Stop Trying So Hard






I was struck by these words; “Stop Trying So Hard” written my Melody Beattie in her book; ‘The Language of Letting Godaily meditations.  She states in her writing for July 24th;

Stop trying so hard to make it happen….  Stop trying to force, to manipulate, to coerce, or to make it happen.  Making things happen is controlling….Put as much energy into letting go as you have into trying to control. You’ll get much better results.”

I don’t know about you, but as the parent of an addict I was really good at “trying” hard.  I became accomplished first in “trying” to deny that there was even a problem and then “tried” even harder to not accept that the problem was serious.  Then once I got hit with the reality of how serious the problem was, I “tried” really hard and again became very accomplished at “trying” to FIX the problem.

It all became way too trying

Now I work on “trying” to let go.  Some days are easier than others.  It’s on those days I feel as those I’ve mastered cutting the cord and have become accomplished at letting go, then other days I’m “trying” really hard to reel that cord back in and I have to remind myself to just LET GO!!

Melody Beattie ends the July 24th meditation with…

“Learn to let things happen because that’s what they’ll do anyway.”

I will be letting go of trying so hard, and just let it be…

Before Addiction






We just got back from a much needed vacation, a vacation that took us to our Happy Place, the State of Maine.  We have vacationed there now for 9 consecutive years.  This year would be a bit different.  We wouldn’t be going with our family, but with a group of friends we go camping with, and we would be going to a place I hadn’t been since 1997.  Long before addiction.

Memorial Day weekend 1997 and the place was Bar Harbor Maine, my older children were then 16, 14 and 10.  This was way before addiction struck our family.  When he was still young, silly and loved being a kid.  We took in all the sites, drove the loop of Acadia National Park, and stopped at all the tourist spots.  Ran around the top of Cadillac Mountain, walked Downtown Bar Harbor, visited the shops.

Fast forwarded 15 years, and there we are, my man, my little man (nearly 10 himself) myself (and 14 of our friends) doing the very same thing.  We drove the loop, ran around the top of Cadillac Mountain…

I was doing just fine.  This was a NEW experience.

Until we hit Sand Beach.

For those of you who have yet to visit Acadia National Park, Sand Beach (the picture in this post) is not like any other beach.  It’s a beach where the Mountain’s covered in Christmas trees meet the Ocean.  (I think the only other place you can find this in the states would be the State of Washington).  It was nearly 90 degrees last Saturday and as we walked toward the water, just as we got past the large rocks you could feel the temperature drop 20 maybe even 25 degrees.  And as the water rushed over my feet I had to jump back.  It was freezing cold.  (I’ve been told the ocean water there never gets over 55 degrees).

It was then that I saw it; it brought back those memories, of a time and a place when my son was free and far from the grip of addiction.

Coming up out of the sand are little springs, that as the water hits the sand it branches off into little streams that carry the water to the ocean.  It was there in those streams that my son played for hours that Memorial Day weekend some 15 years ago.  He made trenches for the streams, and dug deeper into the spring and made the water flow faster.  As I gazed at those springs, I felt my throat tighten, and out of nowhere I began to sob.

I wanted so badly to hold onto that time in my heart and mind, that time before addiction.  Those memories are still there, sweet, innocent and part of our history.  And they are part of his as well.  One day… yes one day when he is long down the road of Recovery they will be again a part of him.  When the addiction fog has lifted, and his brain has had time to heal that young man who dug trenches at Sand Beach will reemerge as a strong man, with a new normal.  A life affected by addiction, yet with a new path to take.

I will  hold onto those sweet times before addiction, yet know after can and will be just as sweet one day.


The Right Tools

Many years ago as a new wife and stay at home mom there would be occasions to have to fix things.  The only tool I had to fix anything, was a butter knife.  And for years it was perfectly suitable.  With that butter knife I could screw in electrical wall plates, install phones (yes install them, connect wires literally.) Tighten loose screws on toys, clean out those dark corners where the cabinets meet the tile, and lots of others things.  It wasn’t by any means the Right Tool to do any of those jobs, but it was what I had at the time.

I guess we can approach life that way too, using “butter knifes” to fix things.  Believing that just because it’s the only tool we have, it’s the best we have and we don’t need anything else or even worse yet know that anything else even exists outside our butter knife.

SO what do those butter knives look like in our lives;

  • Denial
  • Manipulation
  • Control
  • Enabling
  • Walls (with no doors)
  • Drugs/Alcohol
  • Isolation

All of these things can accomplish something.  They can keep the pain at bay, hide the dysfunction, help us stand but never really covering any ground.

Kind of like a butter knife, they will work for a time.

