Ron's blog is one of the first I found when I started trying to find help in dealing with my son's addiction, and his words gave me my first glimmer of hope that I might survive the pain after all. This post is a message that needs to be heard.
Click on the first sentence:
An Addict In Our Son’s Bedroom: A Disease...You Give Yourself (stigma III): Addiction, it's a disease you give yourself. When does the addict accept the responsibility for themselves and own up to that it is thei...
Monday, June 16, 2014
Sunday, June 15, 2014
It’s Father’s Day, a day when my heart aches for my son whose father didn’t know how to be a dad, and my own father who didn’t know how to overcome his despair. My son mailed a Father’s Day card to me in the hopes that I could somehow get it to his dad. We divorced when the kids were in elementary school. His dad may or may not know that our son is in prison because I couldn’t locate him to tell him. Once we divorced, his father made a half-hearted effort to be a real father and spend time with his kids and teach them all of the things fathers teach their kids. As the kids grew older though, he just slowly disappeared from their life. I don’t think that it’s because he didn’t love them, I think he just didn’t know how to have any kind of committed, on-going relationship with anyone, not me, and not his kids. He never even bothered to call them or send them a card on their birthday after they reached their teens. I always wondered how things would have been different if he had stayed more involved in their lives, but maybe nothing would have been different, that’s something I’ll never know.
What makes me proud today is the fact that my son is reaching out to a dad who never really reached out to him. My son has risen above, forgiven his father, and wants to reestablish a relationship. After much searching and snooping around I located his dad and will get the card to him this week. I hope that he chooses to reconnect with our son, so he can see for himself how he is maturing and trying his best to learn from his mistakes. Here’s where I have to remember my powerlessness over this situation. I can’t make his dad go see him, and I can’t fix their relationship, only he can do that. I also can’t guarantee that his dad won’t go see him and condemn him for his addiction, and for the mistakes he has made. So, I’m just handing this right over to the Lord, and trusting that things will work out just as they should.
Friday, June 6, 2014
Powerlessness. I wrote a list of things I am powerless over a few months ago. As my son adjusts to prison life, and as I adjust to seeing him there, I’m learning more and more how completely powerless I am over so many things. Accepting my powerlessness is a slow process, but I’m evolving and learning, and growing as I go along. So is he.
In Alanon last night we wrote about why we try so desperately to hold onto our illusion of control when it comes to the addicts that we love. The first thing that came into my mind was FEAR. I so wanted to believe that if I cleaned up enough of his messes, and loved him enough that I could “fix” his addiction. I was so afraid. Afraid that if I let natural consequences occur, that he would succumb to his addiction, and that I would lose him to the disease. Afraid that I wouldn’t be able to handle the outcome. Afraid that everything would go to pieces if I admitted my powerlessness, and just let things be. Clearly, my stubborn refusal to admit my complete loss of control over the whole mess, didn’t work. So, I’m waving my white flag, admitting that I really don’t control the universe, and handing things back to the One who does. Thank you, God, for being there to catch me when I fall, and for loving me even when I tried to take over your job. Amen.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
I'm reposting this in honor of my dad, who died 13 years ago today.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline '1-800-273-TALK (8255)'.
On Friday, April 13th, 2001, two days before his 70th birthday, my dad took his own life. He drove to the cemetery where my sister is buried, put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Why, and what could I have done to help? Those are the questions that haunt me every April as the anniversary of my dad’s suicide approaches. That’s the torment that suicide leaves behind.
I had just returned to work after buying Dad’s birthday gift on my lunch break when the sheriff came and told me that my mom needed me. When I got to her place I was told what happened. Nobody saw it coming, but as I struggled with trying to figure out why, I saw little signs that he had probably planned it several months in advance. He had made sure that he and mom were set up in a nice retirement community where he knew she would be surrounded by other widows who would take care of her. He was never very demonstrative with his love, but on my birthday in February he had brought a single rose to me while I was at work and had given me a hug. My dad rarely gave hugs. In March he had come by my place and cleaned my lawn mower and sharpened the blades. I believe those little acts of kindness were his way of saying good-bye.
He left a 6 page letter for my mom, trying to explain why he had decided to commit suicide. He had suffered a minor stroke a few months earlier, and even though he had fully recovered, he couldn’t stand the thought that he would have another and possibly be left unable to care for himself. I know that, indeed, the stroke was part of it. However, Dad was an alcoholic. I believe the main reason for his suicide was untreated depression that he self-medicated with alcohol. Dad was a very proud man, and would never ask for help for what he saw as a weakness. I believe he had been depressed most of his life, and when my sister succumbed to cancer at the age of 28, his drinking increased. There seemed to be no way to rescue him. I wish that I had been more educated as to the signs of suicide and had known about the Lifeline number. The heartbreak left in the wake of Dad’s suicide remains unhealed. I cannot visit my sister’s grave without the memory of his last awful moments on Earth.
I don’t write this to scare anyone, or bring anyone down. Rather, I hope that maybe somebody contemplating suicide will read it, and get the help they need. Addiction and depression do not have to be terminal. Please don’t suffer in silence. There is hope for those who somehow find the strength to ask for it.
I’ve posted the poem I wrote for my dad’s funeral, but I’m re-posting as a tribute to his life. I love you Dad.
How hard it is to bid farewell
To you, my dearest Dad.
All my life you’ve been right there
If I just reached out my hand.
A strong pair of arms to help me,
When mine were just too weak.
An open door to welcome me,
When shelter I did seek.
How I wish I could have helped you
The way that you helped me,
And given you the comfort
That your troubled heart did need.
