Sunday, May 30, 2010

Learnings & Victories

Sunday night and it’s time to go home - home after a 2-day “family weekend” at rehab.
Daniel looks OK. More importantly, he is happy to be there and even excited to enter the extended program (after completing a 28-day inpatient program). It’s designed for addicts prone to relapse: high-accountability with intensive therapy designed to address some of the underlying issues that contribute towards his addiction. Recovery success rates double for participants that complete it. Yes, we are happy that he is willing, and happier still, that he is excited.

It was a long weekend of lectures; the content was excellent, delivery – a little boring due to the lack of interaction. But worth it.

What did we learn? (I’m including my husband’s responses here too – good discussion for the 2-hour drive home)

• We learned about “Family systems” and the roles of: scapegoat, mascot, hero, and the lost child
o I am the hero in my family of origin (responsible, achiever, successful, perfectionist)
o My husband: scapegoat (the one to take the blame) and lost child (overlooked)
o My son: scapegoat and mascot (clown, joker)
o Our other children: hero and scapegoat

• We learned the 7 characteristics of addiction:
1. A lot of time spent supporting the addictive behavior
2. Increasing tolerance
3. Experience withdrawal symptoms
4. Unsuccessful attempts to cut-down or stop using
5. Isolation
6. Loss of control
7. Keeps using in spite of negative consequences
Conclusion: Michael is addicted to caffeine

• We learned that healthy families are characterized by some of these traits: Roles are flexible; Sibling loyalty versus rivalry; Outsiders are welcome into the home; Fun; Individuality supported and growth is celebrated; Ok to talk about feelings; Relaxed atmosphere
o Michael and I are creating a healthy family home – we have most of these traits (whoo hoo for second chances!!!)

• We learned that we are codependent
o Codependents (that’s us) are also addicted – to the addict, that is. Obsessively focused on the addict’s out-of-control life (to the extent of neglecting our own needs) in an attempt to control him
o Codependents are prone to “relapse” (extreme anger, bailing addict out, policing, obsessing over and trying to control the addict)

• We learned that – like it or not – relapse is a very real possibility

• We learned that the 12-Step program works.

• We learned that recovery happens, primarily for those who commit to the recovery process every day

As for our victory (drum roll, please…): Both Saturday and Sunday nights, following the program, Michael and I successfully “let go”, enjoyed dinner out, and being together. I even beat him at a game of pool, which won me an ice cream sundae. As for the anticipated foot rub (anticipated Saturday night), I had to get a rain-check, since Michael was, once again, snoring way ahead of me….well, uhhh, maybe that was my fault – for blogging too late.

Not to worry, foot rubs are redeemable on Sunday nights!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Future-tripping and Foot Rubs

Went to bed tired. And yet, in spite of the lights out and rolling over to find my usual ready-for-sleep position, my mind turns on as quick as the lights turned off. Two minutes later I hear snoring from the 'other side' where my wonderful husband slips into the night. Hmmm, benefit of being the stepparent. Meanwhile, on my side, I can think of only one thing: Daniel.

How will the weekend turn out ("family weekend" at the rehab center)? What are the chances of him beating this addiction beast? Will he need 28 days? The extended program? Who will he marry? I hope he doesn't meet anyone at rehab and get distracted. What if they both relapse? They are not ready to be parents! Will he go back to school? Will he relapse? What will I do?

I am reminded of a new term (lots of new terms I'm learning): "future-tripping" and I realize I'm petty good at it long before I new it existed. Why don't I think of the future in positive terms? Meeting a wonderful girl that makes him want to a man? Becoming responsible and getting a job? Graduating from college? Aren't these also possible? Regardless of what's possible, I think I need to get out of predicting the future and live today. I think that is what I'm supposed to do. But my mind is not so quick to obey, try as I might.
Awareness isn't enough.

