Restoration part 2 – After the Tin Snips


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Definition of Rust: Rust occurs when iron or an alloy that contains iron, like steel, is exposed to oxygen and moisture for a long period of time. Given sufficient time, oxygen, and water, any iron mass will eventually convert entirely to rust and disintegrate. Surface rust is flaky and friable, and provides no protection to the underlying iron.

My last post left me surmising the pile of rust that lay before me.  After cutting it all away, what was left of the relationship barely resembled a skeleton.  I’m pretty sure even the skeleton was missing a leg, maybe even part of hand.  It had taken me much too long to understand the depth of my son’s illness, and the extent of its harm on our family.  

It took an event, like such had never happened before in my presence to see the true condition for myself.  It (the event) was a magnifying glass through which I had no other option but to see completely through the eyes of the other members of the family.  As this event unfolded, and the true condition of my son’s heart, soul and mind were lay before me ALL of my motherly hopes fell to the ground.  I had no other option but to cut away all that was corrosive for no other reason but in hopes of one day a true restoration process might begin.

For the first time in nearly 9 years, I completely shut my son out of my life.  I did not answer his calls, his texts.  After several attempts on his part to reach me, he stopped trying.  He knew I would not and could not respond.  I knew he was living in a car in the snow and yet I knew I would do nothing about it.

 I let the rust sit.

His girlfriend’s mother tried reaching me to DO SOMETHING THEY ARE SLEEPING IN THE CAR IN THE SNOW…  I could only respond with… He knows where the shelters are, if he is choosing to sleep in the car that is on them…

I let the rust sit.

He tried to pull me into his drama while he lay in a hospital bed supposedly sick.  I didn’t respond.

I let the rust sit.

It would take me 4 months to begin to allow myself to respond.  During those 4 months I went over and would look at the rust pile, see what was there.  Poke at it some to see if truly had no life left in it… and try to process in my heart why I had been so blind to its full existence.  It took me that long to begin to trust my own heart to relate to him based on the truth of his condition and the truth of my past response. 

Oh, I had long put enabling away… but there were still those Rose colored glasses that I preferred to look through, when what I needed was that Magnifying glass that exposed the truth.   I had to throw those on that pile of rust too.

I couldn’t begin a real restoration until I had  taken a complete inventory of what I had to work with.  This would be NO PATCH UP… this would require getting down to the bare bones, and probably even replacing some of the bones. 

Come back for more of the process…

 

 

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Restoration


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The Definition: “Something that has been brought back to an earlier and usually better condition”.

The Process… A LOT of hard work!

We had many such projects in our yard and garage.  My first husband loved the idea of restoring old cars.  He nearly had an old ’68 Mail Jeep restored, and just before we divorced he had a ‘72 Charger started.

Restoring an old car takes a lot of work, (which he never finished… but that’s another story).  Once the car would come home, the first tool he would use on it was a pair of tin snips, cutting away the worst of the rust spots.  Then he’d have to cut new metal to attach in the really bad spots.  Then the application of ‘bondo’ and then ALL that SANDING!!!!  And that was just to make the outside look like new; the inside was where a lot of the expense came.  Adding new carpet, re-upholstering the seats, gathering all the missing or needing to be replaced nobs, handles, etc., all the while tinkering with, cleaning up or just plain having to replace the motor.

Relationships that need to be restored take just as much care and time.  Matter of fact they will take even more time when the relationship has been broken down because of Addiction.

It has been nearly 6 months since I asked my addict to leave my home after a good stretch of sober living.  This has been an extremely long time of ‘relationship at a distance’.  I have found it hard to even begin the restoration process this time.  (We’ve been down this road a number of times).  I knew the process… I had no problem taking the “tin snips to the rust and cutting it out”…

But I stopped there…

Cutting out what was bad was necessary.  But this time there was so much of it, the rest of the process seemed too overwhelming to even begin.  I couldn’t get past the pile of rust and brokenness that lay before me.  So MUCH had accumulated over the last 9 years.  All the other times I had attempted the restoration process, I short cut it.  I tried to hide just how much real rust should have been cut out. I barely sanded before trying to put a paint job on the outside.  Making it look good from a distance, but eventually… ALL that needed to be cut away and hadn’t been became painfully obvious!

So I cut… and I cut… and cut some more.  Till there was more gone, than left standing.   I was exhausted.  And I walked away for what seemed like a long time…

Come back next week for more on the process.

Are We There Yet?


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Not a summer’s vacation can go by without hearing this phrase sung out from the backseat of every car headed out for a day at the beach or amusement park …

”are we there yet!!!????”  

I myself will often say this just as we are pulling out of the drive as we head off for our summer adventures.   To which my man will respond “yup, we’re there”.   We haven’t left the drive yet, but we are still there… we are always somewhere that is called “there”.

In my ‘momma’s heart’ I keep hearing myself say “are we there yet” in regards to my son’s recovery.  Has he gotten to the place I have been looking forward to him getting to?  Has he gotten on the other side of this thing called addiction?  To a place where he can live each day to its fullest without the need/desire to get high?

I see him nearly every morning, as I drive him to work.  His place of employment is just a few miles from where I work and it’s basically on the way.  Our daily commute has helped mend some of the broken places between us.  It has also given me a glimpse into how far he’s come down the road.  

Is he “there yet”… no, not really.  He’s still taking Suboxone daily to keep from using.  He’s still living in a rented room at a family friend’s house.  He’s still trying to come out from under all that got plowed under the rug.  But I have to keep telling myself, just as my man reminds me as we pull out the drive and I’m anxious to get to our adventure.., “he’s there”… he’s right there at the beginning of the new road.  Still taking another step in the right direction and for now that is his “there”. 

