What is Rock Bottom?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by New Leaf, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Rock Bottom, I have seen this expression many times here, that one has to reach rock bottom to want to change. Huh. I guess rock bottom is way different for each individual.
    I might have even posted on this subject before.............
    I heard news from son in law who visits the park where Rain is living.
    Apparently, she has moved on to a different man and park.
    Tornado, has taken her place there. Son went on to describe her gobbling down the pizza he brought, thin, bedraggled, face full of acne and "dressed like a prostitute".
    Those old feelings stirring up inside of me.
    I just felt weary and sad.
    Thoughts started to role through my head about going down there and facing her, pleading with her to get help.
    Prayers going up and deep breaths and time to sit with my feelings.
    Truth is.....and it is hard to write.....because it seems cold.....but my Star Trek Spock inner voice is telling me, that she is dangerous. And she is. To herself and anyone else.
    Whatever drug she is on, has taken her to places that I would never imagine being.
    Lying, stealing, property damage, the whole nine yards.
    How she views me, in her drug influenced mind, makes her dangerous.
    She is my daughter, and I love her.
    I don't recognize her.
    Thoughts drift back to many happy memories of her childhood.
    She is not a child.
    29 and caught in the grip of drugs, she is in there somewhere.
    Buried, deep.
    I pray that that little voice inside of her will get louder and louder, that no drug will be able to squelch it out, that she will wake up and realize her potential.
    It is a hard reality that I ponder on this beautiful Sunday morn.
    My focus needs to shift again to the peace and sanctity of my home, my son, and rising above these sinking, gut grabbing feelings.
    It is no small task, friends.
    I do know that there is nothing I can do, to change the choices she makes, that this is a journey she must figure out.
    I confess there is a nagging voice inside of my head that tells me to "Do something! Anything! You are her mother!"
    What is there to do? Do I go down to the park and beg and plead for her to get help?
    Spock voice...."There is help for her, if she wants it."
    Leafy voice...."But maybe if she sees me, it will touch her somehow......some way.....to know that we still care?"
    I don't know guys, I am wrestling with this.
    Sit with the feelings, pray and figure it out.
    This sucks.
    That is the culmination of so many words written, lamentations, prayers and sadness.
    Two little words.
    This sucks.
    My Spock voice agrees.
    It sucks.

    Thanks for hearing my vent.

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  2. rosanna-d

    rosanna-d New Member

    That nagging voice inside your head....omg I hear it all the time. It’s the battle I have with myself in this. How can I be a good mother if I don’t do everything possible to try and help my son. I know it’s not healthy and I know he needs to find his way in this, but it’s so scary. My own feelings of abandonment come into play. I am so sorry your daughter is in such a place of pain, and that you are struggling too. I am not dealing with drug addiction, but my son has mental illness and physical issues that he won’t address and is causing him to become homeless. And this terrifies me.
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  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    r. welcome.

    have you posted your own thread?

    our story has things in common with yours. my son has a chronic illness which can be mortal. he stopped his medication for yeaRs and was homeless on and off and he is mentally ill.

    i have been all over the map in terms of support. after all is said and done i do not think i can or should detach in the same way as do others where the main issue is drugs.

    it makes this process hard. staying connected, involved and vulnerable. but my son is stepping up. for now. one day at a time. i have to keep myself and my hope in check. remembering this is his life. what are his rights...and obligations. and my own as i define them.

    but i did for a time, detach. i will watch for your thread.

    take care.

    CARP_ENOUGH New Member

    Same here Rosanna-d...I have a 22 year old son, big time drama last 4 years. Prayers and hugs to you and Leafy.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    New Leaf, you are brave and strong. I used to wonder about Daughter, with the way she dressed, about prostitution. It is a valid fear as it is common. Boys do it too. It's the absolute scariest feeling.

    I hope you are wrong. If you want to see your daughter to tell her you love her, I can't see how that is enabling. If it will helps YOU, then do it. Do not expect her to change because of it though. Expectations hurt us.

    As for rock bottom, it is all over the board. For my daughter it was the thought of homelessness. For others it is prison. For other it is disgust with self. I think some have no rock bottom. You hope if it gets bad enough they will want to change. I have read stories here where the adult kids never change.i read where some very severe addicts change when their parents least expected it, usually after we finally back off completely and leave them to their own devices, but you have already done this.

    All you can do is what you need to do for YOURSELF to make life better for you. If that means you visit, knowing you can't save her, do it. Then, as you seem to be so admitably able to do, get up and move back on. Again. I imagine it is ongoing.

    I think parents have a rock bottom too, but some parents never hit it either. What is rock bottom? Differs for all, but I do believe some have no rock bottom, which is a scary thought.
  6. StillStanding

    StillStanding Active Member

    New Leaf,

    You are so right. This all sucks. You already know there is no right answer. My advice... do what feels right for you in the moment. If you don't want to go see her, that's ok. If you do want to go see her, that's ok.

    It's why none of us can make decisions - there simply are no right answers.

    I'm praying for your daughter. I hope she hears that inner voice soon. Good luck to her. You are not alone.
  7. rosanna-d

    rosanna-d New Member

    No I haven’t posted my own thread yet. I guess I fee more comfortable responding to others but I will. Thank you for sharing.
  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Rosanna, thank you so much for your kindness. I am sorry for your need to be here, a most warm welcome to you.
    It is a difficult thing to see our adult children reap the consequences of their choices, be it mental health challenges or drug addiction.
    I have stepped in many times, and tried to help, to no avail.
    I am quite sure in both my daughters case, that they have cognitive issues due to years of drug abuse.
    That being stated, although I love both my daughters dearly, my circumstances are such that I have had to detach. They weren’t getting any better in my home, and my son was getting pushed to the sidelines.
    It became an issue of their choices versus the peace of my home.
    It is hard to know that they are both drugging and homeless. I never in my wildest imagination thought that this would be so.
    But, here we are.
    For the most part, I have been able to build myself up and take deep breaths.
    It helps to write here.
    I am not sure what I will do, I will pray on it and know the answer will come. I do know from experience that taking time to sit with my feelings and process the emotions is important.
    Prayer helps immensely.
    Thank you Rosanna.
    From one mother to another, big hugs and prayers for peace of mind.
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  9. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you SS. I just don’t know yet, right now prayer seems right. I have no back up. That’s how I feel. If hubs was alive, at least that would be some sort of deterrent. Her behavior is so erratic and unpredictable.
    Thank you SS. Prayers going up for all of our beloveds.
  10. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Offering many gentle hugs for your tortured mother's heart. I am sending out waves of love to you and to your precious daughter's. I am praying that they be wrapped in protection and grace.
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  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you Pasa. Sometimes I can shake it off and stand firm in faith. Other times, it just gets overwhelming.
    I guess the holidays have a way of magnifying it all.
    I found myself just needing to take a long nap. Rest.
    I hope all is well with you, dear.
    Boy, oh boy, have I got a lot of work to do.
    Thank you Pasa for the hugs and prayers.
    (((HUGS BACK)))
  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you CE. Prayers and hugs right back at you. Rosanna posted her story. I am glad she did. Life is tough for all of us here, that's for sure.
  13. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry, Leafy, such an impossible situation and no right thing to do. We hope someone or something can break through to them when they are in that sunken place, but we don't know whether we are the one to do that, or if we will make it worse or better...and we have to keep our guard up, to ensure we balance our own peace of mind and even sanity...not to mention the safety and well-being of our other family members.

    It's gut-wrenching.

    There is nothing I can add except to say that I too will be praying that your path will be made clear.
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  14. Sam3

    Sam3 Active Member

    New Leaf,

    I am sorry you are here in this difficult part of the ebb and flow. You are an example of grace to me.

