An Honest Interview with the Mother of an Addict, Part 2

More Encouragement and Hope

Photo cred. Farkul J

Today’s post is Part 2 of our interview with the mother of an addict. It’s a continuation from Monday’s blog on March 27th. I believe there are many things she shared that will be of great value to you.

 

  1. How did the experience of your son’s heroin addiction affect your marriage? What did you do? My husband and I initially approached our son’s addiction and self-destructive life-style on the same page. But over time, we realized that I was a bigger push-over and my husband was a bigger “tough love” proponent. This led to many disagreements and hurt our sense of oneness. In order to deal with this, we spent time (and still do) with other couples who have survived situations like this to receive their input. We also attended a support group for families who had children in outpatient therapy. This helped us realign our focus, prioritize our marriage and family life, and once again become a united front in the battle that threatened to destroy us. Since early in the journey Hope for Hurting Parents was a tremendous resource.
  2. How did this impact your other children? All of them are in therapy, working through the effects this has had on them. Each one responded differently. Some struggled with anger and feelings of betrayal (lying and stealing from them). Initially, our youngest felt she let her brother down and struggled with feelings of not having been able to help him. But, they were all willing to forgive him when he asked (during rehab) and they’ve been willing to work on rebuilding their relationship.

Dad, I’m Not Renee!

Parents Can Get Stuck in a Knee Jerk Reaction

Do you live with a continuously rebellious son or daughter? I did. Events occur that took my breath away, made my stomach sink, filled my heart with fear and my mind with anxiety. Add to the mix, confusion from dealing with things I’d never dealt with before and not feeling prepared to handle them, could make a grown man crazy.

This was my life. In her late teens, I’d caught my daughter Renee in several lies. So, when she asked to go out at night, I couldn’t fully trust what her plans really were. I didn’t trust where she was, what she was doing or who she was with.

I’d built a set of knee jerk, verbal reactions to various things she would do.

If Valentine’s Day Hurts

A Message to Parents in Pain

Valentine’s Day is this Tuesday. For parents in pain over the behaviors and troubles of their kids, it can be a hard day. I know. I’ve been there. I understand how it reminds you how much you love your child – and how much you’ve lost.

Valentine’s Day also reminds me of the greatest love of all. The love of  God and the love he has for all people.

Listen to what the Bible says about this love: “By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. BUT God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life . . .” (Eph. 2: 3b – 5b, NIV).

It’s spectacular. Indescribable. Marvelous.

I could go on and on listing superlative adjectives to describe how the above verses make me feel. I find great comfort here.

Without Christ, your child is an object of God’s anger; the focus of his wrath. Your son. Your daughter. They’re on their way to eternal doom. They’re in grave danger, headed for destruction,

BUT . . . God stepped in and did something most unexpected.

A Young Woman’s Story for Parents to Learn From, Part 2

When Your Son or Daughter Never Feels Good Enough

Today’s blog is part 2 (part 1 was posted on Wednesday, June 1st) and was taken from an Anchor of Promise post, written by author, blogger Leah Grey.  Today Leah continues her interview telling her story that lead to drug abuse and offers some wonderful insights for Christian parents.

 

How did your parents react when they found out (about her drug use)?

My parents reacted… a lot, to everything. My Mom cried. My Dad was silently angry. My Mom basically went into a depressed spiral, which I took on as being my entire fault. I didn’t need to do much to get this reaction.

Were you encouraged or told that a drug program would be the plan to help you heal?depression (1)

There was no “healing” talk in my household. At that time, doing drugs just meant I was either “bad” or “stupid”. “Quit acting like an idiot” was something I heard a lot.

A Young Woman’s Story for Parents to Learn From, Part 1

When Your Son or Daughter Never Feels Good Enough

Today’s blog was written by Leah Grey and was posted on Anchor of Promise on May 13, 2016.

What kind of family environment did you grow up in?

I grew up in a happy, stable home environment. The town I was raised in was small and quaint. While attending the Mennonite Brethren Church with my family, my brother and I also participated in VBS, Christian Summer Camp, Youth Group, etc.

What kind of relationship did you have with God?decisions

I accepted Jesus into my heart at age seven. I believe I knew what it meant but didn’t understand the dynamics of it. Around age eleven or so, I had many questions about God such as, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

This really affected my relationship with my “church friends” as I was “rebelling” against Mennonite culture by asking so many questions.

3 Ways for Parents of Troubled Kids to Hold on to Hope

“I give up!” “There’s no way this is ever going to end well.” “The doctor told us to plan our daughter’s funeral.” “If hehope27 keeps going like this we don’t know what will happen.”  “Everything we’ve tried to do to help our child has failed. It’s no use.” “I don’t even tell people I have a son anymore, it’s too embarrassing to explain.”  Are you a parent who can relate to any of these statements? Have you said or thought these things about your son or daughter? You’re not bad and you’re alone. You’re normal and you’re in a lot of pain.

Hope. In many of our situations it looks like there isn’t any – or at least not much. Maybe you had plenty in the beginning, but that was years ago. Today you’re ashamed to admit how you really feel. When that mom told me she no longer told people she met that she had a son, I felt so badly for her. She was being as honest as she could and it revealed how hopeless she’d become. Years of chaos and trauma, lies and rejection, disappointment after disappointment had drained her of believing change was possible. Is that you? Or do you see yourself heading in that direction?

