*I didn’t write this. It’s from a mom who struggles like many of us. I wanted to share her thoughts because I think some of us will see ourselves in her story. And maybe, like me, you’ll gain some insights about yourself.
So this past Wednesday my husband and I went to pick our son up from rehab. He was 21 days clean going in and today he is on day 46. We are so happy for him.
They day we picked him up was a six hour day of family counseling and a couple of guest speakers. I sat there listening to one woman as she began to share with us about her addiction. She explained how things began to consume her at her job, at home, disrupted sleep, and a stressed marriage. She’d go out late at night to places she never dreamed she would go. She’d hide things and scurry through the house to make sure there were no needles or drug paraphernalia left laying around before her husband came home.
Her life was out of control.
As she finished telling us how her addiction had taken over her life she went around the room and asked if anyone knew what her addiction was.
Most people guessed heroin. As I listened to her and looked at this woman I thought to myself, This woman is not an addict, she has a child that is an addict!
Everything she’s saying sounds like me. She’s hiding her son’s addiction from her husband to protect him from being thrown out of their home!
When she got to me and said, do you know what my addiction is? I said, “Yes, yes I do.” I said, ” You are addicted to one of your children’s addiction”. She looked at me and said I was absolutely right.
This woman was saying everything I knew too well. As mothers (parents) we want to save our children. We’ll do anything to get them better. We try to help, hack into their Facebook, look on their cell phones, follow them to horrible places to see where they’re getting their drugs.
We, as the non-addict, become addicted to our loved one’s addiction.
By doing this, we prolong their recovery.
Not only do we enable, but we lose ourselves. We become consumed with how to fix them and gradually, the family becomes even more distressed. Our focus is solely on our addicted child.
This mom’s testimony impacted me in a profound way. I saw that my behavior needed to stop, and I needed to start working on my own recovery . . .
I didn’t start my son’s addiction, I can’t control it and I can’t stop it. He has to stop it. He has to want sobriety.
I’m truly encouraged that he’s been clean 46 days. I hope and pray he’ll continue and have the strength to persevere.
The illness of addiction is a horrible thing, but from now on I’m going to work on my own recovery as the mother of an addict who I love with all my heart.
For you parents out there who are addicted to your child’s addiction, please stop, and start working on yourself.
You can’t change your child. They have to want to change, but you can change how you react to them for the sake of your own well-being, for the health of the rest of your family and for your marriage… “
*We all want our children to be healthy and live meaningful lives. But we need to focus more on ourselves, on our recovery. The mom who wrote this was on day five of hers. I’m on year ten or eleven of mine and it feels pretty good. I’ve grown a lot and am tremendously thankful for God’s help, because in my own strength being the mom of an addict would have been impossible.
If we can do it, then you can too.
This verse from the Bible helped me during the tough times:
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:13-14).”