    Earlier on, I had spent a lot of time steeped in dread about the dark possibilities of what was happening and what could still happen to my son. It was overwhelming. So I forced myself to squarely confront the rock bottom issue. As scary as it was, I found it helpful to let myself immersively contemplate all the possibilities, at least once, rather than constantly bat them away as they intruded into my consciousness.

    SWOT comments from time to time about the many outcomes she has witnessed in her years on the board. She has observed that loving detachment always preceded positive change -- but did not guarantee it.

    Iron Butterfly recently described the trajectory for a new member and about how this can go, both good and bad:

    We too, were scared to take the first of many steps, set limits, give them many chances, find and get them doctor's, rehab. Then we get to the point of kicking them out of the house, then no money for phones, cars, drugs, etc. Some get to the point where they have to call the police and file charges. Then the parents who have Difficult Child's who are in jail for months to years. Then sadly, those parents who have lost the battle and had to bury their Difficult Child's. There are many success stories here as well.

    I had to wrap my head around these ideas. It felt really hard to live, and difficult to give and love unconditionally, while I was waiting; whether for positive signs, the epiphany or for more shoes to drop.

    I needed to sit in these scenarios to be liberated from the dread of them. And to answer the question: "How do I remain loving for that guy?" before a new wave of disbelief, anger and shame could infect my empathy. The risks they take, make it so I am keenly aware of the clock ticking on my own behavior. I have to stay in a loving place even though I am afraid.

    I think it would be wonderful to give Tornado a chance to feel your love. Like your son did with the pizza. And even if there's hope behind the gesture, I know you can manage it. I just don't think it should be driven by the need to assuage dark thoughts.
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  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I don’t feel so brave and strong Swot. It is constant work, day by day.
    Yes, I have done this. There is no easy way to this.
    Get up and move back on. Some days are better than others. Truth be told, I do have some very difficult days where things go a bit dark. The imagery attached to son in laws description of Tornadoes appearance set me back. It is not my strength that I look at, it is my weakness and propensity to dive straight into the abyss. Get up and move back on. That’s the challenge. When I have no contact, it is still hard, but a bit easier to give it over to a higher power. Up close and personal is my weakness. So, I am thinking that I need to build myself up a bit and prepare myself to see Tornado. Admittedly, I don’t fear her as much as I fear my own reaction. That’s not strength, Swot.

    Thank you Albie. It is impossible, or so I thought. Well, I guess I will have to tighten up my bootstraps and face my fears. Spock voice loses.
    Thank you Albie, I will need all those prayers to forge on, no matter what happens.
    Thank you all for your support and understanding.
  16. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh Leafy, I can feel your struggles in my heart......they're so familiar......I'm so sorry.....I understand slipping into the "dark" place.

    Sending prayers up for you and your family.

    It is a continual experience of letting go, of accepting, of learning to live in the remarkable uncertainty of our kids lives...isn't it?...rock bottom may have quite a number of floors, as LBL has said, "there is a basement in rock bottom" and perhaps even underneath the basement, there is another layer to deal with. When our kids don't recover, don't "get it," don't get back on the straight and narrow, it seems to be a continual experience of letting go, continuing to accept what we can't change.....learning to exist in that uncertainty, in that chaos, in that powerlessness is so hard. Above any "rock bottom" is a violently shaking landscape where sure footing is not possible.....all any of us can do is to learn to go with the shaking until it stops and then nourish and fortify ourselves for the next shakeup. In my experience, each shakeup gets a tad easier...

    Hang in there Leafy.....our wagons are circled around you......we're all here for you.....you are definitely not alone....
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  17. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    So sorry you are feeling unsure of what to do. You are a ROCK to so many of us here.

    How can we know what is right or wrong when we have an anything but a normal relationship with our difficult child(ren)? I think our reality is so skewed that we aren't even sure how to think at times. I know mine is. Like seeing my son Saturday and my feelings. It's all so unnatural. I just want to be normal.

