A message for new parents of addicts!!

Old 02-06-2006, 01:44 PM
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A message for new parents of addicts!!

Haven’t been on SR too often these days. Just trying to keep my head above water and try to manage my own recovery.

For those of you who are new, NO, I am not a recovering ADDICT. The recovery of which I speak is MY recovery from the addictive behavior and my codependent behavior of my addict. The addict in my life is my 24 yr old (25 Feb. 06) daughter, who recently became a mother of a beautiful baby girl six months ago. Poor child – mother and father both addicts. Father currently in Fed. Prison for several felonies. AD living with baby’s father’s parents, who I suspect may be “users” themselves or at least enablers to the nth degree!!!

My AD (addict daughter), though she lives about 20 miles away, is actually living in the State of Denial (a state of increasing population). As long as she is in denial of HER problem, THE problem will continue to be whatever she wants it to be. At the present time and for convenience sake, THE problem is her parents. Unknowingly to us, we have wielded more power than we ever dreamed capable of! We have caused undue problems, created chaos, torn self-esteems from their roots, destroyed lives and were totally incapable of love, comfort, emotional or financial security. Goodness, had we known, we probably could have been capable of toppling governments and causing natural disasters!

Sadly, while we are certainly not perfect people, we were never capable of what our AD has imagined we were. We raised her in an environment of love, support, encouragement, opportunities, trust, morals, values, respect for self and others and discipline. Yes, we made mistakes (we wrote the “handbook” as we went along) but we were never capable of destroying the life of a daughter we love.

We had normal expectations of what her life could be. We certainly had normal expectations as to how her life with us would be. There would be problems to iron out and periods of “combustible” hormone episodes, but nothing we could NOT handle or work through. After all, that’s what families do – they work through the hard times and handle the problems together. It is these normal expectations that are so difficult to let-go of!

Once a parent gets over the initial shock of discovering that their child is an addict, it takes the next step – ACCEPTANCE – in order to move forward. And it isn’t just acceptance of the addiction, that is the first step of acceptance. As you move on, you also have to have acceptance of a very, very alien anomaly – YOU CANNOT CONTROL OR “FIX” THE ADDICTION!!! You discover that you have no power, whatsoever, even with money, to stop it, contain it, fix it! You cannot love, hate, fight, beat, guilt-trip, cry or scream it away. You learn, if you are one of the fortunate ones to learn it, that it is NOT your problem to solve – it is the addict’s whether it is your child or not.

Yes, it is terrible and a real tragedy but you hopefully discover that YOU are the only one you can have any control over. YOU and how you let the behavior of your addict’s behavior control you is paramount to “living”. You can choose to continually live in the shadow of your addict, allowing his/her chaos and drama to dictate your whole existence, or you can take control of your life.

You don’t wake up one day and say to yourself, “Ok. Now I am in control and I won’t let any of my addict’s behavior or decisions to affect me.” It just doesn’t work that way but if you realize and “accept” that you are the only one you can control or have any effect on, then you are moving in the right direction.

Working on YOU and your recovery takes time, meetings, talking to others on a site like this, and doing whatever it takes to bring you back to sanity. And I do mean sanity because living, dealing and trying to “control” an addict is insanity. There is no logic to it and certainly no solution. And if you continue to do it, you will find yourself nearly as crazy, illogical and sick as the addict.

So, to you mothers and fathers who come here for the first time, I and so many others on this site truly feel your pain. We have been where you are now and many of us did not think we could continue. Believe me, at first I was not sure that life was worth living. I did not know where to turn, how to stop hurting so badly and how to handle something I just could not stop. And where, just where do we go from here?? How could we be expected to continue on when we spent our whole lives trying to nurture and protect our children from something as harmful and destructive as drugs. What did we do wrong?

You didn’t! The three C’s of our recovery are: We didn’t Cause it; We can’t Control it; and We can’t Cure it! All you can control is how YOU deal with it and how much you allow the addiction to control you. You are entitled to a life and so is the rest of your family. Your addict has made choices, albeit some bad choices, but the key is the choices were NOT yours to make. When my younger, sober daughter said to me one day after trying to “fix” my AD’s problem, “Mommy, you are spending so much time on letting my sister’s problems hurt you that there’s not much left of you for me!” That hit hard and it hurt – hurt because I was making a choice to turn all my attention and energy to my other daughter’s addiction that there really wasn’t much of me left for the daughter who needed me most.