“Always live in the day”  a good friend of mine over at Addiction Journal has taught me. To see today’s joys, today’s moments of being “there” as the gift.  My son is in his spot of “being there”… and I will hold onto that! 

Time


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“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” ~ Rose Kennedy

When we are deeply wounded by the addicts in our life, time is what is needed.  Most of us in the beginning stages of the disease rush in to help our addicts.  We don’t take the time to process through the pain that has been inflicted on us or our household.  We get caught up in the madness of trying to “fix them”.  Looking in every direction possible for the cure or just the right place to send them that will be the “answer” to it all.

Keeping my son at arm’s length these last four months has given me time.  Time I haven’t really taken before.  Time, which has somehow allowed the scar tissue to cover over some of the deepest of wounds.  Time, that has revealed to me just how deeply wounded I have been.

  Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.
~ Max Frisch

Time has also been changing  my son.  Keeping that distance has caused him to look deep into his own life.  Time is what will carry him from where he was to where he needs to be.  By my not rushing in to save him, time has been unfolding in him those things that need to be revealed.  Things that only time can show.

Time is the longest distance between two places. ~  Tennessee Williams

I have watched from a distance my son begin to figure his life out.  From living in a car, to renting a room.  To focusing on self, to helping others.  From temporary work that pays very little to finding a full time decent paying job, and beginning to realize he needs to find ways to give back and to pay back. 

Time is the wisest counselor of all. ~  Pericles

No matter where you are in the cycle of addiction, if you’ve just found out your loved one is addicted, or if like me your years into this… take the time needed to heal, and while you are… time may just be doing a mighty work on your addict.

 

The Practice of Saying No…


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There is something very freeing about saying “No”.  There have been countless times I have given into my addicts requests.  Handed over money, taken him to court, driven him all over creation, bought him countless articles of clothing, sneakers etc. etc. etc.  I have cleaned up many of his financial messes, paid his fines, fees and bills.

To the New Parents to this mess of addiction… I’ve done it all.  I’ve enabled and taken care of my adult child.  But a time finally arrived (and it will for you too) when enough was enough.  When I opened my eyes to what enabling was, stared at it in the mirror and said… No more!

That was nearly 3 years ago.  And just like anything else we undertake it takes practice.  Saying NO isn’t always easy, but it will become easier every time you say it.  There have been times over the last three years that I have caved in and said yes, thinking it was the right thing to do.  Sometimes it was, and it helped my son take a few steps forward.  But more times than not, its wasn’t the right thing to do for him, or for me.

That’s why the title to this is “The Practice of saying No”… and Not “ I’ve got this saying ‘NO’ thing down pat”.   Never mind there are times that saying YES is the right thing to do.  Keeping myself in-check is what is important.  Knowing in my heart what enabling is and being willing to process the request  before I say either yes or NO is what is important.  Being the parent of an addict isn’t easy.  A parent will always struggle with wanting to rescue their child.  But once we start practicing saying No, and begin to see the fruit of it we will be able to say it more and more.

Don’t be afraid to practice saying No!

Whatever It Takes.


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For months I have prayed the words.  “Lord whatever it takes to turn my son’s life around”.   My personal version of the well-known verse from the Lord’s Prayer ‘Thy will be done”.  I have battled with my momma’s heart hoping, wanting to be part of the healing process, and vowing to stand alongside him to help show him the way.

All of which failed miserably.

God has clearly shown me I WON’T be the one or even one of the one’s who will help him.  I was perfectly ok with that abstractly.  It is my desire to see him living a sober life, moving forward, taking another good step each day, submitting his heart and life to God.  I say those things to myself, to him, and others all the time.

I will have to admit this morning when I saw his post on social media thanking another person, another “mother figure” in his life for guiding him, standing with him… all the things I vowed I would do as long as he stayed clean… it STUNG.  (Confession is good for the soul… and I am confessing).

And moments later I heard that still small voice in my heart say… “Whatever it takes… I AM using the WHATEVER… so Stand aside and let me.”

Standing Aside…and letting go


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I’ve written about Tough Love, and Loving from a Distance.  These are hard concepts to wrap one’s parental heart around.  I recently read the above words;  “Standing Aside” in a friends status update on Facebook.  These words are a gentler way of saying Tough Love.

I honestly think that most parents of addicts berate the idea of Tough Love because of the very word TOUGH.  We think with our hearts instead of our heads and conjure up all kinds of reasons not to use it.  We are afraid that if we do act toughly they may end up worse off than they are right now.  We reason with ourselves that if we keep them at home we will know they are fed, warm, clothed etc.

This August it will be 3 years ago that my son was; fed, clothed, warm and laying on his bedroom floor of an overdose; unresponsive.  Thankfully the person with him knew CPR and to call 911, Narcan was administered and he was transported to a Hospital.  Where he then refused treatment.  And I then refused to let him live in my home.

For a short span of time he came home this past August.  It went relatively well for a time.  But now I am Standing Aside… Letting the natural consequences of the choices he has made happen.  These will either strengthen him and lead him to place of growth, sobriety and freedom.  Or they will send him backward.  But either way I am Standing Aside, Letting Go, and truly Letting God.

Letting Go – Author Unknown

To “let go” does not mean to stop caring, 
it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To “let go” is not to cut myself off,
it’s the realization I can’t control another.

To “let go” is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To “let go” is to admit powerlessness, 
which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To “let go” is not to try to change or blame another,
it’s to make the most of myself.

To “let go” is not to care for, but care about.

To “let go” is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To “let go” is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To “let go” is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, 
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To “let go” is not to be protective,
it’s to permit another to face reality.

To “let go” is not to deny, but to accept.

To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires
but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in it.

To “let go” is not to regret the past, 
but to grow and live for the future.

To “let go” is to fear less and love more…”author unknown”