    I agree with the others that there is NO right or wrong. If you feel you need to see your daughter then you should do it. Sometimes what we imagine is WORSE than reality too. Sometimes we overthink everything. Yes, there are good days and bad days.

    I agree, the holidays tug and pull at our hearts. I know that it's not even supposed to be Norman Rockwell but I want it.

    Hugs and prayers cuz that's all we got!
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  18. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel


    We all go back into the pit. It is our nature to Love and fear for the outcome of our children. Detaching is a daily process.

    Some days are good some days are bad for all of us. I do know that if I were with you I would hug you and say....this too shall pass it feels like it will kill us but it won’t. It will linger to torture us for more days to come.

    Hang onto your humanity. It is ok to have bad days. But remember don’t dwell in the pit. Baby steps out and use your 10 ton tool box to haul yourself out mama.

    The greater our pain the stronger our love for these DCs.

    I am circling the wagons for you Leafy.

    You will do in your heart what you can bear. Nothing is right or wrong.

    As I say bottom has a basement and some dwell there. It is very different for each one isn’t it?

    Just the word conjures up so much fear FOG FOG FOG

    My quote option isn’t working well here Leafy. But yes sit with your thoughts, use your tools. Calm your mind ask what would it benefit. She knows you love her, she knows how to seek help.

    Let your son be the vehicle of delivery for love. He comes from you,he goes to her, you are there. She knows you love her.

    Your sense that she is dangerous is your gut speaking and you must listen.

    Write no matter how hard it is. It’s good to purge.

    You are welcome to vent and lament any old time. Super hugs.

    james taylor you`ve got a friend - Google Search
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  19. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you Sam. It is what it is. That simple saying reverberates through my head. It is Gods grace that helps me through the darkest times. Everyone here is fighting the toughest battle, how to live well when we know our kids are in a dark battle of their own. You all must know that I am completely indebted to you for the grace in which you handle your own situations. I am constantly reminded and in awe of the kindness and love here.
    I have done this many a time. Contemplate the possibilities, also I have thought about what my two's potentials are, the ultimate Jiminy Cricket standoff, those old cartoons where an angel is by one ear, the devil, the other. Where there is life, there is hope. I do so hope that my two will find the good they have, and listen to that. Turn away from the devilish insidious whisperings of addiction and drug use.
    There are no guarantees in life. Period. The whole precept behind loving detachment is to no longer allow the chaos and drama infiltrate our homes, our daily lives, our hearts. There is always that nagging voice, sometimes I can quiet it, sometimes it is a bit louder, okay way louder.
    I think what is happening to me is a triggered response.
    We are creatures of habit.
    The propensity to want to jump into action, to do something, anything, is so maternally, instinctively strong. Even more so after years and years of going from one catastrophic event, to another.
    Put that oxygen mask on my child, before mine, and I pass out from lack of air.
    It is the swirly whirly.
    Though not caught up smack dab in the center of it, the winds and torrents of emotion on the outskirts took me for a ride.
    Staying in a loving place,
    I am there Sam.
    Today, I can say, even if I do not seek out Tornado,
    I am there.

