Marriages and families are victims of addiction we often overlook. Mom, you got another phone call from the police or an EMT. Dad, the arrests and forced time in mental wards won’t stop. DUIs and car accidents. Binge drinking. The yelling and fighting. The lying and disrespect. You’re sick of it.
Chaos. Trauma. Loss of peace. Loss of finances trying to help. Loss of sleep. Too worried. Too stressed. It’s affecting your health and sanity. Too many unknowns. Too many possible, horrible outcomes. What can parents do? How do you face them together as a couple? And what about the impact on your other children? How can your friends and family understand what you’re going through?
“My husband and I disagree that our child has a drug or alcohol problem, much less on what to do if there really is one. He thinks they’re just being a typical teenager. I think he’s crazy! We fight about it all the time.”
I’m the mother of a daughter, now 29, who has struggled with addictions, mental health issues, suicidal tendencies and self-injury that began when she was 12. It’s been a long, tough road. I’ve learned a lot, but everyday I realize there’s more to learn. In my blogs I share what’s helped. Passing on what’s gotten me through brings purpose to my pain.
Today’s blog is a re-post from last summer. It’s an alphabetical list of elements that helped my husband and I cope with the disappointments and brokenness we’ve faced. Maybe something here will resonate with your heart today.
Accept your reality. It is what it is.
Believe God can do anything.
Coping skills can be learned.
Detach in love.
Enabling must stop. No more helping that’s not really helping.
Friends can’t always understand; find a support group and discover healthy ways to express your feelings.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.5 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem in 2009 (9.3 percent of persons aged 12 or older).
“I can’t believe the mess our country is in!” “There’s a huge epidemic of drug abuse going on. No place is immune. I’m so scared me for my children.” “My kid says all his friends smoke pot and he’s never going to stop. Even some of their parents use it. I’m sick about it.” “It feels like everyone knows someone who’s been diagnosed with a mental illness lately. It worries me about my son. Could he have a problem too?” “There was another suicide at my daughter’s middle school. It’s so awful. It really makes me nervous others will also act out.”
The evening news continuously bombards us with disturbing reports of suicides, overdoses, illegal activity, drug raids and unsettling activities of all kinds in our neighborhoods. We wonder if one of our children will be affected – or have they been already? As parents with heavy hearts over the behaviors, struggles, and choices of our sons and daughters, this awareness feeds our anxieties, only making them grow.
There was a time when my husband and I worried Could our daughter be using drugs? Does she have a drinking problem? Is she cutting herself? Are you tormented by similar thoughts?
Today’s blog was written by author, speaker, Carol Kent. If your son or daughter is in prison,then this is for you. If not, you may know someone who does. Please share it. They’ll be glad you did.
I was sitting in the visitation room, picking at the broken tabletop as I talked to my son. At that time, we were approaching sixteen years of visiting Jason, both in jail and in multiple prisons. I asked him, “What is the single most important thing—besides Jesus— that helps you keep your sanity in this place?”
Before he could answer, my finger dislodged a piece of someone’s dried-out, leftover food from the tabletop. “This is so disgusting!” I blurted out, referring to the crud on the table. Then I realized it was even more revolting that I was picking at it with my own fingers!
I laughed out loud as I realized how it would have bothered me to be assigned a seat at that table in my B.P. (Before Prison) years. Now, A.P., I’m more focused on the person I’m visiting, rather than the furniture or décor in the room.
To answer my question, Jason said,
Our door bell rang unexpectedly late one afternoon last week. Tom, my husband, went to see who it was and there stood the UPS man with a rather heavy box. To my surprise, it was addressed to me! “What? I’m not expecting a package. I wonder what it could be?” Then Tom noticed the return address. “It’s from WaterBrook Multnomah!” he exclaimed. Wait! That’s my publisher! Could it be? Yes, it was. The weighty box held seventy-five advanced copies of my book! The first one I’ve ever written! I still can’t believe I’m almost a published author!
This book was written for you, dear brokenhearted mom or dad (or grandparent). It took three years and felt a little like giving birth – an intensive labor of love. It required huge amounts of endurance and strength – emotional, mental and spiritual – much more than I imagined it would.
The title is
“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 he 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: