because just that true realization, even though you have heard it over and over again, is life-changing. Now you have taken it inside yourself, and you are changed by it.

    There will not be a switch that's flipped and then...magically...all will be better! I waited on that for so long before I realized it wasn't going to come. Like waiting on a train that never came. I was just standing there, waiting, waiting, waiting, enabling, enabling, enabling.

    There was never any train----any switch----at all.

    It was/is going to be a one step forward, 10 back, 1/2 step forward, 2 back---it was/is going to be messy and ugly and chaotic and hard, just like dealing with his addition and my progress in stopping enabling has been.

    I have often heard that sobriety is worse than addiction, at first. I guess because everybody, including the addict, excepts the flipped switch and is SO disappointed when it turns out not to be that way at all. Hopes are high, and then dashed again.

    We are JUST LIKE our difficult children.

    Some days, we eat french fries, M&Ms and 10 cookies, then 11, then 12. Then we lay on the sofa and watch some dumb TV show, and then another and another. We don't get up and work and do the laundry. We don't feel like cooking supper so we eat popcorn.

    Just like they do.

    Some days, they use and lay around playing video games all day, and sleep all day, and leave food on dishes all over their rooms. Or they ride around in cars with their friends smoking cigarettes and hanging out, instead of looking for a job or applying for school. Or even doing their laundry.

    The difference is---we get up. We get to work, we reflect on the past day, and forgive ourselves (we're only human, right?) and strive to do better.

    My difficult child just keeps on with the same behavior. And his behavior is often illegal. Lack of work leads to homelessness. Using drugs leads to danger, disease and jail. Stealing from people leads to being arrested.

    With us, we probably won't lose our jobs or our spouses or our homes due to one day every now and then of checking out.

    But if we kept on doing it, we might. We might need help to stop.

    We don't have the disease of addiction (thank God). But we could.

    We have the disease of being human, and maybe even momentarily down, or a little bit lazy, but it only lasts for a day.

    Of course, these situations are different and the stakes are much higher, but still, we are the same.

    That was so good for me to see that, and it broke down the walls between my thinking: He is bad. I am good.

    I see us as similar in what we have to do, even though his journey is so much harder than mine, and the stakes are so much higher.

    You are making progress. This IS a lifelong journey---us with our M&Ms (eat a few but not too many) and them, with their addiction.

    If we are doing the best we can, people we love will come alongside us and forgive our slips.

    If they are doing the best they can, people they love will come alongside them and help them through their relapses.

    As long as we and they are doing the best we can, and getting help if our situation gets serious, there is help.

    But if we're not, we need to be left alone to figure it out ourselves.

    The first step for serious problems is realizing we have a problem, then getting the help we need.

    We have done that with our enabling behavior---that is why we are on this site.

    Today is a new day. You can make different choices today, if you want to. Our difficult children can make different choices today, if they want to.

    It's completely up to us.
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I really needed that today TL. So many times I put my life on hold because of some crisis difficult child was in. And I found myself almost doing thta again when she got firedt last week. I had been trying to help with groceries and gas and was hoping they were getting ahead and then this, and the house they are living in is being foreclosed on so I found myself thinking all my help really didn't help them get ahead at all. I lost several night's sleep over worrying about her and just now have come back to realizing there is nothing I can do. If she wants to live like that I guess that is her choice but I can no longer give up any more of my life.

    This is going to be a lifelong journey for her and I need to take care of myself because that's all I have control over. Thanks for sharing.
  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    TL, I was thinking about Philip Seymour Hoffman too, and just wonder how he could stay sober for 23 years, holy cow, and then relapse so badly. Then I was talking to husband about it, and I said in the film industry, where I'm sure drugs can easily be provided, and you're always around drugs/alcohol, it must've been so hard for him to stay sober for so very long. I wondered what could've precipitated that relapse, and said to husband, "Do you think he just got tired of sobriety, and meetings, and temptation after so long?" Why would he need 50 bags of heroin in his apartment? That's like a suicide mission. I saw pictures of his mom, and she looked exhausted, and my heart just broke thinking of her.
    None of us make it out of this world without a cross to bear. But TL, we are alive, and it's a gift after all, and despite all our anxieties and fears about our loved ones, we must also live, just one day at a time and recognize the precious gift we are given, too.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nancy I want to say something to you in particular. I could probably figure out something else to say to everyone else but what you are going through really struck something deep inside me.

    As you know I have always had a soft spot for your daughter. After all, she and Monkey share a birthday....lol.

    I know how difficult it is to know that you have lived a pretty nice middle class life and did everything you could to make her life good. Im sure I couldnt list all the normal parenting things you did like family vacations and those types of things.

    That was my life when I was growing up. Now we have to realize that the worth of money then isnt the same as the worth of money now but I didnt have to want for anything. Maybe I should have.

    Look at me today. I know that our gross income for a year is probably what my dad made in 3 months. Maybe 4. I grew up in lovely homes that my parents paid cash for. I had never even heard of a mobile home. Never knew anyone who lived in one. I was given a car wen I turned 16. Okay, does spoiled come to mind?

    Look at how I live today. Hand to mouth and paycheck to paycheck. I do have a few nice things like my computer and 2 flat screen TV's. I can only imagine the horror my father felt when he knew his only beloved daughter had to struggle just to survive. Granted I stopped using all drugs when I got pregnant with Billy. It took my dad years before he would even think about helping me. Now I do have to admit that he tried to help my boys because at the beginning of every school year he would go out and buy them each 3 new school outfits and a pair of shoes. You cannot imagine how much that helped us out. Back then Tony was making $7 an hour and we had 3 boys under 6. Rent and utilities pretty much took up all the money he made.

    I cant remember how old your daughter is but it is entirely possible she will turn this around. Oh I doubt she will live in the standards she was brought up in but she might just get to the point she isnt running from bill collectors. Thats not to say I dont from time to time but eventually I do get them paid.

    My life has been much harder than it would have been if I had followed in the steps my parents wished for me to go. I also have thought about the fact that I could have gone to college, got a good job, married well but then that person could have been a jerk. Its so possible that this fairy tale man would have left me the first time we found out I was sick. Even though Tony and I have had some very hard times..more lately it seems but I know he would never leave me because I cant go to society balls anymore.

    Ya just never know. Maybe she is really saving herself from marrying some sort of jerk who would kill her down the line.