Sorry this is so long but I felt it might help some of you new parents understand that a lot of us have walked the road you are starting on. And we have survived and many of us have flourished. I love my AD but I can’t live her life for her any more than she can live my life. And I can’t have her living at home because I cannot have a front-row seat to her addiction and addictive behavior. It is a choice I make and the subsequent boundaries I set as to her or my behavior are put in place to keep my life and that of the rest of my family’s life in a sane place. Should my AD ever realize her real problem and SHE gets help to reenter the real world without drugs and works a recovery program, I have no doubt that we could start building (in baby steps) the road to a loving and caring relationship. While the drugs are active in her life, they don’t allow for such things. That is unfortunate but I have learned and accepted that those are things for which I have no control!!

Please feel welcome here. You can rant, rave, write your story, give advice and/or support to others. It may not be a club you would choose to join but we are all here because the choices of others have made it necessary. Now we need to heal and take control and care of our lives.

Hugs & prayers,
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:00 PM
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...yep. What Marteen said.
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:39 PM
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Yep, Yep and Yep, what Marteen said.
This will help many Marteen. I remember as screwed up as I felt when I landed here, I really felt good knowing thank God, I was not alone. Little did I know just how much comfort, love and support I was about to receive.
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Old 02-06-2006, 04:14 PM
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Well said, Marteen. This mom thanks you for expressing it so well.

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Old 02-06-2006, 05:00 PM
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like i've said in my past posts........................gads I wish I would have 'met' all of you sooner........who could have known there were so many wise people out there. Thanks Marteen.. I'm not new to parenting an addict....but I AM new to my OWN recovery.
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Old 02-06-2006, 05:31 PM
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This was so very well said, Marteen. Thank you for speaking for us moms.

According to my kid, I should have been capable of toppling a few governments myself.

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Old 02-06-2006, 05:49 PM
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Our own recovery is the solution. It's so traumatic for parents when they realize the terrifying fact that their child is an addict and all our usual nurturing, caring ways must be changed. We must learn how not to enable them, how to set boundaries, how to let go, how to accept nothing we say or do can change them.
We had always been able to protect them, it was our duty, and those days are ended. It's terribly heart wrenching and sorrowful. Our child is altered, the one we knew so well is now a baffling, bewildering stranger and we fear for him or her.

Marteen, your post is wonderful and so very helpful. None of us ever
wanted to come face to face with an addicted child but suddenly there was no turning back.
When I walked into my first Al-Anon meeting, all I could do was cry.
I'm glad I went, as was suggested by the family counselors at son's rehab. I kept going
to meetings and with time, effort, willingness, the love of those who walked in my shoes, faith in a Higher Power I traded my misery for peace in my heart and soul one day at a time.
The process is a miracle and it is not an easy or quick fix....I need to keep working my own program on a daily basis. I am so grateful for SR and all the support here.

Parents, I suggest you go to meetings and come here whenever you need to. We care and share
and that is our strength and unity.
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Old 02-06-2006, 05:55 PM
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Perfect Marteen...just perfect.
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Old 02-06-2006, 07:03 PM
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Thanks for mentioning the meetings. Dealing f2f with another human soul is so much different than online or over the phone. This is a wonderful backup but f2f really makes you "see" the real people who are going through what you are. You are not a freak or wierdo. Sometimes it takes a lot more than one meeting or maybe different meetings but it's worth the effort. If nothing else, it gets you out of the house and focusing on something more than your agony and sorrow.

When I hear a parent say, "I just can't take it anymore!" then I know that person is truly ready for thier own recovery!

Putting all our strengths together, we can conquer our weaknesses!! Yes??????


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Old 02-06-2006, 07:15 PM
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you just won yourself a sticky award. that is such an enlightening post. i'm sure there will be plenty of feedback from the 's

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Old 02-06-2006, 07:26 PM
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Thank you............I just copied this and sent it to my 23yr old son. The A in our life is AH; his father.
Son and daughter are glad I come here, I know because they see it helping me and MY sickness was effecting them as much or more as AH's is.

Thank you all for your help. I still have a very long way to go, but I am heading in the right direction now.

Hugs to you all!
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Old 02-06-2006, 08:43 PM
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As usual, Marteen, you have said it so eloquently and realistically. We loved ones of addicts, suffer so and do not receive any sense of peace until we learn to "give it up" and work a program, for our and our addict's sake.
I pray your AD will soon "see the light" of sobriety and a better life for all of your sakes.
Hugs from Chugs
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Old 02-06-2006, 08:58 PM
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Thank you Marteen,
I was also a basket case when I first found SR and Nar-Anon meetings. Working our own recovery program is an amazing thing. Thanks everybody for all the support.