But sometimes the world is just too much
For a tender heart to bear.
You could find no respite
In your hour of dark despair.
So rest now my dear Father,
Enjoy your well-earned peace.
And know that you live on
In the memories I keep.
I will see you in each sunrise
That God paints across the sky.
I will feel you in each cooling breeze
That gently dances by.
I will hear you in the springtime songs
Birds sing to greet the day.
And I will not forget you, Dad
Or all your caring ways.
Stay safe within our Savior’s arms,
Until we meet again.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Miracles. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are so spectacular they can’t be denied, and some so small we will miss them if we’re not careful. There have been many miracles in my life. Some I recognized as soon as they happened, and some I missed at the time that they happened until I looked back over my life and saw that what happened was through the grace of God. But all miracles, recognized or not, big or small, are the Lord’s way of letting us know that He is alive and well on Planet Earth. We live in a broken world, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that, but He doesn’t forget us. He never stops loving us.
My son’s sentencing hearing was this past week, and in it I witnessed a miracle. I had been praying for a miracle, and that is exactly what I got. I’ve mentioned before that our state is notoriously hard on people who are convicted of the charges that my son was facing. The drug my son was addicted to is a huge problem in our state, so they’re coming down hard on offenders. He was a non-violent offender and wasn’t dealing, but when he relapsed, he broke the law by making his own drugs. The assistant prosecutor had been representing the state in all of my son’s previous hearings and I had been glad because the prosecutor himself had made it clear to my son that he would grant him no leniency and that he would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. So, when I walked into the courtroom and saw not the assistant prosecutor, but the prosecutor himself sitting in the courtroom, I felt almost sick. Those familiar feelings of fear and anxiety immediately started to claim their stake on my thoughts and my mind. The charges and possible sentences were read to my son and he was given a chance to speak on his own behalf. My son and I had spoken earlier in the week and he had talked to me about how nervous he was about speaking in the courtroom. He’s always been on the shy side and has lacked self-confidence. But when he opened his mouth and spoke in the courtroom you would have never known how afraid he’d been. He spoke with clarity, courage, and dignity. He didn’t make excuses for his addiction, or his actions, nor did he place the blame on anyone but himself. The Lord gave him words to speak. After he spoke I noticed the prosecutor and the assistant prosecutor conferring, and I couldn’t help but be worried about what they were saying. Maybe he was going to ask for an even tougher sentence? What happened next still stuns me when I think about it. Instead of increasing the sentence he agreed to lower it by 2 years! The judge agreed to it, and sentence was pronounced. I was so grateful and relieved. I shook the prosecutor’s hand and thanked him after the courtroom cleared. After that we went out to my car and were just about to leave when my son’s attorney came and told me that another miracle had happened. The prosecutor had decided to further amend the sentence and reduce it by another 3 years! We quickly went back into the courtroom and listened in amazement as the judge agreed to the amended sentence. In other words, through the Lord’s great mercy, my son has been given back 5 years of his life, 5 years of freedom. Believe me when I say that this is truly a miracle. Our county prosecutor has never done anything like this before.
My son will spend the next 11 years of his life in prison, but it could have easily been twice as much. All I can do is lift my eyes to the heavens and say “Thank you, God, I know that was you.”
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
This piece about the reality of addiction is one of the best that I've read. It's worth the time to read and share.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Sometimes I feel as if I’m living in the middle of a bad dream. Everything involving my son right now just seems so surreal. Just when I think I’ve come to grips with the fact that my son is probably going to spend the next several years of his life in prison, something triggers my anxiety and I feel like I’m back at square one. It reminds me of the feelings I had when my sister, father and brother passed away suddenly. I just couldn’t take it in. It didn’t seem real.
My son’s final sentencing hearing is scheduled for the end of this month, on my sister’s birthday. The closer the date of the hearing is, the more anxiety tries to suck all of the joy out of my life. Accepting that my son is going to prison, is accepting a loss. A loss of the dreams I had for him. So, I guess it’s just an ongoing process, just like the grieving process. I know from past experiences with grieving that it will take time, and there will be good days and bad days. The bad days really stink. There are very few days that I don’t cry a little. Sometimes the sadness of what my son must face just needs to be released through tears.
It helps when I remind myself that there are many things to be thankful for in the middle of all of this. A few weeks ago, a young man in our community nearly froze to death as a result of his addiction. He survived, but had amputations due to frostbite. His parents are good people who have been through a living hell with him. I know if my son were actively using and out on the streets he would be in danger every single day, and that I probably wouldn’t know where he was located, or if he was even alive. At least now I know where he is, and when I talk to him now, it’s my son I’m talking to, not the addiction. For that, I am grateful. With God’s help, I will keep using gratitude and the knowledge of His love for both my son and me to get through the next few years. I know the Lord will bring good from this, it's just that getting there is so hard.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
I said to a man who stood at the gate of the year,
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into
the unknown.” And he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than a light
and safer than a known way.”
M. Louise Haskins
I’ve posted this quote before, but I thought it was appropriate to post it again. As I begin a new year, I reread the words and thought about how it still holds true in my life. I don’t know what this year holds anymore than I knew what last year held, and that is for the best. If I had known last January 1st, that my son would relapse and be arrested, it would have ruined the precious time I had with him when he was free and clean. I would have wasted who knows how many hours of my life worrying and trying to figure out a way to change the future, a future that was never mine to change.
So, I enter 2014 not knowing what it will bring, and I’m at peace with that. I know that if the good Lord has helped my son and I get through these past few months, He will help us get through whatever challenges we face in the coming year if we trust in Him and His love for us.
Peace and blessings to each of you.