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Tough love with our adult children: How my daughter and I survived her addiction Most Liked

Today’s Featured Comment

From jbwritergirl

Just found this thread. Like so many others here, I too have walked the line between giving in, giving up, or getting out. When I thought there was no salvation left for my daughter. I had seriously considered suicide but then something miraculous happened. I met an angel.

He came at the exact time I thought I would get in my car and wrap it around a tree somewhere so I wouldn’t have to deal with any of it anymore. Yes, this was a total stranger who walked up to me and said, I know your pain, I can help you, if you can just hold on a little longer.

The world works in mysterious ways sometimes. I didn’t go to Al-Anon because I was ashamed that I could have let this happen to my girl. Instead, I started writing, because I kept hearing my angel’s voice in odd ways, at times when I felt abandoned by the world. I started talking back and writing it down so that it would be real. This in no way stopped my daughter’s addiction but it helped me get through nearly a decade of self loathing and hatred of her addiction. It helped me get through my self-hatred because I was the mom, the glue factory, the one that could make everything better with a kiss and a hug.

I published my diary, “Dancing With The Devil” because I wanted others to know that you have to hang on. That does not mean you should enable them, it means you have to hang on to the good things that get you, as a mother, a woman, through each day.

Each time I thought she’d hit her bottom (she used everything) I would take a deep breath and think it was over, but she was living in a ‘bottomless pit’ of bottoms. After her last rehab nearly two years ago, we were excited, finally, because through several months or work on her part she had finally gotten sober. We waited anxiously for her plane to come (we had sent her out of state) and then we waited some more. The stewardess called me and asked that question you never want to hear…

“Are you the mother of…?……The paramedics are on the way………They’ll call you……”

Blah blah blah.

I had been turned to stone.

She, like many other addicts come out of rehab only to decide they want one last hurrah. She had overdosed on heroin, her last drug of choice.

Well, I finished writing the book in that horrible little cubicle in the emergency room under those awful glaring lights because I knew that if I didn’t I would surely lose all of myself that night. As I watch the heart monitor race up and down , back and forth I realized that I never had the power to fix her. I knew then I had to let go and let the higher powers watch over her.

The good news is…..that WAS HER VERY BOTTOM!

She’s been sober two years coming up on May 21. She’s gone back to school to become an esthetician and is muddling her way through life now in a much better way.

She calls me her angel because I didn’t give up on her. I call her my angel because she taught me what I needed to know about myself. That I am stronger than I think, that I have the capacity to love no matter what, that I have stamina and tenacity.

Keep praying for peace for your son because that’s the right thing to do. Maybe the higher power will follow him on this journey and when it sees an opening will act to help him become the man he probably always dreamed he’d become.

[This comment was originally posted in this conversation. ~ Eds.]

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Posted in family & relationships, other topics, VN Featured Comment.

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7 Responses

  1. jbwritergirl jbwritergirl says

    Good morning all. I was surprised to see this again. Here’s an update. My daughter will have been sober 4 years on May 21. Just proves that tenacity, stamina, and a mother bear attitude can go a long way. Life is still not perfect because there’s a lot of catching up to do for her for all the years she missed, medical issues and so on. The good news though is I have my beautiful daughter back. And it’s funny because I also had to recover from her recovery. There was this whole big black space in my head that needed to be refilled with something new and better than worrying about her. If you haven’t read the sequel “Recovery’s A Bitch…as if menopause alone wasn’t bad enough!” you should. It’s how I came back from the dead as well.

    2 like

    • Generic Image polywog says

      God Bless you for hanging in there. I am having an awful time with an adult son, who, although not seriously involved in drugging, to the best of my knowledge, seems to have a mood disorder, which has many of the same risks and challenges as drug addiction. I say this because the symptoms are similar, he is mean and nasty some days, sleeping all through the days, will not go out and find a means to support himself, lives with me and is a slob, eats my food knowing full well I am living on approx. $1000 a month pension, my rent takes  up  60%, meds another 10%, leaving very little for anything else, gosh golly forbid I need to buy household cleaning supplies, even vinegar and soda, toilet paper, and so on. I have given him until mid-august (six weeks away) to find another abode, I have no choice as I will lose my apartment as it was rented to “me only” and the caretaker has warned me. I am worried out of my skull. I have given him Doctor’s telephone numbers, suggested family friends who might be able to help him find work, have tried to be patient, loving and gentle, but he lies in bed all day, most days, and nothing seems to be changing. I don’t want to become an addict myself by taking my anti-anxiety meds too often but this situation has me frantic. I have an inherited mood disorder which is the root of my disability, he likely inherited it from me and for that I feel guilty (silly, I know). I do not want to put him on the street but as it is, I may end up on the street. His older brother who helps me out from time to time is livid. he wants me to boot the younger brother out. I do not want this to turn ugly. I am so isolated myself, I am so frantic about it some days I too feel like wrapping myself around a tree. I can sooo relate to the prior author. It is so much like dealing with an addict. I can’t abide the stress of confrontation so I get up super early and go to bed super early to avoid contact with my son. He is 26 and has some work skills. he never seems to be able to hold on to a job for more than a few months at a time and seems terrified of asking people for work. He has admitted he is depressed. I also don’t want to lose him to suicide. That would kill me. I am so lost and afraid. Anybody else dealing with this type of thing? Your suggestions would be ever so appreciated. I have even tried to direct him to Social Services to get welfare to hold him until he finds some help but he doesn’t get up in time to do anything productive. I tried forcing him to get up at a decent time several days and the repercussions were horrible, so now I leave him sleep. I will take it a day at a time and pray for assistance or an angel or a miracle but I realise I must also row for the shore. I just don’t know where the paddles are. Thank-you for listening.       