There was a time I was on the verge of losing hope, BUT I discovered some things that helped me hold on to it. I wanted to share my top 3 with you today. I hope they’ll help you not lose yours:

When God Brings Your Troubled Child Home, but Not the Way you Expected

“God has answered prayers and brought our daughter home to us – but she has AIDS!”broken2

“My son is back, but he’s seriously ill with cirrhosis of the liver. He might need a transplant.”

Hopes were shattered. You prayed and prayed and waited and waited for your child’s return from “out there”. They indulged in wild living, stubbornness, and pride. You’ve held on for a good outcome. For a long time.

You begged God for their protection.

For light consequences.

For as little pain as possible.

To be spared from bad things.

You did your best to trust Him. To let go. To detach in love. To stop enabling, over-helping and rescuing. Sometimes you succeeded. Other times you didn’t. It’s been rough.

Then it happened – they finally returned – but, you never expected them to come home like they did. Sometimes we don’t get a happy ending.

An Attitude Brokenhearted Parents Need for Thanksgiving

attitude“Don’t give me any attitude!” “I don’t like your attitude.” “You have a really bad attitude right now.” “That attitude won’t help.” “Lose the attitude.”

Have you said things like this to your son or daughter? I have. More times than I care to remember. They might be struggling with alcohol or drugs, pornography, self-harm, depression or some other mental health issue.

Attitude. I’m referring to bad ones. They’re kinda hard to describe aren’t they? But you know when your child has one you don’t like. One that rubs the wrong way. One that angers you and pushes your hot buttons. One that stinks . . . okay, sucks. And then there’s the kind that hurt and wound. Ugh.

Attitude. It’s the non-verbal communication behind what’s actually said. It’s a tone of voice and the cloaked feelings dancing around the words spoken, or how a person acted. Like when your child says, “Whatever”. Double ugh. You can feel the rudeness, the disrespect and sass. It oozes out.

The slammed door. The frown. The lifted eyebrow. Body language. It speaks volumes. Not to mention their actual words. “I hate you!” “You’re ruining my life!” “I can’t wait to leave this place and be on my own.” “Just wait ’til I’m 18, you’ll be sorry.”

Attitude. It’s important in relationships, isn’t it? What about us? If we’re not careful, we can develop a not-so-good one ourselves. When you’ve been hurt repeatedly, rejected and lied to, it’s hard not to. Maybe your daughter stole from you or your son physically hurt you. If that happens, I hope you call the police and not let them get away with it. It’s not right. You need to be strong enough to let them face consequences. It’s brutally hard, but you’d be sending a message you can’t afford to send. One that says it doesn’t matter.

A better attitude is Gratitude. Your child probably has a lot of growing and maturing to do before they’ll havegratitude2-vi this. They’re attitude affects you, but it’s not your problem – unless they’re under eighteen. If so, please get some help for both of you. There’s plenty to be found in books, online, and there are many great counselors who love adolescents. But let’s look at you – the only one you do have control over. It’s Thanksgiving this Thursday. Will you be around someone who has a bad attitude? Maybe it’s your child – or maybe not. What can you do?

You can be a person of gratitude. It can make a huge difference. Start when you first wake up. What can you be grateful for? Maybe the people around you are grumpy, but you can still be thankful – for what? For God’s love, His constant presence, His strength and comfort; for Jesus and how he died for you; for your life, for your health, for what you can see and hear, feel and touch; for where you live, the food on your plate, clothes on your back, family and friends. You could even be grateful for your challenging son or daughter – God’s using them in your life in ways you might not have realized.

Go ahead – have an attitude this Thanksgiving – an attitude of gratitude. It helps. It’s highly contagious, too. You never know, it just might rub off on someone else in your world.

“I will sing a new song to you, O God . . . I will make music to you, to the One who gives victory. . .” (Psalm 144:9)

 

Encouragement for Parents of Self-Harmers

Today I want to welcome author, Dr. Ryan Fraser to my blog. He’s a dad, former MK (missionary kid), minister, professor, andhope34 - Copy counselor who has a heart for hurting parents. As a mom who fits that category, I found his writing to be both practical and uplifting. Thank you, Dr. Fraser, for your words of wisdom. We need them!
You never asked for this nor could you have ever imagined it happening—to have a child who self-harms, that is. It’s like living in a twisted and terrifying nightmare. It breaks your heart. You’ve lost sleep, worried, cried, screamed, begged, threatened, bargained, and prayed. Sometimes you look in the mirror and wonder what you did wrong in raising your child. It’s gut wrenching.

As parents, we take our children’s safety and well-being very personally, even when they’re grown. We can’t help it. They’re an extension of us. When they hurt, we hurt.

A Question Parents in Pain Ask

The most common question parents in pain ask themselves is WHY? My husband and I did the best we could to raise our daughter with a lot of love, with a strong sense of right and wrong, to be a good moral person, to not get caught up in any addictive behaviors, and to be an emotionally healthy, happy person. We also raised her with a strong spiritual foundation. Yet, she ended up with multiple addictions, was involved in self-harm and had a brain disorder(mental illness). I would lay awake all night torturing myself with many why questions.

What about you?

Many parents in pain are plagued by questions like these:

  • Why did my son choose to abuse substances?
  • Why did my daughter become anorexic or bulimic?
  • Why were they drawn to the same-sex?
  • Why did my son get involved in pornography?
  • Why did my daughter need to burn herself?
  • Why did they become depressed or develop a brain disorder?

As parents who feel a high sense of responsibility for our children, we also feel a high need for answers. Now.