Over time I ruined A LOT of butter knifes using them as screwdrivers.  I would ruin the tip, bend them awkwardly and eventually have to throw them away as they became dangerous to keep.

And one day…

I guess you could say the light dawned on my marble head…

I asked my husband if I could have my own tool box.  With the right tools there was so much more I could accomplish.

Being the parent of an addict, I could keep trying to use a butter knife to make my way down my own recovery road but I won’t get very far.  If you’re new to this road realize there are TOOLS to do this.  You don’t have to use a butter knife when there are real screwdrivers available. Or a steak knife when what you need is a pipe cutter.  Or the butt end of the butter knife when what you need is a hammer.  You get what I’m saying.

So what are the right tools:

Don’t settle for Butter Knifes, when the Best tools for the job are available.

Dysfunction Runs Deep

The healthier I have gotten in the last 3 years, the more dysfunction I see around me.  I have a feeling I’m not alone in this.  I’m sure most of you reading this post could say the same thing of your own journeys in recovery, whether you are the family member of an addict or a recovering addict.

Nearly 14 years ago I worked through a 12 Step program called Making Peace with your Past”, it was a key turning point for me in working through some of the “family” issues I grew up in.  But it took my son being an addict for me to take the tools I originally learned in that process and begin to use them.

My family of origin is dysfunctional… there I said it. We were a mess, and for the most part we still are.  I could take up MUCH space here listing it out for you. Because of the highly dysfunctional atmosphere there have been MANY fights over the years, which usually results in members of the family not speaking to each other. I have found myself on both sides and square in the middle of it all.

As I stated above it is impart due to my son’s addiction that I can now see more clearly the dysfunction around me and am no longer afraid to use the tools I have been afforded to SET BOUNDARIES where they need to be set.  I have learned to make “I” statements in situations where I feel I need to clarify my hurt and pain, these “I” statements are not welcomed in the DYSFUCNTIONAL world.  Those trapped in dysfunction will take such statements (long applauded by those in the recovery world) and turn them against you, and will in fact beat you with them.

So what’s a woman steeped in recovery tools to do…

We set firmer boundaries.  I’ve gotten pretty good setting them with my addicted son (who by the way at this writing is doing great today!) and now I have to set them with my family of origin.  I’ve not wanted to close the gate on my family, they are my family… but if I will not support my son when his behavior is out of control, I will not support or engage with other family members for the same reason.

DYSFUCTION runs deep in families, and I’m using my tools to paddle against the tide…

From a Distance

Choosing to love and support your addict’s Recovery from a distance is a difficult step to take, but today and for the last 12 today’s it has been a step worth taking.  I had to tell my son that he was no longer welcome in our home, that before he could come back for a visit of any kind he would need 6 months of sobriety.  And that I would only be encouraging him from a distance.

First and foremost it has removed another level of chaos from my life, as well as from the lives of my man and my little man.  Peace and (relative) consistency has once again settled over our household.

I have had to practice putting my fears and pain into the Hands of my God.  He knows what my son needs more than I do, loves him even more than I do and I already see Him providing.  My son hasn’t gone hungry, nor has he had to sleep on a park bench.  He has reportedly stayed clean and is even working.

In a brief conversation with him yesterday he said to me…

“Mom I am truly loving being sober, I had the urge to use the other day and instead of running around trying to find drugs… I let the urge pass; praying for God to take it from me” 

I was thrilled for him, that he used a Tool he’s long had in his arsenal and found that it worked.

Small victories…

My son has been on his prodigal journey for quite some time, he has eaten at the pig trough, been without for along time and he is just now beginning to hear that small voice inside him telling him its time…    

Time to make the long journey home.

Below is an excerpt from a Blog Post I read this morning titled “So you love an Addict”  I share because it touched my heart and spoke into where we are at today…


God places the seed of revival in the mind of the prodi­gal and it says “when he came to himself”….that defin­ing moment of every addict…that moment of hon­esty and hope….that only God can place there.

Lu 15:17 But when he came to him­self he said, How many hired ser­vants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I per­ish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight:

He said  “I will arise” …“I will go home”…”I will say

….and then begins the jour­ney to his real Father who is already run­ning to meet him.

You see that moment,  must be his choice and God uses the cir­cum­stances and his Spirit to get there…..Do not inter­fere and don’t you try to fetch him and make him arise…

He had to hun­gry first…he had to be with the pigs in a for­eign coun­try and dri­ven by the need for bet­ter food before he came home…and there the spir­i­tual heal­ing starts.

So I wait like the Father of the Prodigal for  my son to head the call to come home.

(and let me state, this is not a physical return to my home, but a spiritual return to His Father…)