Rambling & whiny-but how do you cope when the sadness gets to you?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Signorina, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I had a bad night. H has been sick - so I am sleeping in the guest room and staying far away from him - so that may have added to it.

    I miss my kid. I am sick over the mess he is making out of his life. My life right now does not resemble anything I wanted. I worked so hard at raising my kids to be good, loving, strong, educated, FAMILY men and I thought that I had some sort of guarantee. I understand that kids get out of our control and we have to let them go - and hey - if he wanted to be a musician instead of a chemist - no problem. But this is different. I can't look past his behavior and have him in my life. There is nothing I can do to bring him home or get him help.

    On a practical and intellectual level - I understand that life is what you make of it and happiness is a choice. I also understand the theory behind and necessity of detaching. And I agree with it wholeheartedly but he is my CHILD - not my lover or my sibling or my parent or my friend. There will always be a great big hole in my heart. And while all signs are pointing to the the need to walk away (and I get that on a practical level); I will always be looking back because that is the nature of a parent & child relationship.

    So do you learn to accept that the ache is the new normal? Does it get better? I am not sitting around crying all day - but the tears are always close and each day has moments of sadness. And even the moments of happiness are less happy because of the ache in my heart. And I don't want to get used to the ache - I want it to go away.

    And I hate it. But I feel like the only thing that could make it better is my son getting his act together. And that is out of my hands and it makes me so so sad that there is NOTHING I CAN DO TO CHANGE THIS.

    except detach. and I am doing my best. and I know meetings may help me find the answer but they are not prevalent in my area. So point taken about meetings - but I'd also love some other tips or insights or coping skills.

    Please know I am not a basket case - just a bit sad and frustrated
  2. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sig, I do understand what you are feeling and it does get easier. I think of it like the stages of grief (and we are grieving for the loss of the child we knew and hoped they would be). Eventually, you get to acceptance that you can't change it and you go on with your life and the daily ache is not there.

    That's not to say you will ever forget or stop hoping that your child gets better and becomes the person that you know they could be without using drugs/alcohol. It just stops being the focus of your life and becomes a peripheral sadness.

    I hope I made sense.

  3. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest


    First, I am so very sorry. You are talking about it which will help. Please continue to talk.

    My situation isn't the same as yours but I am fully preparing myself for it to become the same. Funny you should bring this subject up. I saw my therapist this morning and discussed dealing with what I called 'letting him go.' Here's a random list of the ideas we came up with. Hopefully something might help.

    We talked about - journaling my feelings, continuing to build my support system, grieving the loss of the dreams I had for him, grieving because of the choice he has made, dealing with legal and practical realities (wills, his room and stuff here, etc.), having a list of places he can go and people who will help him ready in case he contacts me, and making some small changes in the house to make it easier to adapt to not having him here.

    With any grief, the ache is hardest at first...but bit by bit, it gets better. And the stronger you are...the healthier you are...the better it will be should he (oh...I pray he does) decide he wants to get clean.

    Years ago, I read Melody Beattie's Codependent No More. I'm rereading it now. It's helping me focus on the only one I can change. Me. What do I need, want, feel,etc.? It's really helping me to realign my thinking. I know I can never simply 'change the channel' and not deal with the huge anger and frustration and sadness from my difficult child's choices - but - for me - if I can work through it while having a life and being happy then that is the very best I can do.

    I'm sending you peaceful thoughts.
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Signorina - I think a better way to think of it is this is the new "normal" - for now. Your relationship with- difficult child may not always be this way (probably won't). It may get better (probably will - as he matures and you master the art of living with- detachment).

    I was surprised that strangers couldn't see my raw grief when thank you went his own way. He made some really awful choices, and it was just a terribly dark time. Like you, I wanted to fix it, to get him on track, but like you I finally realized there wasn't a doggone thing that I could do. Made me really miss the old toddler days when he would come running for curing kiss for a "boo-boo." Weren't those wonderful (and unappreciated) days, when a mom's kiss could cure all? Except - at 18, he didn't think he had any "boo-boos" and thought he knew exactly what he was doing.

