Believing in them

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by toughlovin, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Hi all,

    I posted on my other thread that my friend, who is helping me with difficult child, told me I need to stop thinking/using language that indicates I think difficult child will screw up again. He is right but gosh I do that to protect myself. I am really afraid to get really hopeful even though at the moment difficult child is doing well, my husband had a good visit with him and my friend saw him today and also said he is in a good place. difficult child agreed to committing 90 days at my friends sober house and was really positive about it apparently. So things are definitely looking up. My husband said he seems like he is in a different place.

    How do I though believe in him, believe in the process, without setting myself up for a fall if he doesnt make it again. This has happened so many times a part of me just has to reserve judgement and wait and see. I guess my first step is to think about what I say to him and to sound positive even though I am really scared that this is only temporary.

    Any words of wisdom on this?

  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    TL, I'm glad you have a friend who feels free to express true feelings. Obviously many of us who have riden the roller coaster hold our breath waiting for the down curve. on the other hand my personal opinion is that our difficult child's don't listen or care much what we say when they are in the depths of addiction but when they turn a corner toward recovery they do hear the words and internalize their interpretation of what was said. SO, like a mindreader, the parent has to try to avoid all negativity when difficult children are "really" trying. How do you know when that is??? In your case it sounds like you have a valued friend who is trying to give you important signals. The upward climb is slower and less obvious but I think you have excellent parenting skills and you'll likely adapt just fine. Hugs DDD (by the way, I understand that when you are in bed at night...the fears will invade your head. Sigh.)
  3. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    I was really touched by what your friend said and have been stewing about it all day. I
    have an actual restful day after months of stress and I choose to stew about these words...go figure!
    I value them since your friend has been down the road, and because difficult child told me the other day that
    she feels I can never be happy for her progress, it was never enough, and I am always suspicious and waiting
    for her to screw up. I usually never give up, am hopeful and rather optimistic. I thought it was a strength and found out
    it could also be a problem leading to codependence. Yet....if we put hopeless vibes out and fear is always in the back of our minds
    are we not asking for the Universe to send that other shoe dropping ASAP? We are moms and we are the most emotionally connected
    to our kids, it just is natures plan. I WANT TO TRY AND RECOGNIZE THE GOOD...even in the throws of caos. I want to do it in an
    authentic way which does not toss me back into the deapest throws of codependence and that is "healthy". I dont know what that
    looks like yet. I do know that I am a good mom, just as you are. I have done the best I could at each moment. I really think that gives
    our kids a leg up. I am hoping for latent learning for my difficult child, who is delayed in skills because of using,MH issues, and so much time out of
    the real world due to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement. I am going to try and turn off major anxiety about difficult child, it helps noone. Maybe this will help with
    the waiting for her to screw up yet again. I am going to remember that step number one and give this to my higher power. Do you have any
  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I think DDD hit the nail on the head. Every word of encouragement makes such a difference when they're legitimately trying.
  5. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Well difficult child seems to be doing well. He called the other night and he sounds good. He is not complaining about anything or asking for anything which is a good sign. My friend visited him and my difficult child has agreed to go to his sober house for at least 3 months and he liked my friend. It makes me feel hopeful and I just feel so much more relaxed right now. I am going to try and go see him after he moves to the sober house and has been there for a week or so. I think it would do me good to see him.

  6. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    TL, I am so glad that your son has committed to 3 months at a sober house. That is huge! I also understand that you need to protect your heart. I found myself still trying to give advice or commenting on my difficult child's negative behaviors when he was (sort of) doing ok. I kept catching myself because I knew it was not the best way to handle things. But it was what I worried about and what I felt so it was hard not to put a voice to it. I can't remember if you are seeing a therapist or not but I think that is a very safe place to voice your concerns and fears and work on them. Just taking one little step foward is so difficult for our difficult child's that we do need to be mindful when we speak to them lest something we say causes them to get overwhelmed. It is so hard.

    Like ehausted said, I think being negative can attract negative. I also have come to the conclusion that I cannot know with total certainity what is best for my difficult child. So, when I pray I just ask for that which will bring him his highest good without naming any specifics. The road we travel as parents is one filled with many pitfalls and obsticles. It is not easily navigated. We do falter and often fall but we never loose sight of what it is we want for our difficult child's. That being a good life. Keep your focus on that and give your worries and fears to your higher power to deal with. It really is about all we can do. -RM
  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Thanks RM.... I think I will just try to focus on staying positive with difficult child and if I dont like something he says just to remember sometimes it is better to say nothing at all than to say something negative. I did tell him when he first went into detox that i thought it was quite an accomplishment to survive on the streets for 5 months. If he can do that he can do anything... that is something I have never done and have no idea how to do!!!

