Restoration – Part 4 – New Materials


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I have purposely let sometime pass from my last post before writing again.  I wanted to drive home the fact that…this takes time… Not one parent or loved one of an addict will all of a sudden have the answers or tools (materials) needed to heal or even to begin the process.  Many of us will come to realize we in fact suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  Seeing our loved one as they have succumb to an overdose, finding them living in a car or in a parking garage, or we have spent months and years hiding our purses, wallets, trying to protect their younger siblings.  One day we realize just how much trauma our hearts have been through and we will take the much needed and warranted time to start looking for help.

The rose colored glasses eventually fall off, and we will eventually reach for a pair of glasses that will help us deal with the realities before us and they will also help us gather the much needed materials we as loved one will need.  For me that list began with the “new tin” to patch the holes.  As I stated in my last post, the project vehicle (or my mother’s heart) once the rust had been completely cut away was left pretty desolate.  The new tin needed wouldn’t be just a couple of small patches; it would need whole fenders, doors, hoods and roofs.  That new tin was found literally in my faith.  I gathered it on my knees before God, crying out in desperation for help.  The wounds I had ran deep, and there was no self-help book or group that was going to get me through.  I needed the Great Physician.

He provided the new tin.  He would become the support and strength needed to get me to the next step.  There was nothing I could do to fill the holes; all the patches I had tried in the past didn’t last.  They we very temporal and had caused even greater overall damage.

If you are like me and have come to the place where your heart’s so full of damage from the years of living in this… just like our addicts, we need to come to the place of acknowledging that there is a Higher Power that we must turn to for strength and peace.  I urge you to begin in the same place.

Restoration – Part 3 – Passengers Door


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With the pile of Rust gone through and cleaned up it was time to take a real look at what was left if anything to salvage to begin the process of bringing it (the relationship) back to life.

There was absolutely no Trust left.

Not much left in the area of Care.

A gaping hole was where Concern was supposed to be.

And the section where Help was, had completely disintegrated.

But the Drivers Door was somehow still intact.

My first thought was to see if would still open, and if it did maybe I could climb in and access what was inside.  But as I contemplated doing so I realized I had sat in that seat many times and hadn’t done a very good job at “driving” the relationship.  I walked around to the passenger side and the door was banged up… but it was open.   Maybe, just maybe I would try this for now.

Letting my God take the driver’s seat of the relationship between my son and I was the best decision I could make.  It totally freed me up.  I no longer had to worry about the direction it would take, should take, will take.  I knew with Him in the drivers seat, that it would take the shape it needed to.

With one less thing to have to worry about I could get back to my restoration work.

That’s right, that pile of rust had belonged to me.  Not my addict.  It wasn’t my job to cut the rust away on him.  It was for me to cut mine away…

Now to start gathering the new materials I would need to fill in those holes!

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”

The Life of a Nomad


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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.