Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Addiction and Fear....Such Close Friends

I remember living in those awful places of fear for my addicted daughter. I would walk around constantly with my phone in my hand. If I texted or called and she didn't answer right away, I would do it again and again and again and again, with each message becoming more and more frantic. Overnight I had become one of those lunatic phone stalkers! 30 messages saying things like, "Where are you?! Call me! If you don't call soon I'm sending the police over to do a welfare check (it had been 20 minutes after all!) I am so mad at you right now!!"

Recently "my girl" told me of a friend who does this to her. This is a peer, someone she met during one of her times in treatment. I asked if she mentioned that her mom goes to a program that helped her to not live in that crazy place anymore? She laughed. Fear and addiction seem to walk together hand in hand. For many of us. If a call isn't returned we immediately jump to, "They're dead! They're in jail, they're passed out and need emergency help, they're mad at us, they're ignoring us....on and on the imagined scenarios can go."

The truth of the matter is that MY fear issues began long before "my girl" was even a thought. As a little girl I learned very early on that when the liquor was flowing, when the voices were getting louder, trouble was usually right around the corner. I learned how to gauge moods, the feel of a room, an expression on an adult's face... and depending on what I saw or felt, the fear would rise up and choke me. And I would act accordingly. Even as a little girl I instinctively reacted to my fear by trying to control my environment. I was very good at it actually and for many years felt that my abilities to handle a crisis or a high emotion situation by controlling my environment and the people it was filled with, was something to be proud of!

Little did I know that eventually the very skills I had used to cope and navigate my whole life, would be stripped from me and I would be asked to let go and to trust and hope for an unknown future that would unfold before me in bits and pieces and that when I could stand aside and let it happen, the pieces would fit together as they were meant to, like the pieces of a puzzle and I would be ok. I would be more than ok. I would be at peace. I would feel safe, knowing that whatever the future held, or holds, for "my girl," or anyone else that I love and care for, including myself, it's out of my control. There is something very liberating in the idea of something being out of my control and *accepting* that as factual. Its settled. I can't change other people. I can't change future outcomes.

Once I came to a place, through years of fighting the process I might add, of accepting what is, I found calm, peace, and most of all I am not afraid anymore. I am not angry anymore. It is nothing short of a miracle, because I didn't see my life ever being rid of the turmoil of those emotions. Ever. No matter how hard I tried.

Don't let me mislead you.....I still have "fear triggers," but they are fewer and farther between than at any other time in my life. I have learned to *live* in a place of acceptance and gentleness with myself and others that helps me to live in the moment. These changes are gifts. They are not due to anything good in me. I didn't work my program good enough or hard enough. God just walked with me until I felt safe enough and strong enough to turn my cares over to Him and let Him handle them.

I was with *my girl* today driving around down in the city....we stopped at the methadone clinic for her dose, we got lunch, she was directing me from the map app on her phone and we were discussing how the directions made no sense but then we figured it out, and it occurred to me that this was just a normal mother/daughter day. (Ok, all except the methadone clinic visit! LOL) Her sobriety isn't perfect. Neither is mine from eating carbs and sugar. We take each other as we come and we keep moving forward.

Letting go of her gave her back to me in some very real and authentic ways. She isn't who I thought she would be. In some ways she is so much more. In other ways it is very painful to watch her fight her battles. But its what we have together for today. It all is a beautiful work of art that is being created and perfected with each day that we continue to walk it out, trusting that something bigger than us is in charge.

I'm always praying for us all......I know that some of my parent readers here have situations that are very volatile and letting go means no contact for a time. I have been there too. All I can tell you is that when I got out of the way of my daughter's process, things got better for me.

Love and prayers....


Gloria said...

Annette, your story is giving me hope for my 23 year old homeless son.
I believe God has a plan that I cannot control. With this said, I somehow cannot let go. He is my son. I gave birth to him Nd letting go has been very difficult. I pray for courage to detach and let God do his work.
Thank you for sharing! So happy for your daughters recovery! Wishing you all the best!

Annette said...

Oh Gloria, I wouldn't say she's exactly in recovery. Things are better but not there yet.

Liz said...

Thank you Annette for this beautiful reminder..

Cindy M said...

Thank you my dear friend Annette. Your words always ring true in my spirit. We are all living the same life, only with different names and faces. My prayers are with us all as we walk this path with faith in our Father to help us take each step. Much love!

SoberMomWrites said...

This is just so beautiful and poignant and real.

That's all.


Anonymous said...

My son is eight hundred miles away and rarely answers our calls when he gets them. This used to drive me crazy and I would start imagining all the reasons why he wasnt picking up. Now I just leave him a message. And most times, he does get back to me, usually with a text. But at least I know he is still alive. Prayers for all of us POA's and our children.


amy said...

It's all like that isn't it- as soon as I surrender things seem to untangle. much love! xxxooo

Hattie Heaton said...


I loved this post. I like the part where you felt like you were in the dark with the traveling directions. Isn't that just a metaphor for our journey as well. It is a faith journey for sure. My son is detoxing alcohol as we speak and I am working hard at losing expectation. I am a mess, after all. Glad you and H are having time together.

Mary Christine said...

I'm glad you got to spend a "normal" day with your daughter. I had to learn to appreciate them and not look too deeply into what wasn't perfect about it. I still do. My girl is in recovery, but like me, still has plenty of "issues."