Here's something Ellen wrote:

I was at a face to face meeting recently, and a woman came in that hadn't been there before.
I knew exactly what my Higher Power was trying to tell me though, as I'd just gone through something with my son, and didn't even really want to go to the meeting - it just seemed to be too much trouble on top of everything else!

This poor woman negotiated long stairs, dragging herself up, trying to use her walker, just to get to the meeting, and I didn't understand. Until she shared, and cried, and sobbed, about her son, who lives with her, and is an addict.

She is 84 years old. And alone in this world, other than him.

And I don't want to be in her place in 40 years!

Deal with it now, or deal with it later - the choice is yours.

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Old 02-07-2006, 08:58 AM
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Wow, Mama Goose - great story. I used to tell my girls all the time when I was raising them something they even tell me to this day, even AD, that they will never forget (AD just forgot what it means!!)
"Pay now or pay later!" (but pay, you will!)

Since we cannot live our addict's lives and they cannot live ours, we will be, at one time, forced to pay attention to the life that is OURS! It will come sooner or later, but it will come.

I pray that parents don't realize that when it is too late to enjoy the life they have. I also pray that my AD isn't so old when she recovers that she, too, will have lost out on the joy of her mom, dad and sister. Some day it will hit her; I just pray it is sooner than later.

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Old 02-07-2006, 11:13 AM
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I'm keeping this and sending it to everyone I know who needs it.

This is so helpful.

I will read it over and over again when I need to and I'm sure I will.

I love this site and everyone here.

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Old 02-07-2006, 02:44 PM
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I would like to also mention to new parents or anyone for that matter. As you start and continue on your own path of recovery and loving detachment from your addict, you will be so dependent on this site.

However, once you start to feel that you and the rest of your family (if that applies) deserve a life; one of your own choosing, you will discover other ways with which to cope with that and to that end.

It's healthy to accept changes in your life; for you to move on and to do things that bring you fulfillment. This site and the people on it will always be here (unfortunately, this site will NEED to be!) but your dependence on it will become less and less. That's a very good thing.

In my own experience, I find myself coming here less and less and when I do, the desparation is not nearly as bad as it was. Now there are times and there will be again when something, completely out of my control, will happen and I will once again panic - I will come here!! I will NEED to come here. But that is what my recovery gives to me. Safe places and people to come to, who understand and can help get me back on track.

So, for those of you who are new, believe me when I say that "NO, you life will not be spent everyday seeking out the comfort of this site or anything else." You will one day stand on your own, knowing that help, advice, guidance and a hug are just around the corner!!

That's a nice feeling to have.

Hugs, love & prayers,
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Old 02-07-2006, 04:27 PM
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AMEN Marteen...
Thanks from one mom/grandmother to another.
Good lessons here for all.
Bump to the top!
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Old 02-07-2006, 04:28 PM
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Thank you for writing this Marteen. I thought I was slipping in my recovery because I don't come here as often. I do have my ftf meetings, meetings with my sponsor, my family and friends, volunteer work, and so many other things that I could barely focus on before. I'm so happy tonight to feel the growth.

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Old 02-07-2006, 05:27 PM
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It has giving me confort to read it. How true it is and helps to keep me on track and not to loose my sanity. I feel that something is not going well with my son, he is acting so estrange but I can not pin point the problem. So I MUST Let it Go and Let GOD. And tonight I happend to get online and see you thread A big THANKS !!!
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Old 02-08-2006, 09:09 PM
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Being able to just relate to someone or have them relate and understand where you are coming from is sometimes a lifesaver. I know my friends and family (Bless them) who have never dealt with addiction before have no earthly idea what I am dealing with. When I tried to talk to them in the beginning, of course their advice was so "traditional" - the kind we were used to giving and following.

I remember one time I told my cousin that I wish my AD would get arrested so I could sleep at night knowing she was in a safer place!! She was flabbergasted. She shockingly asked me, "How could you possibly sleep at night with a daughter in jail??" I knew right then and there she had no idea and could never have of the things that went through my mind at what else and where else she could end up! I had my fair share of complete "codie" behavior and knew and saw some things a mother should never see. I knew there were a lot worse things than jail.

I also loved the fact that I could come here and rant about things and never have anyone tell me that I was crazy and shouldn't talk that way. I was among those who could understand when I "lost it"! lol
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