“For almost every addict who is mired in this terrible disease, other — a mother or father, a child or spouse, an aunt or uncles or grandparents, a brother or sister — are suffering too. Families are the hidden victims of addiction, enduring enormous levels of stress and pain. They suffer sleepless nights, deep anxiety, and physical exhaustion brought on by worry and desperation. They lie awake for hours on end as fear for their loved one’s safety crowds out any possibility of sleep. They live each day with a weight inside that drags them down. Unable to laugh or smile, they are sometimes filled with bottled-up anger or a constant sadness that keeps them on the verge of tears.” Beverly Conyers
1. From “Detaching FROM Love“: When I think back about our experiences while Alex was actively using many thoughts and emotions come to the surface. It’s hard thinking about what exactly DID we do right? A couple things come to the surface about what we did wrong; tough love and detaching from love.
I wrote not long ago about the importance of listening. I saw my own shortcomings in that area. Still I do a lot more talking than listening. I’ve always heard that you are never learning if your mouth is open. It’s amazing that I can even walk and breath at the same time.
Listening is so critical in parenting an addict, but sharing carries much weight too. Darlene and I would listen to anyone no matter their credentials or experience. We were lost without a map. As I look back not a single person in our history gave advice that wasn’t sincere. Every single person was trying to help and we felt so much love from our family, friends, bloggers and even strangers. I guess most people can relate to a parent that fears they may soon lose there child at any time.
How do you separate and analyze the advice that helps and the counsel that harms everyone involved? That takes a person much wiser than me to figure that one out. However, I have decided one thing that I would never say or do again. Call it what you may but I’m going to cut straight to the chase, TOUGH LOVE.
Tough love is one of those generic terms that gets thrown around very loosely. First, I HATE the term, I have written about it before. But as soon as you hear tough love everyone has an opinion but one thing it seems everyone agrees within the definition is “throw’em out”.
2.From “You Are Not Alone“:
I remember the early days of my son’s addiction. I felt paralyzed. I sat with this new information alone. Would I be able to tell anyone? What would they think of him? What would they think of me?
I looked around with new eyes. I saw families–they all seemed so normal compared to how I now saw our family. I wondered if others could see what I now saw in our home. While I tried to figure things out, I felt so alone.
After some time, I began to reach out to people that I considered to be safe. I trusted these friends and family members to keep our secret. I did not want to hurt anyone.
Finally, I attended my first twelve-step meeting. In that room, I met people of all walks of life. These people were full of joy. How could that be? It was there that I first realized that I am not alone.
There were many parents there, like me, that attended because of their kids who were affected by the disease of addiction. There were husbands there because of their wives and wives there because of their husbands. Brothers and sisters came because of each other. Grandparents because of their grandkids. Friends and family members are always there sometimes they come for more than one person. Every relationship that I could imagine, I have seen represented in these rooms. It confirms the fact that I am not alone.
These meetings where I can share my burdens with others who understand are lifelines. In these room we are encouraged to come out of isolation. They ask me to acknowledge that alone, ‘I can’t’ (step one), but ‘God can’ (step two) and if ‘I’ll let Him’ (step three) then I have gained a powerful companion to guide me along this difficult journey. If I do this, I have enlisted someone who can do all things and I’ve placed them in charge of my situation. I am relieved and I am not alone.