The Addicts Mom

The Addict’s Mom
They come into this world so tiny, so fragile; like china dolls we cradle them, knowing how precious and fragile is life. We do our best to shield them from evil and guard them in fear of all that lies out of reach of our protective arms. From birth it seems that we have held the secrets of who and what this child was designed to become and our joy lies in its fulfillment. With m…ixed emotion of reluctance and admiration we watch our little ones grow from helpless infant to adulthood with each careful snip of the apron string. For in the heart of every mother is a longing, to teach, to guide and then watch the adult child, spread his wings and soar.
What happens if they fail to launch?
For the mother of an addict, the pain of seeing your child fall into destructive behavior is devastating. All that you knew they could be, all that you knew that they were, sifts like sand through the palm of your hand. “Addict”, “criminal”, thief”, “manipulator”, only you still know the man/woman beneath the labels they now wear and question if you will ever see that person again. 
Choosing to quiet the storm within, the addict fights a desolate battle that the sober mind could never conceive. Those who love them, watch them dying this self-inflicted slow and painful death, like a twisted game of roulette. For many friends and family, it is beyond their ability to understand, and helplessly turn away. The addict and their parents often find themselves fighting this battle alone. Though, the disease is slowly taking the life of your child, support is often scarce. Often, times it is the parents themselves who choose to keep the pain a secret for fear of what others may say or whom they will blame. Let’s face it, deep down this is the real question that we wrestle with on a daily basis…”What did I do wrong”.
For all of you that are fighting this battle or know someone who is, this is my story…
Today is my son’s 25 birthday, this will be the second year in a row that I cannot celebrate with him, as he is away receiving treatment. My son has battled an addiction for over 7 years. A few weeks ago, he entered rehab for the fourth time.
As I cleaned out his room this last time, I found a needle between the pages of his journal. As if the ink in the pen had run dry, the needle laid on the blank pages, like a metaphor of his life in addiction. It “said”…I no longer hope, I no longer dream, and I find nothing worthy of documentation…the drugs have taken over my life. He walks among the living but secretly faces death all day long. He hates himself and what the addiction has taken away from him, but he cannot stop the destructive disease on his own. Most days he cannot bring himself to make eye contact with me, knowing all the lines of betrayal he has crossed. He has told me that some days he would like to just inject the empty needle into his arm and end the suffering for us all. As his mother, my heart breaks, longing to hold him, to shield this fragile man-child before me. I want to fight the demons for him, but know that the battle belongs to him.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8
One of the hardest parts as a mother has been to give up the dreams I once had for his life. I had to let go of my own disappointment that he had not lived up to some preconceived expectations I had for him. I am often told, “It is such a shame, he had so much going for him and he just threw his life away”. To most they see my son as a failure but to me he is a fighter!! He has not given up yet, and therefore I will not give up on him!! Today my dreams, my prayers for him are simple…Please God let him life free! Christ did not wait for us to be clean in order to love or save us, he did it while we were still in sin. In the same way, we must love our children in their addiction. This does not mean we support the addiction but we love them enough to help them through. So whether this is your first walk through recovery or your 10th, we must never give up hope. Never forget this is a disease and just like any illness, there may only be times of remission but as long as they still have breath in them…true healing IS STILL POSSIBLE!
To other parents, I want to say… Stop blaming yourself! Drugs are no respecter of persons. Addicts are not only breed in the ghetto and are not always a result of poor parenting. Drugs will take the child who was parented by the best and by the worst. We cannot help them effectively if we are swallowed up by guilt and shame.
Let go of the anger. Maybe like me you have been lied to, stolen from, or manipulated. Never forget that addiction is a disease. It is the addiction that you are fighting against not your child.
Let go of your preconceived expectations. Every time they get clean you might find yourself trying to get them to return to the plans you had for their life. Understand that sometimes we just have to learn to live with a new kind of normal.
Lastly, find support. You do not have to walk this road alone! Share your story with a trusted friend, or find a support group. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and allow others to help you carry this burden.  To others I ask, that you remember those of us and our loved ones as we face this daily battle for survival. Pray for us to stand strong and not lose hope. Remember that our addicts are our children and we love them the same as we did the day we first cradled them in our arms.
Thank you,
The Addicts Mom
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