Saturday, January 12, 2013

Why can't we be the ones????

Oh gosh, I have so much I would like to talk about right now. Lots of little minutiae in my life that I want to think about and process here....I will need to make a list so I don't forget. Yes...I am getting to that stage! Scary.

I will start with a question I was asked through a private email from a reader here. It was in response to this post If I Could...

This reader, another sweet mama whom I have built an online friendship with, asked why it is considered "meddling" if a parent suggests any of the ideas that I listed to foster recovery in that post. Why is it ok to come from a rehab counselor or a dr. or anyone else, a stranger.....but if it comes from a parent, its considered enabling and meddling?

I am the first to admit that that post is filled with good ideas. LOL I think so many people in recovery would love to have those things available to them. The biggest issue that I see, is that how our loved ones recover is none of our business. It is not ours to fuss over and organize and get on track. As much as I would love for it to be my responsibility, because I am fairly certain that I could put together quite the loving, gentle, and healing atmosphere for one to be at peace in and begin to get healthy....its not my job. I wish so much that it was. But its not.

I think when we do step in and begin to make suggestions and make appointments for massages, and sign them up for art classes, and keep track of their meetings, and provide loving reminders (yes, its true I have done all of the above, and quite shamelessly I might add) .....we rob them of the dignity of doing it themselves. It becomes our "project" and not "their life choices." We rob them of the feelings of self worth and accomplishment and reliance on their own Higher Power, when we step in and do it for them, when we come up with a plan and encourage them to do it our way.

Not to mention that when I find myself in that place of thinking and planning my loved one's life, *I* am not in a healthy place for myself. I am so busy minding they're business, that I am not tending to my own stuff. When I am in that place, I am usually operating from a place of fear and I quickly digress to a whirlwind of obsessive thinking and behaviors.....not good for anyone, but especially me.

Recently we had a couple rough days here and the dad and I began to circle around our loved one, we began to ask questions, text repeatedly, remind her of the rules and the consequences. Quite articulately, our loved one said, "I feel like this is not mine anymore. I got this going, I sought this out, and you are taking it over." I happened to go to three meetings in a row where the topic was detachment, stepping back, waiting the 24 hours before making decision of action, the rights of the human person...even if they are an addicted human person....every human being has the right to make the decisions to build their life the way they want to. Its none of my business. When and if my loved one gets healthy, it won't be due to anything I have done. Certainly not any massages I paid for or art classes I signed her up for....although I do think those would make her feel good for a minute. I do....I can't help it.

So I would like to ask each of you who read here, what are your thoughts.....has it ever worked for you when you have attempted to take over and orchestrate your loved one's recovery? What was the end result? Why do you think it is either good or not good to try to create an atmosphere of recovery for our addicted loved one's?

Still praying.... that I CAN do.


Dad and Mom said...

I operate on the old saying: No good deed goes unpunished.

I learned after many years the more I help the longer it takes. My son can only do what he is capable of doing and I can't fix that either.

When I think about why is it a counselor, sponsor or someone else can say something that I can't I know it is because that is solicited advice. Our role in offering advice is the same as that counselor, when solicited it os OK, if they don't ask leave it alone.

If it is a gift, give it as a gift. Not as something tied to recovery. For instance, I got a massage and they had a special so I got you a massage too. Hope you enjoy it like I did. It's not about recovery, it is a gift because you love them. It's not REWARD for doing well or being in recovery.

SoberMomRocks said...

My humble two cents...

I believe that is the natural order for loved ones, in particular our children, to pull away and seek their own "separateness". When we reach in, meddle, make suggestions and generally try to take that away from them (regardless of the fact that we really do know best), the natural reaction is to pull away...hard...and usually in the opposite direction. It's just nature. It's just so freaking difficult to let go, for me anyway, of that which is the most precious to me.

I had a second point to make but now I can't remember what it was...probably should have written it down. Damn!

Hang tough my friend,

Syd said...

My trying to change my wife or orchestrate her recovery was disastrous. She was angry at me and rightfully so. I was trying to tell her what to do, point out how to solve her drinking problem when I didn't know anything about BEING an alcoholic. When I finally quit that and lost interest in telling her anything except goodbye, she got her stuff together and went to AA. People know what they need to do, but other people telling them to do it is not helping. Allow them the dignity to succeed or fail. Mind my own business and focus on living my life. All good things that I 've learned.

Signe said...

I had my own epiphany about this, this weekend. As with anything, if you give, and give and give people things, they lose or never gain, an appreciation of all the work that went into 'the final product', be it a house, food, clothes, recovery, so they don't 'own' it because they didn't have to experience the sweat and hard work that was involved in achieving it. For instance, it's easy for children to spend their parent's money because they don't understand how much work was done to earn the money. Once the child is old enough to get a job, and the price of a video game or pair of jeans gets caculated in dollars per hour that were worked, that game holds a higher value, and the child can begin to calculate the hard work that went into the purchace. Often, they rethink the purchase once they have to 'pay the price.' They have a new respect for the process. So, I think I'm getting it. Thanks for writing :)

Topper said...

Revisited this after post of your post of 1/15....meant to write sooner but we've been having a lot of drama. I struggle with how to interact with my child who. Is an addict....I like to share what I'm excited about, and be generous with "help", and part of my sad feelings about this disease is that I cannot allow myself to be that way with him. All good thoughts, thank you for sharing.

madyson007 said...


Cindy said...

I am in the process of learning to let go of my son's recovery. Thank you for this post today. I never thought about how when I try to "help" it takes the recovery away from him and also takes away from his dignity.

Hattie Heaton (Mom of an Addict) said...

I have spent the last four days in hell for trying to grab back onto control of my son and when I finally realized just how deep I had gotten myself in, it was actually a relief to just give it back up. I made amends, and asked God to show me what I needed to do. As long as we recognize what we are doing...FEAR is the devil in disguise...just sayin