Monday, July 5, 2010

Two of my most disliked labels - "Enabling" and "Codependency"

For the last three days, I've been meaning to sit down and blog about my son. Actually, I wanted to blog about a Dr. Phil Episode that I happened to catch, while on vacation. Honestly, I rarely watch his show. This one was about a 19 year old boy and his parents.  The son is hooked on oxycontin.  I quickly grabbed the remote and recorded the show. When B came home, from work, we sat and watched the show together.

I don't have much time to write, as I'm expecting a dinner guest at any moment. Please excuse any grammatical or spelling errors. I'm typing as fast as I can, because I just got a call from my son. There is more drama. When that happens, I need to blog.  On with it--

I could relate to the parents so much.  Mom has done the same things I've done.  When B would tell me he was in trouble because he owed money for drugs... what did I do?  I went into panic mode.  I could not bear the thought of my son being shot, stabbed or beaten by a drug dealer. 

According to the Book of Rules for Parents of Addicts, I did exactly what I should not do.  I paid the money.
Essentially, I was labeled as an enabler.

When my son misses his methadone dose, and he's sick and puking, I have been known to pay for methadone from the street. Why? I can't bear to see my son suffer.  I'm an enabler.

If my son has a doctor appointment, or needs to wake up on time...I've been known to remind him.

I've been labeled codependent on my son. He has drama, mom soothes him.

I've been labeled a "coddler".

The classic Dr. Phil question that he posed to the distraught parents was, 'How's the working?"

Of course it's not!

I'm speaking from a woman's point of view.  I have such a fierce protection over my son, that doing what is deemed "right" is like asking me to walk in public stark naked.   I consider myself to be an intelligent woman, with common sense.  But, when I see my son in a dangerous situation, my resolve and common sense falls apart.

I give myself props that many times I've said "no".  I've learned to set boundaries.  Surprisingly, my son still loves me.  He is testing me, I've come to realize.

Drug addicts are master manipulators. My son admits it.  In order to get the drugs they so desperately need, they learn how to manipulate.  I am thankful that my son doesn't steal.  But, he's a clever one!

I wish I had more time, but I wanted to give food for thought.  When I remind myself that my son needs to work his own program, and that there is nothing in the world I can do to make it happen... I believe I'm breaking my codependence on my son.  I cannot cure him.  I could pay for rehabs, shrinks, pills and beg him to go to meetings.

It's a waste of time. My son has to work his own program.  I can only hope he's truly clean.  I've drug tested him, and he has found ways to fool me. I think I can tell when he's high. I've been wrong.

I don't trust my son, completely. It insults my son, but that's the way it is.

As for Dr. Phil and that family-- I wish that young boy all the best. He's going on an all-expense paid trip to The Hacienda, in Texas. What a lucky boy he is, to be given this gift.

I pray for that family. 

As B and I sat and watched that show, my son's eyes grew full of tears. So did mine. We exchanged looks that said so much. My husband didn't see it.

My eyes were saying, "I feel their pain and anguish".

His eyes were saying "I'm sorry, mom". "I hurt you."

I have learned to not say that my son is clean. I can only pray that he is. He's working. He's paying his rent. He's respectful to us.

He's still a drug addict.  He has a long road ahead of him. I have no idea how long he's been clean. Only B and God can answer that one.

It is so easy for people to label us as Enablers and Codependent.  Unless you've walked a mile in our moccasins,  you cannot understand our desperation to save our kids. 

I'm trying to let go and let God.

My son just called. There's been a terrible drama with his past.  I'll blog when it's panned out.

I'm praying. I'm thankful he's alive.

Being the parent of a drug addict is one more label I wish I didn't have. It is what it is.

I have to go. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your support and comments.

Thank you for your kind words as I grieved over my horse. I'm better about that now. I can talk about her, and visualize her without crying. 


Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

((((((((((hugs))))))))) Debby, I agree 100%. It's not easy being mom - we do what we can.

kristi said...

My Mom recently started Al Anon to help her deal with my brothers who are addicts.

beachteacher said...

oh Debby....I've also done a lot of those things,...and I so know how you feel. May all of our sons and daughters stay clean.
God bless you,

Jan said...

I have done all those things and more. Co-dependent, enabler, parent of an addict, no label says I love you more than facing the truth! Do what YOU believe is correct and to heck with the labels. WHat is right for me and my addict, may not be right for you!
Good luck with the drama! HUGS

Anonymous said...

Done them all, said it all, felt it all...those moccassins have been on (and still are on) my feet. Thank you for sharing and God bless

Cheri said...

Hang in there, Debby.

You know we're praying.

Thanks for posting,


LisaC said...

Every day I struggle with the words...codependent, enabler, parent of a drug addict (I liked it better when I was just a parent). After 2 1/2 years of living with Bryan's struggle (I use to call it our struggle...I consider that alone a victory), I just try to do what my heart tells me is the right thing. And when I catch myself repeating actions/behaviors that I've done in the money or taking care of his business, I ask myself "how did it work out the last time?" It is the way that I'm trying to stay on track.

And every time I realize I've relapsed, I just have to start over, sort of like our addicts when they relapse.

You are in my prayers, my dear, as is B. I hope everything works out okay for both of you.

Bristolvol said...

By my daughter removing herself from my life because I decided not to enable her any longer, I took off the moccassins. That is not to say I am not vulnerable to trying them back on if the situation was to change. Accepting that I was completely helpless was my only hope for selfpreservation. I know that she is manipulating other people now who in turn enable her. It's out of my control. I also never imagined being the mother of an oxy drug addict and the grandmother of her innocent two babies whom I have never met. I am hoping and praying that all of our addicted kids will experience a moment of clarity and realize that they are on a doomed path.

bb said...

Debby: I have been reading your blogs off and on for over a year. My son is an opiate addict as well. He has recently relapsed and has added alcohol to his drug usage. Just wanted to say thank you for posting; it helps others realize they are not alone. God bless you and your family.

mother of drug addict said...

Being a mom and mother of an addict is the hardest thing I have EVER done. I feel for you. Been there done most of what you have.