Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sins of the Parents (Part 3)...are they passed on to our children?


It's been a challenge to find time to continue sharing my personal testimony with the faceless friends, those who stumbled onto my blog and to myself.  My husband asked me why I have taken this direction on my blog.  That's a good question, considering that I originally started this blog to share updates on my son's initial stint in a drug rehab facility.  Over time, my blog became a place where I would purge my feelings of anger, helplessness, frustration and despair.  It took a while, but eventually I began to cultivate some regular supporters-- and I will never forget how much I appreciated that.

Today, my blog is taking on an entirely new flavor.  Gone are most of the rantings of a mother who couldn't cope with my son's drama.  It's interesting that, with my new direction, most of my past supporters have stopped commenting as well.  I've found peace with that. I'd like to think they've stopped visiting my blog because I seem to be coping just fine with my son's addiction, and his struggle to maintain sobriety. I wish I could say that's 100% true. I still have my moments when I am afraid for my son. I have my days when I feel frustration at my son's procrastinations.  I still feel resentful when my son isn't truthful with me.  I can still see addictive behavior.  So, yes, continued encouragement and support is always appreciated.  

I do want to say that I do read every comment, and every email that is sent to me privately.  I want you to know that my heart aches for you. I do say prayers for you. For now, I have no intention of abandoning my blog.  It is my hope that the audience I reach are those of you who are needing hope and encouragement.  I'm here to give it to you, as best as I can. 

Why am I sharing my testimony?

If anyone has completed their 12-step program, sharing your testimony is a requirement.  At my church, we have a Celebrate Recovery program-- and if you can find one, I highly recommend it.  Yes, it is Christian-Based, but I make no secret that I am a Jesus loving Christian.  Likewise, when someone becomes a Christian, it is recommended that we have a 3-minute testimony (story) to share on how and why we became a Christian.  I've honed my story down to that, and have shared it with plenty of people. They are usually amazed at my positive attitude when I share some highlights of what I've been through.  Here, I'm not honing down my story.  I'm being honest with all of you--and myself.

Another reason I am sharing my testimony, is that I can see so many of my own traits in my son.  Some of my own traits that I've passed on to my son make me cringe. This is why I'm sharing my story...  (To read Part 1, click here.)

I had been living on my own by the age of 18.  I never returned home, because I managed to make ends meet. Fortunately, I inherited my mother's work ethics, and her ability to scrimp and save money.  I had a social circle of friends that found plenty of time to party, and I fit right in.  At that time, I was a travel agent, so I got to jet-set all over the world.  Good times. Great memories.

Relationships with my parents:

My relationship with my father wasn't the best. I was bitter, and unforgiving towards him, for all the beatings and physical abuse our family had endured.  He went on to remarry a much younger woman-- but that was short-lived.  He never married again, but lived with a few women.  I tried to bond with him, but it never quite happened.  My father became a Christian around 1983, and he mellowed with age. I believe he regretted a lot of things that he had done, and he wanted me to spend more time with him. He died in 1986 of cancer.  Shortly before his death, I decided to forgive him and I am glad that I did.  It wasn't until after his death, that I found out that my father had been sexually abused as a young boy, by his uncle.  I believe that explains why my father had so much rage inside him-- and it didn't help that  he killed the "enemy" in World War II.  What a pity that he never quite found a way to let go of that.

Mom and I had an on again-off again type of relationship.  I loved her, but I didn't like her. She was very controlling and highly critical of me.  In retrospect, I believe she was living her life vicariously through me. She wanted me to be successful, because she so believed it would be a positive reflection on her.  Why do parents do that?  I never felt as though I could meet up to her expectations.  I never had that mother-daughter relationship that I've seen so many of my girlfriends have with their own.  I could write a book on my mother-- I'd title it "The Mother's Book of Guilt"...or something like that.

Part 2 (Marriage to my son's father)

I was 24 years old when I met my son's father.   I fell deeply in-love with B's father (I will call him "W").  He treated me with kindness and generosity.  After my miserable first marriage, I felt liberated.   W wasn't controlling at all, which was in stark contrast to my first husband-- who was possessive and jealous, and unfaithful.   I can still clearly remember the time that W told me that he loved me.  This was the first time, in my life, that anyone had told me that I was loved. Ever.  I remember that I started to cry.  It took a while, but I finally mustered the courage to tell him that I loved him. From then on, we told each other that all the time. I was euphoriant!

W had his own businesses, and was fine with me continuing my social life with my girlfriends. Eventually, I got into horses and I would travel all over the state of California to compete in horse shows. Life was good!

It was an adjustment for me to accept his offer to move in with him and his widower father.  I grew fond of the old Scotsman.  We married four years later, and had a wonderful honeymoon to England and Scotland. I'm going to fast-forward a few years later, where his father sold his home and the three of us moved to a beautiful place in the country.  It was my dream house-- swimming pool, acreage for my herd of three horses.  In looking back, I led a very privileged life.  My son was born five years after we were married, in 1988, and I was smitten with my newborn.

Sadly, cracks in our marriage weres beginning to show.  Shortly before I got pregnant, W told me he didn't love me anymore.  I was devastated.  Now that I look in that rear-view mirror of life, I can see that we had grown apart.  I had become my mother-- willful, controlling and negative. Bottom line, I had become self-absorbed and I couldn't even see it.

My rear view mirror reveals to me that, at first, I loved all the freedom that W allowed me to have.  I finally realized that it was to W's benefit.  With my being busy with my own projects, he could spend all of his time in his race car fabrication business, while running another retail business.  I began to feel abandoned.  It became profoundly noticeable, to me, when W wasn't attentive to me during my pregnancy. I went to all of my doctor appointments alone. I went through labor alone.