    I'm not the poster child for good coping skills, but having had a fair amt of grief with- 3 (so far) of my kids, I can tell you how I got thru it. On the really *really* bad days, I gave into the grief. Let it just take me. I think it's important to do this, albeit rarely. On the days that were just really bad, I'd grit my teeth and try to get thru it. I spent months in 2009 with- red eyes, and silent tears running down my face became the norm, but I dug in my heels and did my best to make it to the next day. For me, once the really *really* bad days and the really bad days started to recede, a bad day was a relief. ;)

    At the same time, I made sure thank you knew that our door was figuratively open. I left contact up to him - and we went through a hellacious 4 months of zero contact. I took to checking his myspace for activity, just to confirm he was still alive. But when he did make contact? I very consciously made it superficial. Good to see you, glad you came by, wanna cookie? I learned quickly not to ask "How are you?", 'cuz my kid would tell me, and I didn't want to know. The goal is to try to keep a relationship intact, and sometimes that means shutting up, smiling, and faking it a lot. I actually did a lot of verbal prompting of myself - I'd ask thank you something or start to offer advice, and then I'd say "whoops, never mind, didn't mean to say that." I did that a *lot*. Still do, though interestingly now he gets a bit peeved at me - he wants to hear my opinions, LOL.

    Work on you, let him do his thing. Personally, I've found counseling with- a good therapist very helpful for the really horrible times, but it's not for everyone. Whatever it is for you, do it.

    When he does make contact, try to keep it light. In some ways, I think thank you and I had to build a whole new relationship once he starting coming back around - based on adult/adult, not parent/child. It's actually been very liberating for me - much less worry and stress. It's his life to do with- as he pleases. But it's very easy for me to enjoy it now because he has cleaned up his act significantly, and continues to make strides.

    It may take a while, but hopefully your kiddo will get there too.

    I'm so sorry - I know it's incredibly painful. But nothing is written in stone - remember that.
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think it is easier if your difficult child is at least pursuing some kind of treatment, at least for me it is. I try to put myself in your place and if difficult child had not gone into treatment and was still in the same place as she was last year at this time, I think I would be devastated with a big hole in my heart also. I probably wouldn't be crying as much as I was but I remember those days being so close to tears every day that the least little thing would start them. I couldn't walk into certain stores we shopped at or go places we use to go together or look at her room or many other things that reminded me of the past, and I am pretty sure I would still be very vulnerable to crying today if she hadn't made any progress.

    I also find it's easier for me to be positive when difficult child is working the program than when she isn't. So when I know she's doing well I think all our difficult child's can do well, and when she is relapsing I fear there is no hope, for any of us. I have to fight those thoughts because obviously my difficult child's progress has no bearing on anyone else's but it's my attitude that is affected.

    I guess what I'm trying to say Sig is that I understand what you are feeling. It's a horrible horrible feeling and I can only describe it by saying my heart aches, my soul aches, my entire body aches. My throat hurts from holding back tears, I think I will never be happy again and I have an overwhelming feeling of fear and doom. It gets better but it's always there. When she goes into treatment or admits her problem or works the program those feelings fade quickly and hope returns.

    You don't have a lot of hope now and you are stuck in the fear and sadness mode.

    I am in limbo right now. I suspect strongly that difficult child has relapsed and is only following the program for show. I worry that if I find out she is totally relapsed and loses her job and living arrangements and falls hard I will be back to square one and have that terrible pit in my stomach again.

    I'm not sure if I'm making any sense but I wanted to validate your feelings and think that if your difficult child would admit he had a problem or even if you knew the full extent of the problem you would feel a little better because you would know what you were dealing with.

    I'm sure others will reply whose difficult child's did not go into treatment and they will tell you how they got through it. But know I'm thinking about you and wishing none of us had to know this pain.

  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest


    I too totally understand what you are feeling. I think it is a process. I definitely do better when I know my son is safe and possibly getting some help.... although with all the recent relapses I am kind of losing faith. When he is on the street or I am not hearing anything from him at all my imagination tends to run wild and I have some really bad moments. However they are now moments rather than contstant worry and grief. Even in those times I can now still have some fun and some laughs... I don't focus on him ALL the time now... but defiinitely some of the time.

    So what has helped me. Therapy definitely did.. in emotionally letting go. Alanon meetings definitely helped. This group has helped. And most recently a feeling of determination that i am not going to let him ruin my life. I am just not. Another thing I did, and luckily could afford to do, is that I cut down on my work hours. I did this because in my job I deal with people dealing with trauma and it was just too much trauma for me... work and home. So now I get some days to myself which helped.

