I was sitting inside with my one son watching a movie of a girl who was supposedly possessed. I found my son to be more intrigue with the movie for the fact that the girl was suffering from addiction and not because she was possessed. He seemed to be overly fascinated with the drug induced parts. As a mother of a recovering addict in one son and a recovered addict in another, it was specifically hard to watch anything to do with drugs. It makes me focus on the things that I don’t want to, but if it did anything for me, it spurred me to write this article.
As I watched this movie it reminded me of how much you have to reach out for help. You cannot do this alone, or at least I/we couldn’t. When I say we I mean my husband and I. Reaching out to people, whether it be friends, family, or organizations made me realize things that I was thinking weren’t really true. Those things I refer to are the fear of what people. The fact of it was, most people were non-judgmental of the situation, very understanding, and overly helpful. I found out that there were more people than I imagined in the same boat that I was in.
So, a key part of advice I can give is that don’t let your fear of being judged suppress you from reaching out to the help that you might need. It’s important you do this because you don’t have to do it alone. You don’t have to shut yourself off from the world just because something catastrophic has happened within your family. That might be the opposite of what you should do. The world is a lot more understanding and helpful than I thought it could be once I reached out.
My next piece of advice from a mother of a recovered addict is that I always stick to my guns about one true thing I learned from Al-anon. I learned how to not be an enabler. This was through the strength in my friends in Al-anon. It showed me that I couldn’t do any good by continuing to ignore or pretend that my son wasn’t using, when every fiber of my being knew that my son was using. If you continue to enable the addict, even if a loved one, you give them no reason to get clean. In my opinion, what I learned by listening to others was that you have to set guidelines, rules per-say, “sort of” demands. These guidelines may be “You’re not living under my roof as long as your using,” or “Get up at a decent time of the day and be productive to my standards.” Productive in the parental mindset means to get up at a decent hour, do chores around the house, and have a job outside of the house. In all, these guidelines are just projected to create my son into being a productive member of this society.
I would like to add that if I could rewind the clock with my first son I would be more aggressive in who his friends were. But, even in trying to do this with my second child, they still don’t always make the best choices. I think that this comes down to what you’ve taught them, right from wrong, from the very beginning of it all. The importance is the reinforcement of what you taught them at the beginning once they do start to stray. Always remember to stick to your guns, meaning rules and those right and wrong guidelines, because they know it too, they just have to be reminded. They have to most importantly be continuously reminded that you love them, but may not approve of their choices AT THE MOMENT. But realize that approval is not contingent on the love I will have for my child. I will always LOVE my child, but decisions they make I don’t always have to agree with, and that is where you must stick to your guns.
In ending this article I can remember very vivid thoughts at one point in my son’s addiction/recovery that I would just be happy to know if he didn’t die. There were days and months that went by where I thought he would never be able to be productive again. It took every ounce of me to be patient because he was making strides and efforts to get himself better/healed/rid of the drugs. This is where I truly get angry at the lack of proper help from professionals. The biggest I can give out of this entire article, to my children, or anyone else as I write this is BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE! If you feel the doctors are giving you too many drugs to give better, or trading one drug for another, listen to yourself. You know what is right or wrong, and if it’s not working, keep seeking the answers you need, never give up because the answers are there you just have to find them. The answers won’t just come up and grab you, you have to truly search for them. It’s the completely same routine as drug seeking but with the absolute opposite of intentions.
So to leave you on a good note, if you continue to fight the good fight, as I saw my son do, he prevailed little by little, inch by inch until he came out on top. As I am so very proud of him now with all that he does to spread good word, I am just glad I can help and do my part, by still being an advocate. Patience is truly a virtue as they say. Coming from one recovering/recovered addict’s momma to another, it will get better, you just need to find the right opportunities for you and your loved one.
I love you son,
-Substance For You’s Momma
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