During my pregnancy, my mother had become angry at me for something really stupid.  Therefore she didn't speak to me for the last three months of my pregnancy, and refused to come to my baby shower nor to the hospital while I was in labor or when my son was born. Consequently, I came home with a newborn and had nobody to help me learn how to care for my son. W took off to work on his race cars. My mother was nowhere to help. I do believe that it was at this point, that our marriage had taken a turn for the worse-- and so had my life.  This is when I began to throw my own pity party.

So, here I was with a young child.  I got to be a stay-at-home mom, thank goodness.  B became the center of my universe.  My horse shows came to an end. Some of my friends, who didn't have children, abandoned me-- or so I felt.  Maybe it was I who had abandoned them?  Who wants to hear me talk ad nauseum and child rearing?

By the time B was 2 years old, I'd grown a bit weary of watching Sesame Street and I felt my son was ready to have a social life.  W wanted me to go back to work. I found a woman who ran a private day care, and so I decided that I would work at W's retail store-- to help him out, so he could spend more time with the race cars.

A new chapter in my life was beginning-- and this one was huge.

Part 3 to come. I've written enough, for today.

Update on my son:
I don't make claims on my son's sobriety.  That is, I'd like to think he's clean.  All signs indicate that he is-- he has a hearty appetite. He's on suboxone, and that seems to be his key on staying clean. He's still working at the same job, and he loves it.  He struggles with finances, but that's mostly because he eeks by on working an average of 30 hours per week as a busser at a restaurant.  We continue to collect rent of $400.00 a month from him. That may sound steep to some of you, but it's less than the average $500-$600.00 he'd pay for just a room.  That rent provides him a room and board.  We continue to pay for his medical insurance and doctor visits, which exceeds the rent he pays.  His attitude remains very loving and respectful towards us.

He is, though, far from ready to fly from the nest. If we were to kick him to the curb, today, he'd be living in poverty.  Such is the dilemma for so many parents-- whether their kids are drug addicts or not.  Unemployment is still a major concern, and my son's work has called him "off" for the last two weeks.  The cost of living, in our part of California, is astronomical.   So, for now, I continue to ask my husband to let B stay-- as long as he continues to pay rent and sets aside savings-- and, of course, no drugs.

His drug friends, of the past, are out of his life.  He still doesn't go to meetings, and I've stopped suggesting it.  He's working his own program, and that is what I have to let him do.

Thank you, if you are still reading this.  Once I finish my story-- which will take 2-3 more installments, I hope that my purpose for doing so will make sense to any of you who are still following me.


Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story said...

I have had to turn on COMMENT MODERATION, because drug rehab centers are posting comments only to promote their business. I will monitor comments and approve any of those who are not posting to self-promote. Thank you!

Dad and Mom said...

Hello Debby,

I understand we are all a product of our experiences but I think too easily we put the blame on our child's addiction own our own parenting or lack thereof.

At some time our children make a choice to use and then that is when hell begins.

I do believe that our life experience helps in the way we deal with our heartache. Not to mean we do right or wrong but how we are able to accept and deal with the situation. I know people that of they get up in the morning and their tire is flat it seems as if it is the end of the world.

I know my son's addiction taught me a lot about myself, not that I would want to do this again or make a choice to follow that path but sometimes we have no choice we just have to play the cards that are dealt.

Anonymous said...

Thank your for sharing your story with me. I get alot out of reading your blog and share alot of your feelings. I have 1 son in active addiction and the other is on methadone at the moment, clean from heroin about 8 months now and living in a Halfway house. I do fear that methadone but he seems to have a plan. His counselor at the Hospital had been om methadone as she finished her bachelors and her masters decreasing each school break, as she lived in the Y becasue she was homeless. She is an inspiration to him. I to am a Christian and feel I could not get through this without GOD. Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

I began reading your blog about 2 years ago - during the height of my son's active addiction. While I never posted, I did find strength in your posts. Thank You! Currently, my son has been in a methadone clinic for the past year, still not quite ready to begin the weaning down process, but oh so much better! He's working, still living at home and has returned to regular church attendance and is beginning to make friends at church. He's still a seeker, but at least he's seeking God not heroin anymore. Keep blogging - you are helping people both with your past blogs and your current ones.

beachteacher said...

Interesting,....keep writing. : )

Hope said...

As I sit here tonight with a heavy heart-I'm so glad to hear that your son is doing well. It gives me hope that my son can make it one day also even though it does not seem like that at this moment. My prayer is for continued good things for your son. Thanks for sharing.

Colette said...


Thank you for sharing your story. I too have a son who is an opiate addict. His drug of choice is heroin...he had been seeming to get better...he had moved into my basement...but now he's left and is supposedly going to 'check himself into a hospital for help'. In that past month I have been dealing with his irrational behavior - hate, directed at me and I am heartbroken. He has been in trouble with the law and he refused to work any program. Until he decided to make himself 'homeless' - his girlfriend took him in on the condition he got help - ergo his current statement of going to the hospital.

I myself have been to support groups over the past two years of his ongoing addiction. No one else in the family will go to meetings (with the exception of my current husband) - my ex (my son's father) actually announced at a family meeting once that he'd smoke pot if he could (I still cannot believe he made it out of that meeting alive)....

I am going this week to get some much needed one-on-one therapy for myself. I too have a blog and have written about this off and on. I feel so heartbroken/broken and so frightened for my son - I can't sleep and his constant barrage of hateful text messages and refusing to allow me to love him is eating me up inside...

I wanted to thank you for being willing to share your story with others. I wish you and your loved ones peace, health, and happiness.