  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Rm you are very wise. My husband just said the other day that we need to give difficult child encouragement and not focus on what she does wrong
  9. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hi TL,
    Your friend sure sounds like he knows his program! What a valuable resource you have.

    In my days of AA/Al Anon they told me the same be careful what I project.
    I try to see myself on the "sidelines" cheering difficult child on and reminding him to "shake it off" when he fails...and get back up again. Sometimes it's very very difficult to "steer" them in the right direction...but ya, I do think we send unconscious messeges out into the universe and into our difficult children. ...Do we honestly "believe in them" or do we honestly see them as broken failures?

    And it is how we talk to them too...saying things like "here we go again" says I "didn't think you could to begin with" ya know. However, saying things like..."It'll get better it always does" or "You can do this...You've got what it takes"..."You're a survivor" etc...I think these things DO make a difference.
    And in your difficult child's case he has certainly proven to be both resourceful and a survivor!

    I sure understand wanting to protect your heart too though. But you know there are no guarantees...but that's with everything. We just keep trying to focus on the goal and never give up...never give up on our hopes and dreams and never give up on our difficult child's.

  10. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I have been reading and waiting to answer until I could sit down, pay attention and write something meaningful.

    There is so much I want to say - but I have been working like a crazy woman with the end of the year.And I broke my 'puter and I am really lousy on the ipad/phone keyboard. So I apologize for the delay.

    This post - and LMS's recent thread, Nancy's thread, Exhausted's reply here - all struck a similar chord in me. And while I think you've been given really good advice by your friend and I agree with it and the words of our board friends in reply...

    It also makes me bristle a tiny bit. Maybe even more than a tiny bit. I am at such a crossroads in my own life right now, so that probably isn't helping. And I realize that I am reading between the lines with your friend's advice, and that it's probably unwise of me. The little voice in my head is telling me I am projecting too take this with a grain of salt.

    I hate even the tiniest glimmer of implication that WE need to be sure we aren't doing or saying something wrong. Like it's US who have (or have lost) the magic key to unlock the door to their wellness.

    You're instinct is to protect yourself, protect your heart, and frankly, I think it's really to protect your love for your difficult child by not expecting too much of him. Not because you have no hope, but because you have too much hope. And you're not some "mommie dearest" type who automatically thinks the worst of her child "just because." You've been down this road, you know it puts you in a vulnerable place and it hurts when hope comes crashing down. You HAVE that tee shirt. Not only that, but your particular difficult child has taken advantage of your vulnerability more than once. I think you need to remember that the VERY FACT that he is getting the help (which have gone to great LOVING lengths to facilitate) is surely a positive thing.Your actions speak so much louder than any words ever could. So please - not even for a moment - do not judge yourself for protecting your heart.

    We want so desperately to fix our kids. We can see the path they should be taking. We know how to fix them. So, if we really had the power to do it, it would be easy. And since we don't have that ability, we turn our desire "to fix" unto ourselves. And there's a lot of helpful side effects to that. But - I think - we also need to make sure that WE don't think of these helpful side effects as a vital part of their treatment's success or failure. We all have done so much work to get to the point of not blaming THEM for their addictions. At the same time, we need to be careful that we don't turn that blame on ourselves. I think we've all done a really good job with changing our expectations of/for them and trying not to set the bar too high if at all. We need to apply that to the bar we are setting for ourselves as well. So many people advise: you can't change them; you have to change yourself. And that's true. But it doesn't take away the fact that THEY are the ones in desperate need of change.

    In the end, their sobriety & wellness won't be because of what WE did or didn't do, it will be primarily because of their choice to get well. And yes, we want to say all the right words and offer all the right support, but we cannot start thinking that our words or even our feelings will make or break it. If only we had that power!

    So, I don't know if I am making any sense. I just worry that all of us have the tendency to look to ourselves as a means of fixing them. Detach more, enable less, give to get, etc - those are all WONDERFUL coping actions that have helpful side effects. In the end, we need to remember to cut ourselves some slack and we most need to remember - "We didn't cause it, we can't cure it, we can't control it."

  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sig... {{hugs}}
    I think part of the difference is... where "difficult child" is at.
    For you... <sigh> there really isn't anything you can say or do that makes much difference right now.
    I use the word "much" on purpose, because... you could make it a lot worse. Really.

    But once a difficult child is actually trying... they may be in the one-step-forward-five-back quagmire. The difference is to try and determine intent, direction... and if there's any hint of "one step forward" at all... we really DO do damage if we let them see our bottled-up negativity and store of past disappointments.

    Is this just another round of the same old? or real attempts to move forward that just aren't producing very much new right now. Of course, it requires extreme wisdom (which I don't profess to have) to tell the difference....!