the Last in the series-PSST

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by antsmom, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    thank you for staying with this series. May God richly bless you on your own personal journey!
    Part Six

    As parents we all want to fix our child’s drug addiction and we try very hard to do so. In fact I spent years trying to fix it, to the exclusion of my marriage, my daughter, my career, my friends, and everything else around until the exclusions included my health. But I could not fix this. And any thought that I could was a denial of the truth and I was living in an illusion. And the more I tried to fix it the more we all sank into the co-dependency of manipulation and enabling.

    But I get it now. We did not move forward as a family that included my teenage son, for he is a drug addict and he needed help. So I had to relent to others in his life that knew more than me about addiction, that truly could help him, and I must give him the freedom to accept that responsibility himself. And in order to do that, I must get-a-life.

    So I started this end with the steep climb out of this pit that we all sank into. And I grabbed for that oxygen, just like they tell you as the airplane is moving onto the runway, “If air pressure is lost, all parents please place the oxygen mask over your face first before tending to your children.” And I finally understand that statement after hundreds of flights. I used to listen to the attendant giving these instructions and thinking she was crazy. Of course, I would take care of my kid first. I must ensure his survival and not be selfish for my own needs. But I learnt that if the parent doesn’t survive or is not prepared to deal with the child’s issues, neither would survive. And my family certainly had lost air pressure, and we were going down.

    So I grabbed for that oxygen, inhaled it till it hurt, I began the climb out of that pit, and I started to rebuild my life that included everyone and everything that I had pushed aside for years. And I found support and strength that allowed me to properly deal with my son’s issues.

    And who is there with us at this end? Again, I think who ever we need to be there; family, friends, God. They are all there, but our teenager will not be there. He has finally passed on and we will have finally placed the hope of him in our past. However, our emerging adult child is there with us. And we are there with him. However, we are different now. We understand that they are a drug addict; that they have a disease that is in remission.

    And we all must work towards another end of keeping this disease in remission. So our relationship with our child is changing. We are still their parents, but they are adults now. And they are still addicts, and we are their drug abuse counselor first. Every interaction with them must be preceded with the thought process that will determine if our actions will enable this addiction and reactive the disease, or keep it in remission. Will my actions take him more than one day from the streets?

    For we must never forget, that we are always their Number-One in either sanctioning the addictive behavior or condemning it. It is only when we have determined, in total honesty to ourselves and without bias, that our actions will not awaken this demon that will always live deep inside of them. It is then we can be their parent. And last, but not least, when we are finished being their parent, given them direction, executing all of those necessary responsibilities that parents have, can we then simply be their mother and father. It is only then that we can open up and allow them to just be our kid; For at that moment they are not a drug addict.

    And what is our now adult child doing at this end? Hopefully, they are moving on into recovery, because the last thing we have done for them is to ensure they are placed into an environment where they can learn to cope with society, survive well in the outside world, and teach them to build a fruitful life within drug recovery. And they are surrounded by others who can truly help them.

    And we must allow them the freedom to find their way with these new skills that they have learnt and now must practice. And I do mean practice. They are not going to get it right every time. So we still do keep a watchful eye for the danger signs and provide some level of guidance.

    However, there comes a point in time that the best we can do is to not-enable and pray that they find their way. If we continue to interfere in their lives and decisions, they will continue to make bad decisions, because we keep saving them from their poor choices. I think this is the only absolute truth we have to hang onto. I do not know any sure-fired way to guarantee that they will never do drugs again or to be sure that they will always be safe. But I do know that if we continue to save them from poor judgment, they will continue with their declivity, downward on their descending slope. As long as we spare them the experience of the full scope of the consequences of their behavior, the longer they will continue the behavior regardless of how destructive it is. This is the power of this demon that summons them into drug use at any given moment.

    And as always when we reach an end, there is a new beginning; A new beginning that will look different, feel different, and be very different. We now have our young adult. And he is maturing and growing, and he is finally starting to realize his dreams, and what a joy it will be!! It maybe new dreams, but we will be sharing them with him this time. And these dreams will allow him to grow and become the adult we always knew he could be. And we will all be there together as a family.…….Finally!

    So our family is trying to get back to some level of normalcy now. And our home is quiet now and the tension is gone. We are happier than we have been in years and my son’s enjoys us, and we enjoy him. Well, most of the time we enjoy each other. After all he is still just 21, and he still has some growing-up to do, and we still have some parenting to do. But this parenting is the normal stuff, and it feels good! This is another thing that we have missed; Just being a normal parent addressing typical parent / kid stuff.

    And I can concentrate on my work better than I have in years. And I now have up-to-date pictures of my son that I can bring to work and actually show my co-workers. That was a long time in coming, too. One such picture, he is standing by the water at South Beach Miami. And with today’s electronics, this picture is on my cell phone and is on my desktop computer at work. And I look at it often during the day with pride that he is doing well, but also in relief that I can see him happy, and he is not high. That too was such a long time in coming! So many times when he was in placement, I knew I was doing the right thing, but it was still difficult to see him so unhappy. Over the past several years, he was unhappy, belligerent, high, sick, etc., etc., and any combination of all of these things and more. Now I can see him happy, healthy, and clean. What a gift!

    But even after all these years of dealing with my son's drug addiction, of facing what we must do to help him and doing so. Then seeing him emerge as a recovering addict and realizing how lucky I am that he has made such progress. Even after all this, I still struggle with the waiting for all of these teenage things to happen. These teenage events with my son that I looked forward to, that I planned for; this relationship with my teenager that I so wanted, that I still need; These events that I pondered over and planned for; These events that I counted on, took for granted; But these events will never happen; and this relationship will never be. And I had to accept that in order for me to have the focus to help him and then let him go into a life where he assumes responsibility for his drug recovery. Because that is the only way it will ever work. He must assume responsibility for himself and I must let my teenager go.

    So during my workday, I make a point to look at his picture on my computer and deliberately stop and pause for a few moments to remind myself, and eventually convince myself, that this young man is my son, that my little boy is gone, and my teenage son will never be.

    But there are times that I gaze upon my son’s picture; I sense the other piece of the mother deep inside of me that does not recognize this young man looking back at her. For her son is still 9 years old, and they have so much to look forward to. Surely he will do well in high school. He is a straight A student and he consistently gets accolades from all of his teachers. While maybe not his music teacher, since he can't sing on pitch, but he stills does fine for his limited musical ability. And he is always a well-mannered little boy in all of his classes. Also, he surely will be involved in school committees and play varsity hockey, because he is such a good player; One of the best and he continues to work hard at his practice drills. She has never seen such a young child have such focus and drive, so maybe he can get a hockey scholarship somewhere. But regardless of all the possibilities that will be and maybe not be, he will surely do well and have many opportunities. Also there will still be many chances to watch him play hockey, attend school events, plan parties and banquets, meet his friends, their parents, etc., etc., etc. There are so many good times left for her and her son.

    So she grabs him … Swallows him into her arms .... While she still waits.

    (This is the final entry of a six part series - our thanks to Lori for sharing her struggles with us in an effort to help us with our own)
  2. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Dear Janet...
    I miss you!

    ps...Prayers going out for your ant today.
  3. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    Tammy, got an email that your note was here-thanks so much for praying for Anthony, and may God bless those sons you love so, as well! have a happy hope-filled Easter!