Friday, June 18, 2010

How do I...

"You can't control his drug use"
"You need to detach from him"
"If he is bent on going to prison, you cannot stop him"
"You have to take care of yourself"
"You have to learn to emotionally detach and not take the responsibility"
"You have to let go of the guilt"

How the hell am I supposed to do that????????

How do I not care if he goes to prison?
How do I not care if he continues to use?
How do I not care if he continues to deal?
How do I not care if he maintains connections?

How do I get rid of the sinking feeling in my gut?

This is my one and only son.


  1. Caring and loving him are one thing but getting lost in his disease is another. I have learned that I didn't cause it, cannot control it, and can't cure it. The only choice I have is to detach with live and let go.

  2. Oh please do not misconstrue letting go and detachment as "not caring." I just chaired a meeting last night and my topic was "letting go." I brought up how absolutely unfathomable it seemed to me...that my daughter who by all appearances was dying from her life choices and her drug use, and I was expected to step back and take my hands off of her and let her go. It goes against nature. It goes against every instinct in us as mothers....BUT, what I was doing wasn't working either. My constant worrying, my constant interference in her life was doing nothing except pushing her farther away and making me quite literally sick in multiple ways.

    For me letting go started small. Just for today I put her into God's hands. I didn't call her constantly. I didn't do drive by's to check on her. I didn't give my advice unless I was asked. I let her manage her own legal issues. I set limits and boundaries for the behavior in my home. Some days I was really successful and other days I failed miserably. But I kept getting up and kept on going back to putting her into God's hands. That was my cornerstone. Letting go of her and the outcome of her life was the single largest (and scary) act of faith I have ever committed in my entire life.

    The more I did it, the stronger I got though and the more responsibility she began to take for her own behavior. I did also have to admit to myself that she could die out there. That was a very real possibility and I had to come to a place of even surrendering that idea to my Higher Power and trusting the outcome to Him. I was powerless to alter what the future help for her or myself.

    I know you are a believer so I think you will get this.... but I often thought of Abraham and Isacc. Abraham had to come to the place of belief in his God that even if He required His son's life, he would still trust. As you know, Abraham came to the place of surrendering his will and his fears to his HP (God) and his son was spared. The part of that story that ministered to me was that Abraham surrendered his will even to the point of losing his beloved son. He let go and he trusted.

    It is HUGE. There is no doubt this is the hardest thing any parent can go through. But you are not alone. Please feel free to email me anytime if you want to just talk. Do you go to Alanon? Call someone from the phone list when you are afraid. I will give you my number in a private email if you ever want to call. Hang in there and know that *you are not alone.*

  3. Love Annette's commment above so much! I felt the exact same way, just felt so wrong to watch him destroy himself and sit by doing nothing. Nothing I did helped and as Annette said above, it actually put a wedge between my son and I. I only recently started letting go and I struggle some days, others are much better. I am focusing more energy on things I need to work on about myself and my own issues and allowing my son to have the dignity to handle his own life affairs and journey. I was never willing to attend Al-anon, didn't feel like I needed to be helped, that it was my son that needed help, not me. I was wrong and the support I have received is immense. I extend my hand of support also and email me anytime if you need support. One day at a time...(HUGS)

  4. Is "caring" going to keep him from going to prison?

    Is "caring" going to stop him from using?

    Is "caring" going to make him quit dealing?

    Is "caring" going to force him to maintain connections?

    I agree with Annette - you are misconstruing "caring" with detachment. If we could all "care" our kids better, there would be no addicts! (How I wish that were true!!)

    Of course you care! You're his mother. But caring isn't enough to save him. The only thing that will save him is HIMSELF, when he's ready.

    My son is currently in prison. Of course I care that he's there! But it was his succession of poor choices that got him there. I tried really hard to "care" him out of those choices, but there he sits. And he will survive, just as your son will survive if he goes to prison. In fact, I feel that its a blessing right now - its affording him time to think, and me time to work on me. And I know he's not using!! That thought alone makes it all worth it!

    HUGS and prayers to you!

  5. I can't offer any help or advice because I am struggling with this myself, every day. I am praying for all of us...

  6. I know I've said this before, but you remind me so much of me! I said the same things, asked the same questions and even got upset that some people had more than one child so they could not possibly understand how much MORE of an ordeal this was for me since he was my only one.

    I still struggle with all that but I finally get it. Annette is right, there is a difference between controlling/letting go and caring. Our brains know that but it takes a long time for our hearts to catch up.

    The only thing I can share is my experience which is that it takes time to get to a place where "letting to" becomes easier. It has never become easy.

  7. The comments on this post are so right. You will never stop caring and you will never stop loving your son. If loving and caring was enough, our sons and daughters would not be addicts. It doesn't work.

    But when we step back and let them face their consequences and manage their lives, little by little, they get better at it and sometimes (not always) they make some right choices and get healthier; and you get healthier. And then you are stronger and instead of a viscious circle, your life starts to flow in a positive circle. And you still love and you still care.

    It's not about giving up on them and not caring. It truly is about the things you do for him "in the name of love" and the frustration you feel when all those things, all those hoops you've jumped through, all that stress has happened; and yet their behavior and their actions don't change. Stay strong and hang in there. You are in my thoughts and my prayers.