    Always will be. I have to make sure that any attempt at contact by me has to come from a place of strength, not the five alarm fire bell ringing in my head.
    In panic, and the sinking Titanic sized emotion conditioned response, I have no clarity.
    The FOG envelops decision making, and giant icebergs will take me down.
    Today, I am resigned to sit with my thoughts a bit more and figure out what I will do.
    That's okay.
    I am looking at my response to those words spoken by my son in law.
    I broke down.
    Literally was immovable for that moment and the day after.
    Imagery of Tornado dancing through my head, all the dread and sadness reaching the core of me, to going back to that center of grief in losing hubs.
    I couldn't cry
    . Which, I think, is worse than crying.
    It's weird, I dreamt last night that I was hiking in the mountains somewhere and came across a partially frozen ice pond, decided that I needed to go down and hike around the edge of it to move forward, only to be stuck below that rocky crag where I descended, stuck in the mud, sinking and legs freezing.
    I think it is that tug in my heart that whispers in my ear every so often, "Lest I grow cold."
    Lest I grow cold.
    How many times have worried warrior parents written here
    "How can I sleep in my warm bed, knowing that my child is out there, somewhere?"
    It is the battle of "Lest I grow cold" over choices an adult child makes, the havoc it causes in our homes when we are pulling out all of the stops to try to “help”, verses realizing that’s not working for them or for us. I am reminded of the movie “Frozen”. Where everything the “ice queen” touches becomes iced over. That’s what happened in my home when my two were in and out. No respite, no epiphany for need to change, just an endless series of mayhem.
    It became a matter of us or them. Either I was going to stand up for peace and sanctity of my home, or they were going to continue to drag us down with them.
    That’s not cold, that’s reality.
    I have to remind myself of this every time I stand at the edge of the swirly whirly, every time I read of a parents success at getting their adult child to rehab, counseling, something. I have to remind myself that each and everyone’s circumstance is different and that I live in the land of “Been there, done that”.
    Yes, I do feel at times that I have grown cold to my two, in that place between enabling, detaching and loving.
    In the FOG.
    Fear, obligation and guilt.
    What a trio.
    Dark thoughts and that incredibly uncomfortable feeling that something must be done, measured with whether that something,
    or nothing equals love.
    I have tried.
    Tried until I was dazed and confused.
    Thinking of those times when life was frenzied by my two, all of the resulting consequences pouring over my home, to the point where I just couldn’t think anymore. I was in limbo, going through the motions, a ship with no compass, riding through storm after storm after storm.
    It was no way to live.
    Lest I grow cold.
    I was dying inside, rigor mortis setting in, trying to figure out what to do about my two, while all along it was really their choice.
    They would have their way, no matter what I did, or didn’t do.
    They would drag all of us into the fracas.
    That’s not cold heartedness, to see that and do something about it, it’s reality.
    I know I cannot have my two at home.

    How can I sleep in my warm bed?
    Why would I make myself suffer their consequences?
    A sacrificial self flagellation?
    My adult children suffer, therefore shall I?
    Yet, we do suffer.
    My suffering does not change a bloody thing for them, and it is a ruination of what time I have left on this earth.

    This song is going round my head.

    Brother's got a problem.

    My daughters have a problem, and that is addiction, drug use and the consequences.
    It is heart and gut wrenching.
    The talented musician who this song was written for, died of a drug overdose.
    This is a possibility for my two. That they OD. I can't save them from themselves. “No one else can help them but themselves.”
    It doesn’t mean I will never try to see them.
    At this time, I defer to a higher power. It is because I am not strong enough.
    PThey will see this and pounce on it.
    Thank you RE. I don't think I would be human, if I didn't slip.
    It is an enormous task to keep my head above water.
    Some days not as difficult as others.
    Mahalo nui, RE. Prayers are powerful.
    Yes, it certainly is. I have to think not only of the "places they'll go", but also, the places I will.
    In my heart, my gut, my head.
    It is a continual battle to deal with the ramifications, the desolate feelings over the choices my kids are making.
    Zecariah 2:8- The LORD of heavenly forces proclaims (after his glory sent me) concerning the nations plundering you: Those who strike you strike the pupil of my eye.