    And so I am trying to find things in my life that I enjoy, that matter to me, and ways Occupational Therapist (OT) relax... good books to read etc.

    It is not easy and it takes time. And I know for me some days are a lot better than others.

    I also think this is not the end game.... you don't know where your son will end up or where your relationship will end up. I can't say my relationship with my son is good... it probably wont be really good without him being sober for awhile and really committed to it... but it as not as bad as it has been. I do think keeping the door open as much as possible while still setting boundaries is important. I would avoid forever stateements if you can. Things change and your son may get to a point where he doesn't want to stay on this path... and when that happens you want to be there for him.

  7. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member


    I know exactly what you mean about your sadness, and emptiness. I am struggling with this now,and I don't have any answers for you. I just wanted to let you know that I am sending you caring thoughts and prayers for you. I hope that we can all get through this sadness together.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Except for validating your feelings the only thing I can offer is the tried and true "take one step at a time". I don't allow myself to grieve too much for what "should have been" "could have been" "might have been". Deep in my heart I know every day that my child knows deep in his heart and soul what is right and what is not right. He also will know to his dying day that he has unconditional love...although not acceptance of his choices. Try to remember how many years you had a healthy child and compare it to the short time that he has fallen off the path...that helps me focus on the fact that "where there is life there is hope". It may not help you much but it allows me to function on a daily basis. Hugs. DDD
  9. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    For me the "ache" is the new normal. I don't sleep normal hours, I think of him all the time.
    I take my medicine (for the Bipolar disorder) and I know that keeps me from crying constantly...but it only is holding back what is there. The pain is simply masked over.

    I have this picture of young difficult child on the fridg. He is in his football uniform, probably around age 8 or 9, his head is tilted to one side with the sweetest grin. Everytime I see it...I sadly ask myself, what happend?

    On an encouraging note for you...I know I have read statistics that state the later they start the drug use/abuse the earlier they will end it. I don't know just thought they may give you some hope.

    We will get through this together.
  10. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Thanks for getting it everyone and thanks for not judging or blasting me. I think I am feeling so down because I realize that I am doing everything in MY POWER to feel good - yet - the only thing that will make me feel better is difficult child getting "well" and that is completely out of my control.

    I remind myself that when I lost my dad I cried every day and thought I would never stop. And while the pain never went away - it grew less acute and less sharp and I suppose this will too.

    {{{hugs}}} to all of us hurting mommys
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I want to hop in here and say that mom's do have that unique connection to their children and I believe in some respects we will always tie ourselves in some way to their successes or failures. When they do well, we feel it in our hearts and when they arent, well, there is that part of us that just feels like we are there with them in some small way. I know I have always been extremely bonded to Cory and can almost feel myself go up and down with him like a twin.

    Your situation really hit you out of the blue. However, I have seen dozens of success stories where kids get clean after a few years and return to the fold. I have no idea if you watch The Voice but there was one on there last night. A young man who had been lost in the world of crack for many years had come clean and was auditioning last night. And who was with him? His mom. He talked about how sorry he was for all he had put her through all those years and she just sort of batted the past away as she talked about what a wonderful son he was today. Thats how mom's are isnt it?

    I know right now its very raw but it is entirely possible that it wont be too long before he has a turn around. Your son is extremely smart. You raised him well. He will always have that to rely on. Remember that.
  12. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    I wish I had advice. I am right there with you. I miss my daughter every day (though it is a lot easier when she ticks me off). I still check her Facebook and phone logs every day. Often, checking her Facebook is the first thing I do when I wake up. I know it is not right and I have a problem, but I just can't help myself...but somehow I doubt I ever cross hers. I don't hear from her unless she needs or wants something. :/

  13. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    I feel the same way. Every day is a process. This was a good thread for me to see. I sure hope the rawness goes away. Your not alone-holding your hand from far away. ((Hugs))
  14. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    I just wanted to send cyber support your way. Sorry your heart is aching for your son. I hope he realizes soon what a nice life he can have and get with the program SOON! Wishing you brighter, (less stressful and worrisome) days ahead.