3am, I am awake again. Wide awake. Thinking again.
I can't seem to let go.
A problem I cannot solve.
A problem that torments me.
I almost got out of bed to check my new blog site and see what treasures awaited discovery. I think this is my new obsession. At least, I think it is leading me in a positive direction - getting educated, encouraged, and comforted. Learning how to live a more healthy and independent life; letting Daniel own his recovery. Sharing with and hearing from a community of understanding moms and dads of addicts.

Tonight, I'll ask for a foot rub.
Maybe that will increase my chances of being the first to snore.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Where are you - Christian parents of addicts?

I am a devout Christian and while this horror may shake my faith, I will not lose it. My God is a Living God. He is not dead. He has ears that hear, eyes that see, and hands that help and comfort. I just cannot see him very well these days. Is anyone out there also struggling with their faith? What scriptures do you hold onto? What prayers do you pray?

I love this scripture from Isaiah 49. What can be more of a tyrant than addiction? It gives me hope.

24Can the prey be taken from the mighty,
or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?
25For thus says the LORD: "Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken,
and the prey of the tyrant be rescued,
for I will contend with those who contend with you,
and I will save your children.
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine.
Then all flesh shall know
that I am the LORD your Savior,
and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."

So thankful for my new online friends

Many, many, many thanks to those of you who have commented on my posts. This blogging is new to me and I had no idea how much it would help to find other moms (and dads) with hearts that ache over their addicted sons and daughters. I am glad to find you and call you my new friends.

My sister checked in with me today. The fact is, I have many friends and family that are trying to offer support and encouragement. I am thankful for them too. This is what I told her:

The truth is, I am going one day at a time. Thankfully, I am not in depressed state constantly. I have times of high energy and happiness. But my thoughts are extremely preoccupied with my Danny-boy and the crisis we are in. My emotions are up and then crash down, sometime very low. Yesterday I had a great day. Then I had a short call from him and it triggered all kinds of fear. Fortunately, Michael (my husband and Daniel's stepfather) was there and we talked and I cried. It brought us closer. He is really walking with me through this hell, and I cannot imagine doing it alone.

So, some days I am great. And then I have moments (or days) when I'm not sure I want to live. Don't worry. I am not suicidal. I just don't want to live this life that has been forced upon me. I don't know what I am doing here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Back to work today and feeling well.
Amazing how much a workout helps my mental state.
I was breathless in spin class since I had missed a week, but definitely worth it.
I'm also enjoying that my son (now in rehab) is someone else's priority. I don't have to worry when the phone rings. Knowing he's in a controlled environment is peaceful. But I read the blogs of other mom's of addicts and my heart is fearful of hoping this will work.
How do I balance my faith and hope with the reality of the statistics that seem to scream at me?
I don’t know how to pray any more.
My quiet time is quiet.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This is my first blog. Not sure what I am doing

How did this happen to me?
To my beautiful boy?
Where did he go? I look at him and he appears to be there. Tall, so handsome. Beautiful smile. Charming. But it’s all a fa├žade he is not really there. Somehow, God I don’t know how, but somehow he was overtaken by this person who lies, deceives, gets high just to make it through the day. I don’t know him. Where are you? How am I to live without you? I can’t trust you. I don’t know you. Where are you?
I cry
It doesn’t help
I try to keep going. It requires pretending that everything is fine. That I am ok when I am really dying inside. Do you hear me? I am dying inside? You don’t even know. You’re clueless, wrapped up in you own selfish desires and warped reality.
Am I supposed to feel sorry for you? Because you’re a helpless little thing caught in a trap and can’t free yourself? But do you get it? You’re the one that walked into it. I tried to warn you. God, didn’t I warn you? Why did you have to do it? Why did you have to?
Now I am wrecked. I can hardly work. I look at my projects and I don’t have the energy to face them. But I have to keep pretending “everything’s fine”
So now I’m the one with a ‘disease’. It’s called codependency. I call it a broken heart. It’s broken badly. It hurts worse than getting a divorce, worse than anything. If you choose to live this way I don’t want to live any more. The pain is too much for me. I wish you could hear me.