Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My own recovery from my addict's addiction

I feel as though I have been avoiding talking about the truth of my son's addiction.
I'm getting ready to start sharing details of B's timeline, starting at age 15, when he first began to use drugs. It's just so overwhelming, that I get writer's block. It will come...

What I need to accept is that my son has a disease, called "addiction". Until my son was admitted into a hospital for detox, I never fully understood the truth about addiction. Now, I'm spending more time reading about the topic, and by listening to other addicts who don't seem hesitant about sharing their story.

The biggest myth, I have learned, is that the road to recovery has absolutely nothing to do with willpower. The addicted brain doesn't have the capability to just "stop" the cravings of drugs. The best chance that my son has, of staying clean, is for him to know what to do when his brain begins to convince him that it wants him to "use". My son needs to have a good sponsor that he can call, and say "I need help". He needs to use the tools that are taught by the 12-step program. He needs to stay away from the friends he had who use. Otherwise, odds are, he'll be tempted to use again.

I am fooling myself, to think that B is clear and safe from returning to his life of drugs. In a way, it's like me-- who wishes that I could say "no" to any tantalizing dessert, or piece of chocolate, that is put before me. If I give in, my worst consequence is that my bathroom scale will tip higher. For B, if he gives in-- he is faced with the potential to spiral back into a brain that wants to use. Worse, he might have to go into detox all over again.

I'm afraid for my son. I received an email from a mother, whose son is about 30 days ahead of my own son's story. Her story mirrors mine very closely. He relapsed on Mother's Day. He was pulled over for an expired license plate, searched and arrested for possession. He was living in an SLE (Sober Living Environment). He's back as an outpatient at his recovery center, and he regrets his mistake. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

His mother's heart is broken. This, is my greatest fear.

There is no cure for addiction. I cannot bubble wrap my son, and protect him from the real world. He's legally an adult, so he is free to make his own choices-- and suffer his own consequences.

As far as I know, B is attending meetings on a daily basis. I believe that he has someone who will be his sponsor. From what I've heard, this person is a perfect match to my son. His potential sponsor has the kind of personality where he could tell it like it is, to my son. He needs that.

I feel robbed of the hopes and dreams that I had for my son. I feel as though his addiction has stunted his maturity. Rather than B focusing on either attending college, or keeping a job, he is burning a lot of his time and energy .... well, doing what?

I don't really know! He lives 2 hours away from me. I am not calling him, because I need to leave him alone. I do think that the main reason my son isn't calling me very much, is that he knows I won't give him money.

Addicts are manipulative and selfish people. Ask another addict, and they will admit it. Addicts will say and do anything to get the drug that they need. Unfortunately, the collateral damage that comes to the people who love the addict, is that they stop trusting them.

I have books on codependency, but it seems that I have little time to really sit down and read them. I have six more weeks left, before my month long summer vacation begins. It looks like that will be the time when I can sit down, with my highlighter, and to really begin to identify and set a plan into motion to recognize my codependent behavior with my son.

I feel a lot of compassion for parents who think that just because their child has been discharged from rehab, that the problem is over. That's what's so evil about chemical and alcohol dependency... it's like the addict has been shackled by the Evil One. They need a lot of prayer, support and encouragement.

Celebrate Recovery - Celebrate Recovery Serenity Prayer

Prayer for SerenityGod, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot
change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the
difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting
hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it
is; not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I
surrender to your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and
supremely happy with You forever in the next. AMEN - Reinhold Niebuhr -

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