  15. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Sending my love and support to you...
  16. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I have been thinking about this thread a lot today. I agree with Janet that as moms we feel this connection to our kids and so we really feel it when good things happen and when bad things happen to them. I think it is very easy for moms to have their happiness be very tied into their kids happiness. When you have a kid who is generally doing well in life this is probably not an obvious problem...... but often I think it is very hard for moms when their kids leave the nest and they have to find their own happiness again....

    However I think for us moms with kids who are a mess (for whatever reason) this tying our happiness to their success or failure is dangerous for us. This is not a judgement at all because I have definitely been there and certainly I have many times where I am stewing and worrying about difficult child and it is hard for me to get out of it.

    I went to an alanon meeting and we were talking about hope and happiness (what a coincidence). There was a reading that really struck me about hope... and how we can lose hope but there is always hope that we will find joy. What struck me was it was not talking about our hope for our loved one but about hope for ourselves!!! And I realized that I may lose hope at times for difficult child but that doesn't mean I have to lose hope for myself. Regardless of what happens with my difficult child I can hope for happiness, joy and serenity.

    So I think it is important for us in the process of detaching that we find the things that make us happy and give us peace.

    Sig thanks for bringing up this topic.

  17. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    Ahhhhh TL....see that great big light bulb over my head? Hope for me? What a great concept! thank you!
  18. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    I can TOTALLY relate to this pain and I haven't even begun to detach yet. I am in the very embryonic stages of trying to let go and figure out what I want (what a concept!). My difficult child is particularly loathsome right now. It's just hard to love him but I need to know that he's going to be okay and I just don't think he is. He has absolutely NO resources and no coping skills other than booze and drugs and he is prostituting himself out (in MY house while I'm at WORK) for those things. So maybe he IS more resourceful than I give him credit for....it's just selective on his part. Can't call DSS for benefits, but can call a total stranger for God knows what...sorry to hijack this thread-just wanted to let you know that I think being the mother of a child like this is unbearable on so many levels and I pray for the day when we can all let go, while waiting for our happy ending. Don't think there's gonna be one for me and mine.
  19. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I'm a months-long reader of these posts, and first-time responder. You really captured the essence of what we go through as parents. I wonder if it all comes down to love, doesn't it? We love them, they don't seem to remember how to love us. It's beyond hurtful. How do we resolve the lies, the defiance, the disrespect, the rebelliousness - if they really loved us? If they're delusional and we're rational, where could we compromise? Why do they put a thief in their mouths to steal their brains?
    In my Catholic belief, I always found it unfathomable that people denied miracles happened in front of their eyes, and couldn't bring themselves to believe that Jesus poured his life out for our redemption. If that can happen to God, who are we to think these things that are happening to us just couldn't be possible? Withholding of love is the beginning of all suffering. Pride also has to be replaced with humility, and then maybe they'll see things differently. I seem to simultaneously vascillate between compassion for him and fury at him - then I feel guilty for feeling that way!
    Make it a priority to keep your home a sanctuary of peace for the rest of your family. I can just relay what works for me - I pray for my son to accept God's Grace, then I pray for him to embrace humility and accept true wisdom. Ultimately, we can only try to lead faithful, exemplary lives, and put our prayers at His feet, and leave the control up to Him.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, I can share what I tried.

    First of all I concentrated all I could on those who loved me and were in a good place. I focused on remembering that all was not lost...that there were other people who WANTED and NEEDED me and that I had to be there for them...hub and other kids and my beloved pets who always knew when to give me a kiss. That did help.

    Secondly, I saw my therapist more often. She was extremely helpful and gave me a place to cry, vent and fall apart, but she also had sound, good, common sense to give me that really, really resonated. You may need a therapist.

    Now those two things are what I did to fill the hole my son left when he kissed off our family. It was a long road and you know the resolution. This is what I did when my daughter was using drugs and seemed on the road to destruction and it also helped me a lot: I went to a lot of Al-Anon meetings. I made friends, shared tears, shared hope, and now I still go back sometimes to support those who were not as lucky as me with my daughter.

    I also like to focus on my interests...such a dog rescue, writing, working out and those long, long, long bubble baths with a fragrant candle and a good book. And I always, always recite this prayer (and you can take God out of it if you do not have one):

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change,
    the courage to change the things I can,
    and the wisdom to know the difference.

    I find that prayer VERY comforting.

    Hugs and more hugs.