Saturday, October 6, 2012

I am powerless over........

One of the most precious blessings I have enjoyed in my son’s journey to recovery is that we have a relationship again.  He calls me just to talk, and he actually wants us to come and visit.  For the past several years, the only time I would hear from him would be to ask for money, for “rent, food, gas, etc.”  I continue to be amazed and grateful for the changes I see in him.
         Just this past week though, I realized how close to the surface my fear and anxiety are over a possible relapse.  I had left a message for him to call, and he hadn’t responded.  Since his non-responsiveness to me has always been an indicator in the past of his addiction rearing its ugly head, my immediate response was fear…… terror.  Terror that he had relapsed.  Terror that the nightmare was starting again.  Terror that I was losing him all over again.  As it turned out he hadn't responded because he had to be at work at 4:30 the next morning and was asleep when I sent the message.  He called the very next day.
         Believe it or not, I am doing a much better job in dealing with that fear than I used to.  I know the paragraph above doesn’t sound like it, but I used to be much worse.  I am better at catching the anxiety when it begins, saying a quick prayer, and handing it over to God.  But the fear is still there, still lurking, just waiting for a trigger.
         Anyway, I got an idea from an Alanon magazine I read called Forum.  In it a woman had posted an “I am powerless over…..” list that she had written.  I wrote my own, just to remind myself that the only person I truly have power over is myself.  No matter how much I love my son ultimately the journey is his alone.  I can let him know how much I love him and give him emotional support, but I cannot control his addiction.

Here’s my list so far.  I’ll probably add more as time goes by.

I am powerless over my son’s addiction.

I am powerless over my son’s recovery.

I am powerless over my son’s choices.      

I am powerless over whether he shows up at work.

I am powerless over the people he meets in the halfway house.

I am powerless over whether his girlfriend goes to rehab and ends up in the same town as him.

I am powerless over his girlfriend’s addiction.

I am powerless over her recovery, or non-recovery.

I am powerless over her influence on him.

I am powerless over the decision of the judicial system.


  1. As a parent I don't think that fear ever entirely goes away. I also do not think that parents ever fully recover. Hopefully we learn to live our lives in spite of our son or daughter's addiction. But I think the worry will always be there.

    1. I know for sure I will never be the same. This journey has forever changed the way I look at so many things in every area of my life. Much of what I have learned has been good. I think I've learned to be less judgmental and more compassionate, I've learned to forgive myself and others, and I'm learning how to trust God and strengthen my faith.
      The underlying fear will always be there, that is a scar that won't go away. But, the Lord has taken what was meant for harm and somehow managed to bring some good out of it all. So we go day at a time.

  2. I like your list. I am doing the same thing as you are when fear strikes I pray, give it over to God and ask him to help me to let it go. Kind of a spiritual discipline. I agree with Lisa, I don't think the worry will ever totally go away, our lives have been changed forever. I'm doing my best by the grace of God to try and live my life.

    I'm glad to hear that your son is doing so well, praise God!

    1. Thank you, Erin. One of the good things that has come of all of this is that I have witnessed the grace of God in my son's life and have felt it in my own life. Without that grace, I don't think my son would be alive today.

  3. Allow time to pass. The fear and suspicion will lessen.

    1. Thank you. I know you speak from the voice of experience.

  4. I'm struggling a great deal right now with my son's addiction. I know that I'm hopeles and powerless over him. At the same time, I want to save him. Our relationship has lessened. I'm lost. I wholeheartedly have given my time into him that my own recovery is at risk. Please help!!

    1. I am so sorry for your pain. It is our most basic instinct to want to help and protect our children, even when they're not children any more. Do not risk your own recovery. You can't help your son until you take care of yourself. I had to learn that the hard way.
      I sent you an email. I hope it helps.