“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…


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.


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


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”

It’s His Road Now


Last night I had the privilege to speak to the officer who arrested my son at my home over a month ago.  He happens to be a very lovely and kind spirited man.  As we spoke I thanked him for how he handled my son and the whole incident.

He said to me:

“You have a long road ahead of you with that one”

To which I replied

“Ah but it’s his road now”.

The beginnings of that road he found himself on over a month ago were pretty difficult.  And I assure you, it was hard for me too, while a snow storm that packed 22 inches of snow on my front lawn was falling on him as he slept in a car.  It’s not a road I chose for him, not a road I wanted him to have to endure or the road I thought he’d have to go down yet again.  But on it he found himself.

Since that time, he has found a room to rent, taking steps every day to stay clean, is applying for jobs and caring for himself and the girl he loves.  The road is a little less treacherous; the wintery weather is all but over, he has a bed to sleep in once again and three meals a day.

He though, is completely in charge of the road before him.  He will choose his destination, draw the map to get there and find the strength to pursue it.    No matter which direction he goes in; back down the road of drug abuse, rehabs and jails, or down a new road, one that will lead him to a healthy joy-filled life.

Either way…

It’s his road now.

The Life of a Nomad


From Wikipedia:

“A Nomad is a person who moves from place to place as a way of obtaining food”

“The word nomad comes from a Greek word that means one who wanders”

My addicted son is a Nomad.  He has no true place to call home anymore.   For nearly two years he found shelter in many places;

baseball dugouts

abandoned houses

makeshift tents in the woods

parking garages

occasional couches in other addicts homes

rehab surfing

and the like.

For almost 6 months he had a stable environment, he lived back at home, warm home, with three meals a day, a hot shower, laundry and plenty of company.  For two of those months he even had the pleasure of a new bed.

Yet his addiction and his old behaviors have yet to take the high road, so he lives once again as a Nomad.  This time he’s spent the last few weeks living in a car with a short reprieve of rehab surfing, and coming to rest in another person’s home.

Will this Nomad of mine finally trade his wandering in and begin a new life?  He says he’s ready… Only time will tell.

And Then it Snows…


Just two weeks ago I had to have my son removed from our home.  Since then he has been living in his girlfriend’s car.  They did find their way into a Rehab last week, only to be released into the New England Snow storm last night.

It took every ounce of energy I had to NOT say… “just come home”.  One side of my mother’s heart belongs to my little man, and is determined to protect him from the insanity that has happened in our home.  The other side… wants to do the same for his older brother.  No parent wants to see their (adult) child homeless and living in a car during a snow storm none the less.  But I knew if I let them in last night it would only be a matter of time before it all started again.

It is my prayer that this will push them forward to change.  That hardship will make them look at the choices they are making with a new set of eyes.  All the while my eyes are leaking…

Being the mother (or father)of an addict is hard stuff… especially when they are homeless and it snows.

What I DID and DIDN’T DO

What I did
I did teach you to walk ~ But I didn’t teach you to walk all over others

I did teach you to eat with a spoon ~ But I didn’t teach you to use one to cook heroin

I did teach you how to dress yourself ~ But I didn’t teach you to dress to cover your track marks

I did teach you how to tie your shoe-laces ~ But I didn’t teach you how to use them as a tool in shooting up

I did teach you to stretch your muscles ~ But I didn’t teach you to use them to bully or intimidate

I did teach you how to ride a bike ~ But I didn’t teach you that one day it would be all that you have

I did teach you how to manipulate numbers, to add and subtract ~ But I didn’t teach you how manipulate others.

I did teach you that love is a gift ~ But I didn’t teach you to use it as a weapon to get what you want

I did teach you that the door is always open ~ But I didn’t teach you that one day we might have to shut it.

I did what all parents do… but I have to do what no parent wants to do.

Teach you that I have to shut the door.

KNOW your Addict

ImageNo two addicts are the same.  Each has their own history, with their own moment when drugs changed their life forever.  We cannot lump them all together thinking they are all the same.  Though their stories will have similarities, the bottom line of their addiction is uniquely their own.

While one may find themselves addicted after a painful and difficult recovery from major surgery, another will have suffered from years of undiagnosed mental illness and has self-medicated to relieve the internal pain.  Yet another may have innocently partied their way into addiction.  Never mind those who look to drugs to cover the pain and shame of abuses off all kinds, or a loss that they just can’t seem to recover from. 

Each of our addicts are different and we need to understand that detoxing and staying clean of drug use for a period of time will never give any of them the life of true freedom they need to remain so, until they do the hard work of getting to the very bottom of the reason they started.  Even for those who say ‘I just like getting high”… I would counter with “you need to figure out why you don’t like being sober”.  Only until they each can uncover this area of their life will they truly be free from the NEED to use.  Never mind the chemical NEED the drug itself produces in the body. 

I say know your addict, because no one knows what it will take to help them heal.  I remember being in a meeting with a parent who REEFUSED to go to a family counseling time because she believed that by going she would have to take on the responsibility for her daughters addiction.  She was a hardline “I didn’t CAUSE it, can’t CURE it, can’t CONTROL it”  kinda gal.  And though I agree with that, I know we may just hold a key that can unlock a door or two in the healing process. 

Once we can begin to KNOW our addict, we can look for ways to help the healing process.  And it may be as simple as listening to them empty some of the pain they have experienced by going to a family counseling session.  You don’t have to take responsibility for the pain, but maybe by allowing them to empty themselves of it you may have just given them the courage to move a step closer to a life of freedom. 

Be willing to KNOW your addict. 

Operating in Truth






It’s been quite a bit since I’ve posted.  Quite frankly I’ve been afraid to post my thoughts.  Just when I think things are going well and I post about some accomplishment or the victory of my son taking a few more baby steps forward… in a matter of days it would all come crashing down around me.  The victory would be short lived, what was accomplished needed to be accomplished yet again as it didn’t stick the first time.  Making me just not want to post…

2012 is past.  With it my son was able to put together some decent clean time.  But I sense a struggle coming.  We parents can usually feel it in our gut.  He is battling with some of the behaviors that addiction brings.  Clean time is great, and I rejoice over what time he has put together… but there is still a fierce battle that needs to be waged.  One that will take an inner strength and resolve both my son and I will need to muster.  Some of these behaviors are quite destructive, and they keep rearing their ugly head.

He has admitted that he needs someone to talk to, he knows he has a pit he has to climb out of and he can’t do it alone.  I know there is something’s I can do to help along the way, guidance I can offer, always being willing to point to the direction he needs to head.  But just like I can’t make him stop doing drugs… I also CAN NOT make him change his behaviors.  He needs to have the desire within himself to change.

My own Recovery from enabling is at risk… I need to operate in truth.  And the Truth is I have not stood as firmly as I should have the last few months in regards to his behavior.  I need to be open about this battle, for when I am open about it, I gain the strength I need to stand firm.

Chiseling out a line in concrete is hard work, and I can’t do it alone.  Just as my son cannot overcome his battle alone, neither can I.

As a family we vowed to do things different, it was a family meeting that will become the bedrock of 2013.  That bedrock is firmly based on… “If nothing Changes… Nothing Changes” the first of those changes is our pledge to Operate in Truth.  For truly TRUTH is the best of foundations to stand on.

“Never let us be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth on the altar of peace.” ~ J. C. Ryle