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      • Generic Image Nettiedogg says

        I am a 30 year drug addict with almost 6 yrs clean. I know from experience that your son will not stop using until “he” is ready to stop. Most people are under the misconception that they can help or make another person quit using. But, there is nothing that you or anyone else can say or do to make him end that abuse. Not only did  my mother try to stop me, but so did friends, relatives, etc. I went to jail and even prison, but not even a Judge’s order to rehab stopped me and I still came out and used each time. In 2006, I finally got tired of the life I was living and realized that I was killing myself and wanted to end the use. I was tired of looking over my shoulder for police or a parole officer and tired of hustling everyday to support my habit.  It wasn’t until then that I actually put a stop to the madness. 

        You may not want to kick your son out, but truly you are only enabling his addiction. If he always has a place to lay his head, food to eat, and money in his pockets from you, he will never get up and get those things for himself. If you are living on a fixed income, you cannot afford to take care of another grown up, even if he is your child…and he won’t take care of himself unless you pull away and make him do it.

        Today, I have over 5 1/2 years clean and am the caretaker of my 93 year old mother. My life is in order, my friends and family want to be around me and they trust me to be around them. Life is good and I move through it just one day at a time. I wish you the best and hope your son finds his way to sobriety as soon as possible.

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  2. Vicky1956 Vicky1956 says

    I am so happy for you! Wonderful news!

    1 like

  3. Generic Image Peacelilly says

    Thank you JBWriteGirl for sharing your experience with a chld with addiction.  I’m sure many mothers who read it can identify with it.  It is a hard road to travel but there can be a rainbow at the end of the tunnel.

    I have an adult son whose addiction is alcohol.  I’ve suffered through many sleepless nights and days on end of anxiety and worry.  But I am so glad that I never gave up on him.  Everyone else in the family pretty much did.

    I took him in again to live with me and my husband (his step-father) along with his dog and cat.  He has come back home to live with us a number of times. He finally left the wife who he was allowing to drag him down.  We went through this two years prior with only more heartache to show for it.

    The first year he was in and out of AA, sometimes sober and sometimes drinking.  Sometimes he had a job and he got fired from several.

    August a year ago he went into a 28 day rehab all on his own.  He had a counselor who really knew his stuff and helped my son understand his addiction.

    Today I am happy to say he is still sober and has a full-time job.  He acts like a responsible adult and hopefully will be moving out on his own before too long.

    I decided about 15 months ago to give Alanon a try.  It has been very helpful to me and I now have lots of good friends who understand what it is like to live with alcoholism/addiction.  Wish I had done it sooner.

    To Polywog, I say don’t give up but you will probably have to use some “tough love” no matter what his diagnosis/problem is.  The most important thing is to take care of yourself and remember you didn’t cause this.  What our chldren do is always a choice.  Good luck and thanks for sharing.

    2 like

  4. jbwritergirl jbwritergirl says

    Peacelilly, I applaud your staying power. This road is long and winding and sometimes it feels impossible to stay on it, but, we do. We are mothers. I am happy your journey has left the devil behind. Hugs.

    Polywog, the most difficult decision you need to make boils down to survival. You need a place to live, you have a place to live, you need to make your son understand that his choices will not be allowed to upset the small balance you have in your life. He needs to find his way elsewhere, whether that be couch surfing or rehab. As long as you let him stay with you, he does not need to choose anything. He’s safe and sound right where he is and your guilt will keep him there. He chose this, NOT YOU! Enabling is a tricky thing. We want to help them so much of the time it leaves no room for them to help themselves. This is a lesson your son needs to learn now. You have some choices to make. Make them and stick with them. And by the way, there are some wonderful support groups on facebook you should look at. Everyone there is in the same boat. The Addict’s Mom is a good place to start. Big hugs to you.

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    • Generic Image polywog says

      Thank-you all for your words of support. I did set a deadline, in love, and it seems that the lad is paying attention, somewhat. I try to remember that a mother is one who will buy a story no matter how outlandish, while the rest of the world sees through the lie. However, it goes against my very being to toss him out. I had that done to me by my mother at a very early age and cannot repeat the pattern. The lad has gone to several job interviews, even on days when it seemed unlikely he would, I did not engage him except to mention once, it was time to get up, or he would be late. Boy was he grumpy that morning but he did find potential work (he has yet to actually bring back a check). I however, got real busy bringing in a little extra income wherever I could to keep going, including bottle picking which somedays is all there is for food. The next few weeks will show whether I’ve been sold a load of BS or whether he has gotten his business in order. He has lined up a couple of living arrangements as I’ve managed to negotiate an extra month for him, here. So, not a real follower of the “tough love” stance, I do pray regularly that he will suceed in getting his business attended to, and find his own life. Again, thank-you for your words of support. 

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