Sunday, May 5, 2013

More on our own realities.....

Let me start by saying that any family that is hit by a chronic illness, will be forced to dig in and find solace, peace, strength, faith and stamina that they didn't even know were a possibility.  Whether it be a mental illness, an addiction, or any of the other forms of physical or neurological illnesses that are a possibility in this life, especially if it hits one of their children, they will struggle with emotional pain, discouragement, fear, and any of the other myriad of feelings that we all have felt at one time or another. We are not any different from any other heart broken parent with a sick kid. Well wait...the one difference is that mental illness and addiction carry a stigma with them....but pain is pain when your kid is sick.

I got some really heartfelt responses to my last post....and no one made me feel bad. :o) And yes, I get tired of "watching" them struggle too. My point was more that not all addicts have a life to go back to. Especially if they have been using for a long time and/or started really young. That is my reality. That is my girl's reality. I have heard her say that at this point, staying off the drugs isn't even the biggest issue (then why don't you...is my question.) Rather, facing the world and building a life is what is the most terrifying aspect of progressing past where she has been stuck for the past however many years.When I hear other parents talk about their adult kids returning back to their jobs, or the parents making "the difficult decision to not continue to finance school due to the child's addiction," or the kid returning to school to finish getting their degree....that is a very different world than the one I live in right now. I used to think that maybe I was over reacting. I felt crazy and terrified....and I would tell myself I was being ridiculous. I look back though, I think about our experiences and I see where we have arrived and I see that I was not in any way over reacting.

I don't feel like I am suffering though. At least not anymore. I have rough days here and there, but my life is not dominated by what my girl is doing anymore. It is her life to live as she chooses. I believe she is doing the best she can right now. She is still at home and I feel that for us at this time, that is the right decision. I went through the whole "kick them out" period. Sometimes that is the appropriate choice, the only choice...and we may find our selves there again at some point. But for today I think we are making the right choices for our family.

I do completely agree 100% that there has to be no drug use to be able to remediate the mental health issues. That is a scientific fact. Is it possible....I think so. I pray so.

I am chairing a meeting soon and I have been thinking about what I want to talk about....I decided that I was going to focus on "Easy Does It." I was thinking of the times I have forced solutions, insisted on everyone doing things my way and was thinking about my motivation. It looked noble and loving, I was so concerned for my sick child. However, if I really get honest....it was also very much about my own comfort. I was terrified and wanted the behavior that was terrifying me....to STOP. Alanon taught me to slow down, how to stop and sit with my fear, my obsessing, my millions of ideas....and be honest about them, work through them without trying to stop the feelings. To accept that I was fearful, I was angry, I was trying to problem solve somebody else's problems.....whatever it was that I was doing or feeling, and that it was ok to not know what to do next. It was ok to be afraid, to not do it all perfectly. What solutions were available to me? I could let go and hand it over to God, I could call a friend, I could journal, and if I really needed to, I could jump in and rescue.

Does rescuing get in the way of our kids recovery? Yes. Are we prolonging them "hitting their bottom?" Possibly. What if they die while we are waiting for them to hit their bottom? Then the show is over. I have learned that I have to make decisions that I can live with. There is no perfect way to navigate these stormy waters. All we can do is the best we know how to do at any given moment....and there is no guilt or shame in that. I believe that God is bigger than me and any sort of interfering I can think up. I believe there are ways that we can reach out that are not the equivalent of enabling or co-dependence or interfering. Detachment does not equal abandonment. Detachment for me isn't about no contact. Its about having firm boundaries. Its about offering what I am comfortable offering, and being able to say "no" if I am not comfortable. Its about keeping my own side of the street clean and giving her room to keep hers clean....or not, without comment from me. Its about making good choices that work for myself and the rest of the family....decisions that are not made because I am afraid and trying to avert disaster, but because I have thought through what I can live with at that particular moment.

My reality today is that this is more than likely going to be a long term deal. It already has been, but I don't see a miraculous cure in our near future. Will our daughter do it perfectly? No. Will we? No. But we all will be doing the best we can at any given moment, and I am ok with that.

Annette


7 comments:

Addiction--Mom trying to Detach with Love said...

Good for you Annette! Thank God for Alanon...xx
Renee

Julie said...

Annette it was nice to read your post today regarding the stigma of having a child that is addicted with related mental health issues. If my son had heart disease or cancer there is support out there in the community but for the parents of a loved child who has become an addict there is very little sympathy or support. I also cannot do the tough love and toss him out to reach his bottom. I believe we have kept him alive by allowing him to stay with us and the longer I can keep him alive, There is hope he will get himself clean. I don't care if he ever goes to university or gets qualifications or whatever, I will be happy for him just to be clean and have the chance of knowing a real life at long last. Just to do normal things and learn to live in the world and see how beautiful life can be, something he has not experienced since he was 15 years old. My son is similar to your daughter and scared of the enormous task of building a life from scratch, it terrifies him of how he will cope. He struggles daily Just for him to get out of bed, shower and face the world is an enormous task. You wrote so well of your feelings and i too am content with my choices and I try to live my life as happily as I can even if not perfectly. You just have to get on with life and not let it stop us living or feel guilty. Stay strong and keep on being the gorgeous inspirational honest lady that you are!!

Signe said...

"God is bigger than me and any sort of interfering I can think up." This is an important statement, I think. It guards against fear and, I believe, once we get past that initial crazy thinking, allows us to see how dispite all of our attempts that work and don't, He is there protecting. Even though we are all experiencing similar senerios and we can all understand, we are all in individual struggles and those individual struggles have individiual decisions. You are so right, "There is no perfect way to navigate these stormy waters." We are all doing the best we know how. I'm praying you see a miracle, today.

Mary Christine said...

It sounds like you have found your own path. I say Follow Your Heart. I so regret things I did with my kids when I thought I was detaching or some such thing. There is no magical thing we can do that will alter their path to recovery or not.

Sheri said...

Your post as always was wonderful. It made me think about the paralells between how I reacted to my daughter's Type I Diabetes and my reaction to my son's addiction. It was exactly the same! I wanted to fix both of them. I dove in with all I had to do just that .
In both cases, I finally realized that the 3 C's were true in not only my son's case but my daughters as well. I didnt cause it, I cant cure it and I certainly cant control it. As my daughter grew older, it was up to her to manage her disease. No one else can do it for her. It's the same with my son.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your posts. I often feel so confused, afraid that all I am learning isnt helping me understand myself any better. I live alone now and my self talk seems louder now. Waves of thoughts come and go, words Ive heard spoken at meetings, things Ive read in the literature, conversations Ive had with my loved one in the past being rewritten, rehearsed, and respoken over and over. Its hard sometimes to think I am making any progress. Then I read your words and feel a calm come over me. Our stories are so different, but the emotional and spiritual journey we are traveling seem so alike it helps me feel a part of something important. That love is important to everyone and whatever I can give to another human being will somehow make its way back to me. Give and receive love, thats what life is all about. Thank you for giving by opening your heart this way. You have helped me find some peace. Thanks for letting me share.
Patty

Syd said...

Good words that you wrote about doing the best that we can. No one is perfect. We have assets and shortcomings. When I realize that I need to take my own inventory, I am heading in the right direction. Your daughter is struggling with a lot of things. She knows that you love her. And she has her own HP.