To all you moms of drug addicts-- you understand the tendency to want to rescue our addicts. It is so deeply ingrained in us, that everything we have learned from "Mothers of Drug Addicts School" flies out the window.
I'm trying to write blog posts are that aren't so long. So I have to skip through most of the details. When my son confessed to me, how he slipped back into using oxycontin, the emotions that went through me were so complex-- hurt, anger, disappointment. Then I got hit with feelings of relief, that it's out in the open. Anger, frustration and disappointment came at me, as well. Then, the need to rescue my son becomes so overpowering.
Now, I know that I can't fix my son's problems. I know all about letting him suffer the consequences.
But, what do you do when you see your son's terror of withdrawals? This is, I believe, what holds my son back from working on his own sobriety without any kind of drug-- be it methadone, subutex, suboxone or legal marijuana. My son is so afraid of withdrawals, that he works himself up into a total state of panic. I react, by taking on the panic myself. My sirens go off, and I want to help.
B was terror-stricken that he had 24 more hours to go, before he could resume taking his suboxone. Apparently, this is crucial, or he could go into full-blown withdrawal. His decision was to hole up in his bedroom, take some Valium (and that disappoints me), sleep through it all until it was time to take his suboxone. He was determined to sell his iPhone to get his X-Box out of hock, so he could play video games to distract him.
I reminded him that he couldn't do that, as his step-dad made it clear that if he brought home his video games before paying rent he owes (from two weeks ago) that he'd be upset.
So then my son tells me he can buy a used (old model) Playstation for $29.00 and return it within 7 days for a full refund.
What did I do? I went to the store, where his friend works, and found out it's true. So I "rented" the old game console, bought a used game for $5.00 and told myself it would help my son get through detox in his room. B's friend, who works there, said he'd refund the money paid to my credit card so I considered it a "rental". The plan was to tell my husband when he got home, that night.
My husband went through the roof, today, when he found the console in B's room. C doesn't yell, but he was very upset. That makes me feel terrible. What backfired on me, is that I told B he needs to come clean with C and tell him all that's been going on. This morning, B was all set to tell his step-dad the truth-- and I was going to tell him about the game console, that we'd be turning tomorrow for a full refund. Only, C saw it in B's room and it hit the fan with me. Honestly, I wasn't hiding this from my husband, as I knew he'd see the charge on the credit card.
In retrospect, why didn't I call my husband to ask him for his blessing? Two reasons-- I didn't want to have this discussion over the phone, while he was at work. I wanted B to tell him the truth. Secondly, I didn't want his blessing. I just wanted to do it. I admit that.
Is this enabling? Yes, it is. I'm guilty. Coincidentally, someone just left a comment on this post , where I list the signs of codependency. Here's a portion of that list. I have highlighted, in bold red, what I think I did wrong:
- PROTECTION from natural consequences of behavior.
- KEEPING SECRETS about behavior from others in order to keep peace.
- MAKING EXCUSES for the behavior. (School, friends, legal authorities, work, other family members)
- BAILING OUT of trouble. (Debts, fixing tickets, paying lawyers, providing jobs)
- BLAMING OTHERS for the dependent person's behavior. (Friends, teachers, employers, family, SELF)
- SEEING THE PROBLEM AS THE RESULT OF SOMETHING ELSE. (Shyness, adolescence, loneliness, child, broken home)
- AVOIDING the chemically dependent person in order to keep the peace. (out-of-sight, out-of-mind)
- GIVING MONEY THAT IS UNDESERVED/UNEARNED.
- ATTEMPTING TO CONTROL. (Planning activities, choosing friends, getting jobs)
- MAKING THREATS that have no follow-through or consistency.
- TAKING CARE of the chemically dependent person. Doing what they should be expected to do for themselves.
I made the wrong choice, and now I have to deal with my husband being upset with me. This is so hard, because C can make all logical decisions. It's easy for him to see things in black and white. As B's mom, the grey areas take over. I don't want to enable my son, and in many ways I don't.
I blew it. I know this will blow over, but I need to remind myself about enabling. I'm so quick to see it with other parents, because I work at a high school. I shake my head at parents who bring their high school kids forgotten lunches and homework. I need to get a big mirror and take a look at myself.
To me, this is the hardest part of being a parent of a drug addict. It breaks our female/mother's hearts to see our child suffer. The instinct to rescue is so strong.
I'm going back to make my best effort to return to Nar-Anon meetings. I'm kicking myself enough as it is, but I need to admit I was wrong to my husband-- as soon as my defense mechanisms go away. I just need for him to calm down.
I hate being in trouble. But then, who doesn't?
PS: I said I'd write shorter posts, but today's is a FAIL in that department. I type 90WPM and I just can't help myself. Sorry.