    If God felt this way at the plundering of his people, how can we not feel devastated at times, over our own kids plundering themselves?
    We are only human.
    I am acknowledging my weakness and understand how news of my daughters situation is like a strike to my eyeball.
    Ouch, excruciatingly painful and debilitating.
    I also acknowledge the unfinished proclamation my son in law was making.....paraphrased here “Your daughter is in a bad way.........(unspoken words———-“what are you going to do about it?)
    Those unspoken words hang in the air constantly, as he has taken up the mission to connect with Rain somehow.
    I have weekly news of her.
    Thats good.
    To know she is alive.
    My son in law doesn’t understand why I don’t do something. But that is for him to ponder.
    I can't do anything until my eyeball stops sending shockwaves of pain throughout my body.
    No decision or action can be helpful, coming from this place.
    I will wait until I can see clearly again. Pray on it and ask for guidance and fortification.
    If anything can be learned from all of these years of turmoil, is that when the dust settles, it still is what it is.
    It is still out of my control.
    If I do decide to go down to that park, it has to come from a place of calm.

    Thank you RE. From the bottom of my heart.

    Overthinking is my middle name, RN.
    Yes, it is all we have got, but it is monumental. Thank you RN.
    Thank you LBL, yes, this too, shall pass. Hugs right back at you. Time heals. I need to heal and get back on my feet, before I do anything.

    Mahalo nui LBL.

    This is true. She does know. I have to throw away any fantasy that I am going to go down there on a white horse and rescue her. Or, that she will even receive me with open arms. Or, that she will even be there.
    Another day in the battle.
    It really is a battle within myself, to stand strong in the face of it all.
    I honestly don't know how it would be for me if I didn't have my son to look after.
    He is the reason that I have, to get up and move forward.
    That is a crutch, really.
    I know that I have a lot to work on, when he comes of age and is self sufficient, where is my strength?
    Where will I stand?
    Thank you all for your help in guiding me through this tunnel.
    I write here and respond to others as a way to feel my way through the darkness. I see so much of myself, in your own struggles and situations. It is not that I am so strong, I am questioning myself constantly.
    I am deeply grateful for your prayers and help.
    I am deciding to strengthen my self, before I decide to do anything.
    It is okay to sit and pray and let some time pass.
    I do love her so.
    Even if I don't go into rescue mode.
    If I do nothing, I love her still.

    Whatever I do, it cannot be driven by the chaos of addiction.
    Love and Hugs to all.
  20. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Leafy, you're an inspiration even when you are struggling with your pain.

    Each step of this journey is fraught with such suffering for us parents, we stand on the sidelines of our kids lives and watch with horror as they make choices which put them in harms way, time and time again. It takes a huge toll on our well being, on our health, on our hearts and bodies.....every fiber of our being screaming out to save them, to make it stop.....

    That space in between seeing the atrocities of our kids choices and stepping in to stop those atrocities is where we go slowly insane, where we are at what feels like a life or death choice to save their life, where every fear thought possible to consider lies right there on the tip of our tongue, on the edge of our heart...... on our minds like a land mine ready to blow.

    And, there is nothing we can do.

    Those moments of sheer powerlessness and lack of control..... and the profound realization that we cannot save them are the worst moments, terrorizing us from the inside....pushing every single parent button to DO SOMETHING.......

    But what?

    That in-between space where we aggressively and relentlessly are pushed internally and often externally to DO SOMETHING is like a run-a-way train inside of us.....to stop the train and refrain from action feels to me as if something devastating and irreversible and horrific will happen as a result of non action.

    We've fallen into the abyss.

    This is hard Leafy, perhaps the hardest thing any of us will ever do. Each one of us here has suffered the agonies of the damned, time and time again....but each time we get stronger, we know ourselves better, we develop courage, compassion for ourselves... we're able to tolerate that in-between space.... we recover a little bit faster.... we find some peace and some joy....

    ......it's a steep climb out of that abyss, but we CAN climb out. You've pulled us out of that abyss Leafy....with your kindness and wisdom....that abyss each one of us falls into periodically......

    .....use our collective support, empathy, understanding and love to climb on out.....

    ....next time any one of us falls in....it'll be a shorter stay......

    .....until one day, we'll all just walk on by that abyss......
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    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017